ബോര്ഡ് മെമ്പര്മാര്: വര്ഗീസ് പാലമലയില്, അരവിന്ദ് പിള്ള. മറ്റ് വിവിധ പദവികളിലേക്ക് കാന്തി പട്ടേല്- എക്സി. വൈസ് പ്രസിഡന്റ്, ഹരിഹര് സിംഗ്, ആന്ജലാ ആനന്ദ്, ചന്ദ്രകാന്ത് പട്ടേല് - വൈസ് പ്രസിഡന്റുമാര്, യോഗേന്ദ്ര ഗുപ്ത- ജോയിന്റ് സെക്രട്ടറി
ഇപ്രാവശ്യം മലയാളി സാന്നിധ്യം സംഘടനയില് ശ്രദ്ധേയമാരുന്നു. മുന് പ്രസിഡന്റുമാരായ പാര്ത്ഥസാരഥി പിള്ള, രാധാകൃഷ്ണന്, തോമസ് ഏബ്രഹാം, പോള് കറുകപ്പള്ളില്, ഫൊക്കാനാ പ്രസിഡന്റ് മറിയാമ്മ പിള്ള, ചന്ദ്രന് പിള്ള, തോമസ് മാത്യു, രഘു നായര്, ജോര്ജ് ചാക്കോ, സുരേഷ് ബാലചന്ദ്രന് തുടങ്ങിയവരും സന്നിഹിതരായിരുന്നു.
ജനുവരി ഒന്നു മുതല് പുതിയ ഭരണസമിതി അധികാരത്തില് വരും. വരുന്ന രണ്ടു വര്ഷത്തേക്ക് പുതിയ കര്മ്മപരിപാടികള് ആവിഷ്കരിക്കുമെന്ന് നിയുക്ത പ്രസിഡന്റ് സോഹന് ജോഷി അറിയിച്ചു.
NFIA Elects New Officers
National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), an umbrella organization of various associations representing over three million Americans who trace their roots to India, elected Sohan Joshi as its president for year 2013-2015. Joshi is a practicing accountant in Chicago and has been involved in NFIA for the past several years. He served as the convener of the 17th biennial convention of the group, October 12-14 in the city. Pleased with the success of the gathering, Joshi said, “We are very proud to have hosted the convention and made history in Chicago by bringing diverse delegates from all parts of the country.” He expressed his gratitude to his team members for organizing the 3-day program and promised to take NFIA to new heights of success.
Starting on Friday afternoon with a Board meeting, followed by an evening display of a cultural program, intellectually stimulating seminars and an elegant banquet on Saturday, culminating with a business meeting and elections on Sunday, the convention attracted over 400 delegates. The NFIA members also approved three resolutions calling upon the United Nations to grant a permanent seat to India on the Security Council, condemning the brutal attack on a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin and requesting the Government of India to establish a Training Center of Emergency Preparedness and Response (see separate story).
In addition to Joshi, Kanti S. Patel of Chicago was elected as the Executive Vice President; Angela Anand of Washington DC, Chandrakant “CK” Patel of Atlanta, GA and Hari Har Singh of Maryland were elected as Vice Presidents; Satheesan Nair from Chicago and Yogendra Gupta from Maryland were elected as the Secretary and Joint Secretary, respectively; Anil Pillai was elected as the Treasurer of the NFIA. The seven Directors-at-large are Arvind Joshi, Rajasekhar Reddy, Vargese Palamalayil, Arvind Pillai, Satish Misra, Ashwin Shah, and Gulshan Bajaj.
Regional Vice Presidents representing different parts of the United States were Om Sharma (Capital), Babu K. Patel (Central), Jogeswara R. Peddiboyina (Great Lakes), Vasav Mehta (South East), Lavanya Reddy (North Pacific), Deepa Thakor (South Pacific), and Rajeshwar Prasad (New York). There are five positions of Regional Vice Presidents that will be filled at a later date.
Lal Motwani, the outgoing NFIA President was elected as the Chair of the NFIA Foundation. He will be a voting member of the NFIA Board. The newly elected officers will assume their office on January 1, 2013.
The newly elected Board of Directors appointed Joydeb Roy as the Executive Director (administration) and Ashok Madan as the Executive Director, Special Projects. It also appointed Anil Yadav and Sachin Amin as members of the Business Concil.
Thomas Abraham, the Founder of the NFIA, Sushila Gidwani and Haresh Panchal served as the members of the Election Committee and conducted the elections. Rajen Anand, the past president of the NFIA administered the Oath of Office to all elected officers who solemnly pledged to serve the Indian American community and abide by the NFIA bylaws.
“We conducted a memorable event in Chicago and are proud to host the NFIA convention,” remarked the newly elected Secretary Nair, “working together, we will strengthen the organization and bring unity in the community.”
In a resolution adopted unanimously at the 17th biennial convention of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) held in Chicago, October 12-14, the delegates urged the United Nations to grant India a permanent seat in the Security Council of the world organization. “India has emerged a powerful nation, both politically and economically, in par with other nations that have occupied a permanent seat since its inception, and deserves the same status as other nations,” reads the resolution. President Barack Obama has publically indicated the support of the United States for India to have a permanent seat in the Security Council. Currently only five nations like the United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China have a permanent seat on the 15-member Security Council. Other 10 seats are allocated to different countries on a rotational basis. These five countries also have the veto power on any resolution adopted by the Council. For any resolution to be adopted by the United Nation, all these five countries must vote in favor of the resolution. In order to protect their right, many of these countries have opposed opening up the seats to other countries. “However, the time has come for these countries to bring reforms in the Security Council and permit other emerging countries to have a permanent seat on the Council,” said a delegate at the NFIA Convention.
Another resolution adopted by the NFIA delegates strongly condemned the heinous crime in Oak Creek, Wisconsin Sikh Temple in August this year, that took the life of 6 innocent people, left at least 3 others in critical condition, including a police officer injured. The NFIA Delegates pray for the soul of the departed to rest in peace and extend their deepest sympathy to the relatives of victims, who included priests, congregants, and law enforcement personnel. It is particularly sad that the tragedy occurred in a temple where people had gathered for the Sunday service, in the Sikh tradition, to pray for the welfare of all human beings irrespective of their caste, color or creed.
It is quite obvious that this event is a hate crime committed by a White Supremacist and it serves as a tragic reminder of violence against Sikhs and many other members of the South Asian community that has occurred since September 11, 2001.
The Delegates expressed their solidarity with their Sikh brethren in the time of this tragic event.
They urged the law enforcement personnel to immediately deal with the increasing number of groups that preach hatred against minorities, and do everything possible to prevent occurrence of such incidence in future.
In the final resolution, the NFIA urged the Indian government to establish a dedicated, sustainable emergency preparedness and response training center in New Delhi. The center’s premise will be to place the framework of time-tested structured programs to train first responders and managers facing the crisis. The proposal envisions implementing the best elements of the Emergency preparedness and response courses for the First Responders developed by the National Disaster Life Support Foundation (NDLSF) and for Public Administrators developed at the National preparedness leadership Initiative (NPLI) – a joint program of the School of Public Health and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
It further resolved that the NFIA strongly endorses the case for an Emergency Preparedness and Response Training Center with US-India collaboration which is a logical one as both our democracies are threatened by those who fear our freedom, ability to express ourselves and a free-enterprise system. This center will train our public policy-makers, emergency managers and responders to hone their understanding of the complexity of disasters of unimaginable scale and to develop effective timely responses. To that end, US-India Partnership will enhance the resiliency of our citizens; exert stewardship and building peace in the region on our mutual democratic principles.
Consul General Invokes the Memory of Swami Vivekananda at the NFIA Convention
Inaugurating the 17th biennial convention of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), Consul General of India, Ms. Mukta Dutta Tomar, on Friday October 12, 2012 welcomed the delegates from all over the United States to Chicago and said that this town is a remarkable place where Swami Vivekananda made his extraordinary speech to the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions. “Almost 120 years later, his words still hold true, promoting tolerance and universal acceptance,” she continued, “I hope you will take a little time to visit the Art Institute and renew your connections to that historic event.” The Consul General then went on to pay a glowing tribute to the Indian American community and said that the people of India origin have proved themselves in a tough global competitive environment through their innovative, dynamic, pioneering qualities, as they continue to produce new generation of talented individuals, good corporate and social citizens and enterprising and creative professionals.
Studies support that over 3 million immigrants from India living in the US are one of the most remarkable concentration of Indians, she noted. Seventy percent of them over the age of 25 are college graduates, 67% over the age of 16 are professionals and the median income of Indian household is over $90,000, the highest among all ethnic groups in the United States. A joint UC Berkeley-Duke University study revealed that Indian American immigrants have founded more engineering and technology companies from 1995 to 2005 than immigrants from UK, China, Taiwan and Japan combined.
Tomar also addressed the growing ties between India and the United States. “The partnership between the two countries is based on shared values of democracy, pluralism, and rule of law. The relations have widened in scope and encompass cooperation in areas like economy and trade, defense and security, education, science and technology, civil nuclear energy, space technology, clean energy, environment and health.”
The inauguration ceremony started with a welcome remarks by Convention Convener Sohan Joshi and NFIA President Lal Motwani. Congressman Joe Walsh (D-8th District of Illinois) also addressed the delegates saying that he was very happy to be there. “I have fallen in love with India and people of Indian origin in my district.” His brief remarks were followed by a colorful cultural program of dances and music. Lal Motwani, president of NFIA and Sohan Joshi, the convener of the gathering also made brief remarks.
The next day was filled with intellectually stimulating seminars. The day was organized into 10 sessions including two plenary sessions. The first plenary session was titled “Indian American Making an Impact in America” with Dr. Ann Lata Kalayil, an Obama appointee as GSA Administrator for Great Lakes Region as the keynote speaker and Anju Bhargava, a member of White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership as speaker. Dr. Kalayil spoke about her experience growing as a second generation Indian American kid, taking interest in political process and that how she made it to the current position as GSA administrator and called upon the new generation to get involved in public service. Ms. Bhargava spoke on many avenues of involvement for the community in faith-based and neighborhood partnership. In a second plenary session, Dr. Sid Gautam, Professor of Financial Economics; Director, Center for Entrepreneurship, Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC spoke on the Innovative DNA of the Indian Diaspora.
There were eight other conference sessions which dealt with Honoring the Pioneers – Celebrating 100th Anniversary Gadar Movement (organized by GOPIO International); New Tax Rules in the US and India affecting the Community – Foreign Income Reporting, FBAR, OVDI, Avoid Double Taxation and New NRI Taxes in India; Indian Americans Making Impact in the Society; Taking Care of Our Own – Services to the Community; Indian American Senior Citizens – Mobilizing Services; Community’s Success in Political Involvement; Indian Americans Making Impact in India’s Development; Indian American Youth and Young Professionals Achieving Success. In addition, an Indian delegate Dr. Sudha Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director of SAHAPEDIA made a special presentation on An Open encyclopedia on Indian Culture and Heritage.
There was a spirited discussion on the political involvement of the community and the success it has achieved in this area. Toby Chaudhary, a political activist from Washington DC, urged the audience to wake up and participate in the mainstream politics.
“The conference sessions were very well attended and the speakers brought many issues and prospects of the Indian American community including many community groups sharing exchanging their experiences in serving the community,’ said the conference chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, who is also the founder president of NFIA.
A gala banquet was held on Saturday evening and Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown and Secretary of State Jesse White made remarks at the event. The six individual award winners were: Harkrishana Majumdar and Dr. Najma Sultana for their involvement in community service; Nitin Shah in the field of hospitality and financing; Sid Gautam for promoting entrepreneurship; Rathna Kumar for her excellence in performing arts and Dr. Hemant Patel for his service to medicine and organizational leadership.
Three organizations, Sahara TV, India Abroad, the oldest Indian American weekly, and Indo-American Centre of Chicago, an organization that focuses on assisting South Asian immigrants as they adjust to life in the United States, were also recognized for their exemplary achievements.
Sunday morning was devoted to the business of the organization, revision of bylaws, and elections were held for the president and the board followed by a lunch.
The delegates parted company to take their flights back to their home States, after making new friends, collecting a bunch of business cards, and carrying fond memories of their stay in Chicago.
നാഷണല് ഫെഡറേഷന് ഓഫ് ഇന്ത്യന് അമേരിക്കന് അസോസിയേഷന്റെ പതിനേഴാമത് ദ്വിവത്സര കണ്വന്ഷന് ഒക്ടോബര് 12,13,14 തീയതികളില് ഷിക്കാഗോയില് നടന്നു. റോളിംഗ് മിഡോസിലുള്ള ഹോളിഡേ ഇന്നില് വെച്ചായിരുന്നു കണ്വന്ഷന് നടന്നത്. ആദ്യ ദിവസം നടന്ന ഉദ്ഘാടന ചടങ്ങില് ഇന്ത്യന് കോണ്സുല് ജനറല് മുക്താ ദത്താ തോമറും, കോണ്ഗ്രസ്മെന് ജോ വാള്സും മുഖ്യാതിഥികളായിരുന്നു. ഉദ്ഘാടന ചടങ്ങിനുശേഷം വിവിധ കലാപരിപാടികളും നടന്നു.
കണ്വന്ഷന് കണ്വീനര് സോഹന് ജോഷി സദസിനെ സ്വാഗതം ചെയ്ത് സംസാരിച്ചു. ചടങ്ങില് കണ്വന്ഷന് കോര്ഡിനേറ്റര് സതീശന് നായര് ഏവര്ക്കും നന്ദി പറഞ്ഞു.
രണ്ടാമത് ദിവസം രാവിലെ മുതല് വിവിധ സെമിനാറുകള് നടത്തി. പ്രധാനമായും ഇന്ത്യന് അമേരിക്കക്കാരെ സംബന്ധിച്ച വിവിധ വിഷയങ്ങളെക്കുറിച്ച് ചര്ച്ച ചെയ്തു. വൈകുന്നേരം ബാങ്ക്വറ്റോടുകൂടി മ്യൂസിക് നൈറ്റ് അരങ്ങേറി. സെക്രട്ടറി ഓഫ് സ്റ്റേറ്റ് ജെസ്സി വൈറ്റ്, കുക്ക് കൗണ്ടി ക്ലാര്ക്ക് ഡോറോത്ത് ബ്രൗണ് തുടങ്ങിയവര് മുഖ്യാതിഥികളായിരുന്നു. വിവിധ രംഗങ്ങളില് പ്രാവീണ്യം തെളിയിച്ച പത്തുപേര്ക്ക് അവാര്ഡ് നല്കി ആദരിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു. കണ്വന്ഷനോടനുബന്ധിച്ച് പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിച്ച സുവനീര് സെക്രട്ടറി ഓഫ് സ്റ്റേറ്റ് ജെസ്സി വൈറ്റ് പ്രകാശനം ചെയ്തു. സുവനീര് എഡിറ്റര് വര്ഗീസ് പാലമലയില് ജെസ്സി വൈറ്റിന് ബൊക്കെ നല്കി.
അനില്കുമാര് പിള്ള, കാന്തി പട്ടേല്, വന്ദന ജിംഗന്, ബാബു പട്ടേല് എന്നിവര് കോ-കണ്വീനര്മാരിയിരുന്നു. അരവിന്ദ് പിള്ളയുടെ നേതൃത്വത്തില് രജിസ്ട്രേഷന് നടന്നു. ഡോ. വിജയ് പ്രഭാകര് റിസപ്ഷന് ചെയറായിരുന്നു. ഹെറാള്ഡ് ഫിഗുരേദോ റിസപ്ഷന് കമ്മിറ്റിയില് സജീവമായിരുന്നു.
അവാസന ദിവസമായ ഞായറാഴ്ച പൊതുയോഗവും തെരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പും നടന്നു.