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Still the Promised Land--How an Immigrant Helped Save the Nation’s Capital from Financial Ruin
Natwar Gandhi began life in a dusty Indian village that had no paved streets, no electricity, no telephone and no running water. When he was 17, his father put him on a train to Mumbai in hopes that he might find work and send money home to help support the family. In Mumbai he barely made a living, but through countless long days of work, relentless determination and good luck he was able to take a plane to New York at the age of 25, where he landed with $7 in his pocket. Still the Promised Land is the fascinating and deeply personal story of how an impoverished immigrant made his way to the new world, remade his life and ultimately became the chief financial officer of Washington, DC, playing a key role in transforming the nation’s capital from a near-bankrupt municipality into a financially healthy major American city. Gandhi’s life is both cautionary and instructive, difficult yet uplifting. Ultimately, it is a harrowing and inspiring account of how to survive seemingly hopeless circumstances and succeed in America. His journey has an uplifting message for present-day America, where immigrants are often reviled and immigration itself is denigrated. It reaffirms faith in the United States’ future as a great nation; indeed, it puts forth that the 21st century will be an American century that embraces all cultures—still the promised land.

Part of the UCR School of Public Policy Seminar Series.

Buy the book, "Still the Promised Land" by Natwar Gandhi

* Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Still-Promised-Land-Natwar-Gandhi/dp/1938798236

Oct 12, 2021 12:30 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Natwar M. Gandhi
Author, "Still the Promised Land"
Natwar M. Gandhi retired in January 2014 from his long tenured position as independent Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the District of Columbia's where he was responsible for Washington, DC’s finances, including its approximately $12 billion in annual operating and capital funds. As the independent CFO, Gandhi managed the District’s financial operations including more than 1,200 staff members. Gandhi also sat on the boards of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority and Destination DC. During Gandhi's tenure as CFO, the District was transformed from a deficit-plagued, junk bond rated jurisdiction with $550 million negative fund balance into a financially healthy municipality with a string of balanced budgets and a fund balance of $1.5 billion at the end of 2013. Gandhi secured multiple rating upgrades (a total of 13 rating steps since FY2000) from the major rating agencies for its general obligation bonds, which are presently rated in AA and AAA categories.