New York City is set to host the upcoming regional summit of the Loka Kerala Sabha (World Kerala Assembly) from June 9 to 11. The three-day event, organized by the government of the southern Indian state of Kerala, will take place at the Times Square Marriott.
The headliners will include Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and several prominent Malayalee American leaders, such as Dr. Babu Stephen, President of the Federation of Kerala Associations in North America (FOKANA).
Hosted by the state Department of Non-Keralite Reside, the primary goal of the Loka Kerala Sabha is to provide a platform for Keralites living across the globe to come together, fostering cultural, socio-political, and economic integration between the diaspora and the state. The initiative was established by the state government to strengthen ties and celebrate the rich heritage of Keralites worldwide.
A fundraising drive for the summit was launched in Big Apple earlier this week. Stephen, a prominent businessman from Washington, DC, stepped forward as the primary “Diamond Sponsor” of the event. He presented a check for $250,000 to Manmadhan Nair, the president of the event organizing committee.
“This is the first-ever Loka Kerala Sabha summit held in the United States, and it’s an honor, as a Malayalee American, to be able to support the initiative,” Stephen told the American Bazaar. “The summit will serve as an opportunity for Malayalees in the U.S. to connect, exchange ideas, and explore avenues for collaboration.”
Stephen, the CEO of DC Healthcare LLC Inc. and the President of SM Realty LLC, urged the first and generation Malayalee Americans to increase their contributions toward the progress and development of Kerala. He emphasized that the regional summit provides an excellent platform to initiate and catalyze this process.
The participation of Chief Minister Vijayan indicates the importance given by the state government to the summit, which will be a landmark event, further strengthening ties between Kerala and its US diaspora, he said.
According to the organizers, attendees can expect a range of engaging sessions, panel discussions, and cultural performances showcasing the diverse talents and traditions of the community.
The Loka Kerala Sabha was inaugurated in 2018 and has been held biennially since then. The previous sessions of the Sabha witnessed significant participation from members of the global Malayalee community.