Association of Indians in America (AIA) Golden Jubilee

The Association of Indians in America founded in 1967 celebrated its golden jubilee by electing its first woman President, Dr. Urmilesh Arya, who led the gala festivity on December 1 at Garden City Hotel in Long Island, New York, chaired by Ravishankar Bhooplapur, who was Master of Ceremonies.Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated AIA by sending a special message of
greetings at the occasion, applauding the organization for “delivering a pioneering role in the promotion of the interests of the Indian community in America and in celebrating the unique identity and culture of the community.”

Nearly 400 AIA members from the tristate region and across the US attended the

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glittering celebration, joined by Congressman Tom Suozzi, Congressman Raja
Krishnamoorthi, Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty, Mrs. Taruna Chakravorty and
Bollywood Star Anupam Kher. Gopal Khanna, the former President of AIA NY who led many important initiatives of the organization during 1980s flew from Washington DC.

The event started with invocation by Geeta Setia, followed by the American national anthems by Riti Sunshine Bhalla, TV host and medical student, and Indian national anthem by group singers.

President Arya highlighted the achievements of the organization over the past half century, including its launch of Diwali celebration in New York and at the White House, nationwide voter registration drive with the participation of US President Gerald Ford and several congressional leaders, its successful campaign to get the USPS to issue Diwali stamp, its charitable initiative and raising substantial amount of funds to help India during Bhopal Gas leak and Floods in Bengal. , obtained minority status to benefit Indian small businesses in securing government contracts, Project India’s relief work for victims of natural, industrial and other disasters and its partnership with NGOs in India to combat AIDS. Dr. Arya also spoke of the many challenges for the community and stressed that our future goals and aspirations should not be on the back of other ethnic groups. Amongst the future goals of AIA, the President mentioned the prevention and treatment of blindness amongst the underprivileged children and women empowerment in remote villages of India.

Congressman Krishnamoorthy was the keynote speaker who stressed on community’s
participation in the political Process, while the program included a brief excerpt from Varinder Bhalla’s TV interview with US President Gerald Ford as part of the voter registration drive undertaken by AIA in 1984-85.Ambassador Chakravorty applauded AIA for its achievements and committed all assistance of the Consulate in furthering the goals of the organization. Stressing the growing importance the Indian people in America, Congressman Tom Suozzi said that in earlier times, there were three I’s that were important, representing the people of Ireland, Israel and Italy, but now the fourth I representing the Indians is equally important.

Anupam Kher entertained the audience with the narratives of his childhood struggles and stressed that his earlier failures only strengthened his resolve to pursue and achieve his goals.

Dr. Narinder Kukar was honored for his half century of dedication to AIA. Dr. Samin Sharma spoke highly of Dr. Arthur Klein, President of Mount Sinai Health Network and presented a special AIA Honor Award to him, which was accepted in his absence by Chief Operating Officer Sean Healy.

For more information about this news release, please contact Dr.
Urmilesh Arya at [email protected] or 516.606.2014