A Dinner in Honor of Kathy Sreedhar at the Embassy of the United States in New Delhi

By Derek Mitchell

On October 31st the United States Chargé d'Affaires in New Delhi, Ambassador Peter Burleigh, held a dinner in honor of Kathy Sreedhar, Director Emerita of the UU Holdeen India Program (UUHIP). Ambassador Burleigh hosted the dinner at Roosevelt House, the historic Ambassador’s residence on the grounds of the United States Embassy. Kathy has known Ambassador Burleigh since his days as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal in the 1960s, when she was a Peace Corps staff member in New Delhi. They have remained friends since and she was thrilled to learn of his recent appointment as Chargé d'Affaires in New Delhi. Joining Ambassador Burleigh to celebrate Kathy’s nearly fifty years of service in India were numerous friends and Embassy officials. Kerry Pelzman, Kathy’s god-daughter, and her husband Patrick Robinson, both now serving in senior positions at the USAID mission in India, were among the guests, who also included Kathy’s sister-in-law, the feminist scholar Devaki Jain, and Indira Jaisingh, Assistant Solicitor General of India and a renowned women’s rights lawyer. Renana Jhabvala, the National Coordinator of UUHIP partner organization SEWA Bharat, was joined by her husband Harish Khare, Media Advisor to the Prime Minister of India. Also present were friends serving as foreign correspondents from National Public Radio and the Associated Press, an artist from Alaska, a teacher at the American Embassy School, and Derek Mitchell, who succeeded Kathy as Director of UUHIP last August. Officials at the dinner included the Embassy Spokesperson and USAID’s Chief of Mission. The Ambassador’s guests were delighted to discover that he had chosen stunning tribal paintings to decorate Roosevelt House during his residence there. The paintings were created by members of the Gond tribe, with whom two UUHIP partners have long worked. Much discussion during the evening centered on UUHIP’s courageous partners and Kathy’s twenty-seven years working with them. Ambassador Burleigh’s dinner was a heartfelt tribute to her pioneering vision for social change in India.