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Strengthening U.S.-India Relations: Insights from Seattle-Setu Conference 2023
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Seattle University’s Seattle-Setu conference, held on September 6, brought together leaders to discuss critical issues surrounding the U.S.-India relationship. The event highlighted the strategic partnerships and growing opportunities between India and the United States, emphasizing their joint efforts in promoting global security, women’s rights, trade, and investment.

Washington State’s Role in Enhancing U.S.-India Relations

The daylong Seattle-Setu conference, hosted at Seattle University, underscored Washington state’s pivotal role in fostering economic and political connections with India. The term “Setu,” which means “bridge” in Sanskrit, encapsulates the conference’s mission to bridge gaps and strengthen ties between the two nations.


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Economic Benefits of Indian Companies in Washington State

The conference focused on the contributions of Indian companies to Washington state’s economy and the significant investments flowing between the state and India. Keynote speakers and panel discussions explored various aspects, from business partnerships and talent recruitment to philanthropy and navigating the legal landscapes in both countries.

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Launching the RoundGlass India Center

Seattle University officially launched the RoundGlass India Center as part of the conference, dedicated to enhancing collaboration in business, education, philanthropy, and other sectors between Washington state and India. Law Professor and Associate Dean Sital Kalantry assumed the Center’s executive director role, further solidifying ties between the two regions.

Distinguished Speakers and Their Insights

The conference commenced with opening remarks from President Eduardo Peñalver, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, state Senator Manka Dhingra, and Sunny Singh, founder of Edifecs. The speeches set the stage for a day of productive discussions and insights.

U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal’s Keynote Address

One of the keynote speakers, U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), emphasized the importance of Seattle’s engagement with India. She highlighted the pivotal role of the RoundGlass India Center in fostering collaboration between the two nations and underscored the need for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.

Promoting Global Collaborations

The conference featured a panel discussion moderated by Brian Surratt, President and CEO of Greater Seattle Partners, focused on “Global Collaborations: Embracing Opportunities and Overcoming Challenges.” The panelists emphasized the bilateral relationship between Indian and American businesses and the importance of adapting strategies to local markets.

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Navigating Legal Landscapes in Transnational Business

Another panel, titled “Navigating the Legal Landscape: Empowering Businesses for Transnational Success,” brought together legal experts to discuss the intricacies of Indian law and guide businesses engaging in transnational activities between India and the United States.

Building Authentic Relationships

The panelists stressed the significance of building authentic relationships when practicing law in India, highlighting the cultural, linguistic, and legal differences that businesses must navigate when operating in both countries.

Empowering Change in India

The afternoon sessions delved into social and economic development topics in India. Panelists discussed progress in areas such as child mortality and starvation, emphasizing the importance of philanthropy in driving positive change.

U.S.-India Relations: Past, Present, and Future

In a “U.S.-India Relations: Past, Present, and Future forum,” Nancy Izzo Jackson, deputy assistant secretary for India at the U.S. State Department, highlighted India’s emergence as a global economic powerhouse. She emphasized the potential of the U.S.-India partnership in various fields, including trade, gender equality, and environmental sustainability.

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