Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, who will take charge as Indian Consul-General in Chicago on August 6, will have his jurisdiction in the Midwest region, which happens to be President Obama’s constituency
Good news for the Hyderabadi diaspora in Chicago. A civil servant hailing from their city is set to become their Consul-General soon. Incidentally, he is the first Muslim officer ever to assume this important position. Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, who just completed a three-year stint as Indian Ambassador in Yemen, will take charge on August 6 as Indian Consul-General in Chicago. He succeeds Mukta Tomer.
A career diplomat of the 1989 batch, Dr. Sayeed has his priorities cut out. He wants to first streamline consular and visa services for Indian Americans. “I want to make use of the social media to improve communication,” says Dr. Sayeed.
Chicago has a large Indian population of 3.50 lakh, including 40,000 Hyderabadis. Dr. Sayeed plans to have direct access to Indians through a website. The idea is to let people communicate their grievances and suggestions and get quick replies. His consular jurisdiction spreads across the Midwest region comprising the nine States of Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana and Wisconsin.
The Midwest region is important in that it happens to be the constituency of President Barrack Obama. Besides, as many as 150 of the Fortune 500 companies are located there. Dr. Sayeed sees greater scope for boosting Indian trade and business there. Another priority for him is addressing the issue of illegal Indian immigrants in Chicago. “Right now, I don’t know the dimensions of the problem. But definitely we will guide the immigrants in the conversion of their status so that they can live legally,” he adds.
Dr. Sayeed has an emotional attachment to Chicago as his father, Awaz Sayeed, a poet, was buried there. He passed away in 1995. “I look forward to a very interactive period,” he says. How does he cope with the hectic schedule? Dr. Sayeed turns to his wife, Farha, and says: “It’s all because of her support”.