SDIAS 14th Annual Unity in Diversity Festival of World Dances

San Diego Indian American Society  pic
San Diego Indian American Society
Image: sdias.info

A hospitality executive based in San Diego, Bharat Lall works as the president and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA. Aside from his professional responsibilities with Pinnacle, Bharat Lall engages with the community as a member of the San Diego Indian American Society (SDIAS).

Dedicated to serving those in need and sharing Indian culture, SDIAS organizes a number of cultural events. In March 2017, the society held its 14th annual Unity in Diversity Festival of World Dances at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. Each year, the festival presents a different theme, with the 2017 show celebrating 25 years of diplomatic ties between India and Israel.

Performances included intricately choreographed dances from India and Israel, as well as Egypt, Spain, and Japan, replete with detailed costuming and vibrant music. To honor the India-Israel relationship, the festival welcomed Shanee Zamir, a soprano from Israel, and the TNUA Israeli Dance Troupe, who performed the traditional song “Abba Sipur” (Dad, Tell Me a Story) through music, movement, and sign language. Also performing were members of the Ken Jewish Community, a San Diego-based group of Latin Jewish families.

In addition to Israeli dance and music, the festival showcased flamenco-Bollywood fusion dance, Japanese taiko drums, and Israeli-Moroccan dance. In all, more than 200 performers took part in the event, and among the approximately 700 spectators were diplomats from both India and Israel.

The San Diego Public Library’s I CAN! Center

San Diego Public Library pic
San Diego Public Library
Image: sandiego.gov

The founder, president, and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA, Bharat Lall focuses on locating, acquiring, and regenerating underperforming hotels throughout the United States. A San Diego resident, Bharat Lall supports numerous city initiatives and entities, including the San Diego Public Library (SDPL).

In an effort to provide services that are accessible to those with disabilities, the SDPL created the I CAN! Center. Located on the central library’s first floor, the I CAN! Center offers a range of programs, services, resources, and professional help so people with disabilities can use the library in a comfortable environment.

Equipped with 16 computers, each with enlarged screens and assistive software, the I CAN! Center also hosts two private study areas. Moreover, it features not just a number of large print and Braille books, but also e-readers and digital talking books.

Service animals are welcome at the I CAN! Center, which also operates a free library-by-mail service for people with significant visual impairments that prevent them from traveling to the library.

What Makes Kiva Stand Apart?

Kiva pic
Kiva
Image: kiva.org

A successful investor and hotel regeneration expert who purchases and reinvigorates underperforming hotels as part of his work with Pinnacle Hotels USA, a company he founded in 1998, Bharat Lall brings 20-plus years of hospitality-industry experience to the profession. Also a philanthropist, Bharat Lall supports Kiva, which offers loans to budding entrepreneurs to help them realize their potential.

One of the earliest adopters of crowdfunding technology, which websites like Kickstarter have gone on to make famous, Kiva provides a platform that brings together entrepreneurs and lenders. Entrepreneurs are able to obtain funding from hundreds of small lenders via the platform, while the lenders have the opportunity to invest in projects they really believe in.

This model lowers the fees borrowers often have to contend with when trying to launch projects, while increasing the likelihood of lenders receiving their loans back in full so the same money can be used to help others, either in local communities or locales across the world.

Thus far, the organization, which takes nothing from the funds offered by lenders, has distributed close to $1 billion in loans to borrowers in over 80 countries. Further, the platform has a loan repayment rate of over 97 percent.

The Goals of the San Diego Indian American Society

 

San Diego Indian American Society pic
San Diego Indian American Society
Image: sdias.org

In his work as president and chief executive officer of Pinnacle Hotels USA, Bharat Lall has dedicated himself to ensuring that all hotels under the Pinnacle banner provide exceptional levels of service to their guests. The company’s inception occurred in 1998 when it started to invest in failing hotels that could potentially be improved under its stewardship. Active in his community, Bharat Lall donates to the Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship Fund overseen by the San Diego Indian American Society. The society was created in 1984 with four aims.

1. To establish the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Scholarship, which would be of benefit to college-age high school graduates in the San Diego area while also memorializing the contributions that Gandhi made to the world.

2. To undertake initiatives that would benefit people both in San Diego and India.

3. To recognize contributions and service by any person to the society, regardless of that person’s field, in India or the United States.

4. To foster a stronger relationship between the United States and India in any way it can.
To reach these goals, the society has expanded its program offerings to include the Chakra Award, granted annually to individuals who have been able to focus their efforts enough to earn distinction for their achievements in any field, and the Unity in Diversity program, which shines a spotlight on Indian culture such as music, drama, and dance.

San Diego Indian American Society’s Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship Program

San Diego Indian American Society pic
San Diego Indian American Society
Image: sdias.org

Before Bharat Lall became president of Pinnacle Hotels, USA, he once worked as one of the staff at a motel. Today, Bharat Lall is a known figure in the hospitality industry. He is also an active member of the San Diego Indian American Society.

The San Diego Indian American Society was established in 1984, and one of its first projects was the Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship program. Named after the Indian political leader, the scholarship program is awarded to students who exemplify academic excellence and active community involvement. Most past recipients have had a 4.0 general grade point average, and were nominated by their respective schools. The scholarship is given to deserving candidates irrespective of their race or ethnic origin.

To date, the San Diego Indian American Society has awarded scholarships to 350 students at the secondary level. These students were also given cash awards, funded through trust-fund interests and contributions of the Indian American community.

Kiva Makes Small, Manageable Loans throughout the World

Kiva pic
Kiva
Image: kiva.org

As the head of Pinnacle Hotels USA, Bharat Lall, MD, is dedicated to providing excellent customer service at his accommodations. Dr. Bharat Lall donates to several charitable causes, including the Kiva nonprofit lending service.

Founded in 2005, Kiva uses the crowdfunding principle to arrange affordable loans for people in some 88 countries. Intended to lift people out of poverty, Kiva has lent to over 2 million borrowers to help them start businesses, pay for education, or set up clean energy sources.

Getting a loan is straightforward. Borrowers apply either on their own or through Kiva field partners–local nonprofits or micro-lenders who visit prospective recipients and administer loans. The application goes through a due diligence process in which community members and field partners vet the borrower.

Approved loans are translated and listed online, where interested lenders anywhere in the world can provide funds in amounts of $25 or more. Over the years, borrowers have repaid some 97 percent of their obligations.

Neither lenders nor borrowers receive or pay interest. Field partners are allowed to charge a small fee for their administrative costs. Loan disbursals take place through the field partner or through PayPal.

BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha’ Rural Development Initiative

BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha pic
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha
Image: baps.org

Bharat Lall, MD is an Indian-American hotelier and the CEO and President of Pinnacle Hotels USA. In recognition of his heritage, Bharat Lall is a proud supporter of Indian-American initiatives and is a donor at BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.

Founded by influential Indian social worker Bhagwan Swaminarayan, BAPS is a non-profit spiritual volunteer group that is committed to making a better society by instilling the ideals of the Hindu faith, such as unity and altruism, amongst individuals. In keeping with its thrust towards selfless service, BAPS leads a wide range of humanitarian services that provide for several things including education, health, and rural development.

By engaging in rural development activities, BAPS has been helping out various rural communities in improving the quality of its members’ lives. An important aspect of rural development is the development of the agriculture sector, providing farmers the needed education to improve their crops through modern farming techniques and various techniques of water conservation. BAPS also works with the education sector in order to bring vocational skills training to primary and secondary education in order to promote independence at the grassroots level. Moreover, easier access to healthcare is also a prime concern that is being addressed.