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Congress hopeful Pramila Jayapal gives keynote speech at NFIA convention in Seattle

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Sudip Gorakshakar of California elected the new president of NFIA.

Luncheon speaker Democratic Indian American Congressional Candidate Pramila Jayapal who is contesting from Washington’s 7th District with NFIA officials. From l. to r.: Conference Chair Subash Razdan, NFIA Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham, NFIA President Ashok Madan, Conv. Co-Convener Lavanya Reddy and Convention Convener Sudip Gorakshakar.
Luncheon speaker Democratic Indian American Congressional Candidate Pramila Jayapal who is contesting from Washington’s 7th District with NFIA officials. From l. to r.: Conference Chair Subash Razdan, NFIA Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham, NFIA President Ashok Madan, Conv. Co-Convener Lavanya Reddy and Convention Convener Sudip Gorakshakar.

Sudip Gorakshakar of California was elected the new president of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) – the largest umbrella organization in the US representing over 3.5 million Americans who trace their roots to India – at the organization’s 19th biennial convention, September 30-October 2, at the Airport Marriott Hotel, in Seattle, Washington.

The three-day event saw some intellectually stimulating seminars, graced by prominent politicians and technocrats and numerous community leaders across the nation, and a prestigious awards banquet on Saturday.

The Friday welcome reception and dinner was inaugurated by the traditional lamp-lighting by former and current NFIA officials, a scintillating cultural program and keynote address by Professor Ramulu Mamidala of the University of Washington.

In his speech, he discussed issues pertaining to the theme of the convention, namely “NFIA and Indian Americans making a difference; fostering stronger Indo-US relations.”

The Saturday luncheon had Pramila Jayapal, candidate for US Congress to fill in Congressman Jim McDermott’s Seat, as the keynote speaker.  She spoke on how more Indian Americans and especially younger women can join the US government and be more politically oriented and have a great future.

This year, the NFIA bestowed awards for excellence to: Dan Nainan for Performing Arts; Dr. Harkeerat S Dhillon for Public Serve and Philanthropy; Professor Ramulu Mamidala for Applied Sciences; Jagdish Sharma for Community Services; Vishwa Prasad for Information Technology and Sunil Singh for Entrepreneur and Community Service.

The Convention Committee comprising of Convener Sudip Gorakshakar, NFIA President Ashok Madan and Convention Committee Chair Subash Razdan, also presented awards for dedicated service and help towards organizing a successful convention, recognizing Lavanya Reddy, Anjali Sachdev, Ashok Patnaik, Anantharam Chadalavada.  A special award was presented to the organization 80-20 and its leader former Lt. Governor S.B. Woo for its dedicated service for the APA communities and for forging unity amongst various diverse Asian American communities.

The highlights of the banquet was a keynote speech by technocrat Kal Raman, Chief Digital Officer, Samsung Electronics America, and a routine by stand-up comedian Dan Nainan.

In his keynote address, Raman spoke about how US is built on the fabric of “inclusion, integrity, hard work, recognition, and faith on GOD.

NFIA awardee with NFIA Board Members: Front Row from l. to r.: Dr. thomas Abraham, Sudip Gorakshakar, Jagdish Sharma, Vishwa Prasad, Dr. Harkeerat Singh Dhillon, Sunil singh, Prof. Ramulu Mamidala, Dan Nainan, Ashok Madan and Inder Singh. Back Ro, NFIA officers.
NFIA awardee with NFIA Board Members: Front Row from l. to r.: Dr. thomas Abraham, Sudip Gorakshakar, Jagdish Sharma, Vishwa Prasad, Dr. Harkeerat Singh Dhillon, Sunil singh, Prof. Ramulu Mamidala, Dan Nainan, Ashok Madan and Inder Singh. Back Ro, NFIA officers.

“USA is a relatively a new country compared to India. Indian civilization is built on the time immemorial traditions of vedas, which instilled the values on ‘faith on God, respect for elders, hard work with dedication and detachment, and truthfulness’. These cultures are built on similar core values, albeit for material vs. spiritual progress. When these oriental and occidental cultures take the best out of each other and mix them at a correct proportion, we get a concoction which is great for the holistic growth for people/country – spiritually and materially. That is the role Indian Americans are and should be playing in this great country,” said Raman.

The NFIA also elected new office-bearers for 2017: Sudip Gorakshakar of Southern California was elected as President without opposition; Babu Patel of Illinois was elected as Executive Vice President; the three vice-presidents elected were Ajoy Dube from Southern California, Satheesan Nair from Illinois and Angela Anand from Virginia.

The position of the NFIA secretary went to Lavanya Reddy from Seattle, and Joint Secretary to Tarakarao from Seattle. Makam Subbarao from Southern California was elected as the Treasurer.

The seven Directors-at-Large were: Rachel Verghese (Texas), Ajay Kumar Kasani (Seattle), Subash Razdan (Georgia), Ishwar Deedwania (Southern California), Ashok Patnaik (Southern California), Pooja Thomre (San Diego), HR Raghava Reddy (Seattle WA).

The four Regional Vice Presidents elected unopposed were: Raj Razdan (Georgia), Kewal Kanda (Southern California), Minhaj Akhtar (Chicago) Amrik Kamoh (Seattle WA).

The new Board under the presiding officer, Sudip Gorakshakar met after the elections and: elected Sohan Joshi from Illinois as Chairman of the NFIA Foundation, for a one-year term; Dr. Hari Har Singh from NCR as Executive Director 1 with voting rights (Administration) for a 3-year term effective from Jan 1, 2017; Sachin Amin from Southern California as Executive Director 2 without voting rights and for one-year term; Vasu Pawar was appointed by the President to chair the taskforce on Women’s Affairs, with no voting rights.