Manipal celebrates Obama’s Victory2 min read
Manipal: The Consulate General of the United States, Chennai in collaboration with the Department of Geopolitics, Manipal University conducted the ‘US Elections Watch Party’ at Chaitya Hall in Fortune Inn Valley View on November 7. This ‘political’ event welcomed supporters of the Democratic and Republican parties in Manipal to come together to witness the live broadcast of the electoral process in USA.
The event, which commenced at 8:30 AM, saw a low turnout at the beginning. With the passing of time however, over 200 people turned up to watch as the citizens of the United States elected their new president.
Shanna Dietz Surendra, the Cultural Affairs Officer of the US Consulate and the Master of Ceremonies of the program said that it was the first time that such an event was being organised by the Consulate outside of Chennai. “As far as I know, the programme has been conducted in Chennai during every presidential election. We like to share it with the public in India, given that both the countries are large democracies; and so, the consulate has organised the event at Chennai, Manipal and Trivandrum,” she said.
Various programmes, such as a mock poll as well as a photo shoot with the cut outs of the leaders of the two parties were organised. A spot quiz for the audience, testing their knowledge on the previous presidents of the US was also held. Those present also had the chance to interact with social media expert Dr. Srinivasan of the University of Columbia through video chat. Danielle Pelaez and Meg Reid, Study abroad Programmes (SAP) students at MU studying Public Health, shared their experience about voting for their candidates from India.
Nicholas J Manring, the Chief of the US Consulate General in India, said that that the turnout in Manipal was a pleasant surprise. “The knowledge that students have about politics around the world is impressive. So many students turned up on a working day. We thought it was time to share our democratic spirit with other places in South India,” he said.
The live broadcast of the progress of the elections in the US on the big screen allowed the audience to keep up with the presidential race in the US. At regular intervals, the organisers announced the progress of the mock polls. Democratic representative Barack Obama had the support of the participants at all three venues, winning there by a broad margin.
With news channels confirming Obama as President, the hall erupted with applause. The speeches by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and re-elected president Barack Obama were also screened.
“The event was an initiative taken by the Consulate. It took about three weeks to pull everything together. I’m glad it worked out well,” said Asha Mathew of the Dept. of Geopolitics.
Dr. H. S. Bhallal, Pro Chancellor of MU and Dr. Vinod Bhat, Pro Vice-Chancellor of MU, along with other University officials, were present during the inauguration ceremony.
Sub-edited by Shiv Nair