Chargé d’affaires (CDA) MaryKay Carlson started her day watching the #superbowl with members of the Kolkata Vipers football team at the American Center. CDA Carlson later visited the Access program at the Samaritan Help Mission in Howrah and encouraged students to study hard and follow their dreams. She took a boat ride to Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math later in the afternoon with Consul General Craig Hall. Noting the cultural significance of Ramakrishna Mission, she recalled Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago visit in 1893. CDA Carlson was impressed by significant religious #pluralism and #USIndiadosti heritage at the #BelurMath.
On day two of her visit to Kolkata, Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) MaryKay Carlson met with staff at the American Center and visited the NGO New Light Kolkata. The CDA heard some heartwarming stories from survivors of trafficking and spent time with their children. CDA Carlson also went to the Ahmadiyya Mosque and learned about the role of the Ahmadis locally and around the world. Later in the afternoon, CDA Carlson met with local LGBTQ community leaders and discussed challenges and opportunities for the community in eastern India.
On the last day of her three-day visit to Kolkata, Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) MaryKay Carlson discussed U.S.-India business relations with Nazeeb Arif, Executive VP of ITC Limited and his team. CDA Carlson continued to take in Kolkata’s local culture, highlighting historical links between the United States and India. At St. Teresa’s home at Missionaries Of Charity Motherhouse, she gained a deeper understanding of Mother Teresa’s life and work for the marginalized in social development, while interacting with Sister Mary Prema Superior General, Missionaries of Charity. CDA Carlson visited the Pareshnath Jain Temple Maniktala, one of the most revered and holy shrines of the Jains in Kolkata to learn more about Jaina Dharma. These were CDA’s parting words: আশা করি আবার দেখা হবে…Hope to see y’all soon!