Dallas, TX: Indian American Friendship Council (IAFC) hosted its “9th Annual Awards Banquet Gala” with big fanfare where more than 500 people attended to celebrate the success of the Indian American community. This awards banquet was held on Saturday, May 10th at Park Plaza Towers in Dallas. The first Indian American Woman Governor, the youngest Governor in the USA, Hon. Nikki Randhawa Haley,Governor of South Carolina attended the banquet as a Keynote Speaker and Hon. Beth Van Duyne,Irving City Mayor as a Special guest.
Rao Kalvala, IAFC Secretary opened and welcomed the gatheringand explained the importance of this year’sbanquet theme of “Education – Experience – Empowerment.”The evening started with beautifully sung Indian and USA National Anthems by young children. Once Popular TV anchor and artist now settledin Dallas as an IT professional Mrs. Rajeswari Udayagiriwho did an excellent job asMistress of Ceremonies invited the students of Guru Parampara Scholl of Artsto perform a dance item titled the “Glory of Kuchipudi” as an invocation dance. Ms. Manogna Chavali, Ms. Yashaswini Pindi, Ms. Parimala Gangaraju, and Ms. Sampreeti Bingi did an excellent job in showcasing their talents of foot rhythmand expressions. This dance item was choreographed by the late Padma Vibhushan Guru Vempati China Satyam and Guru Hemamalini Chavali, Director of the Guru Parampara School of Arts, Irving, TX.
John Hammond, IAFC Director and the Awards Banquet Chair eloquently spoke about the simple living and high thinking of the World Leader Mahatma Gandhi who dedicated his life to peace and humanity. He further stated that proceeds of this banquet benefits Mahatma Gandhi Memorial project.
“ As a strong Indian American community, we all need to focus on local (US) issues like Education, Health Care, Social Security, Roads and Transportation, Safety and Security etc., and express our opinions with an unified voice and need to participate in the US election process”, said Dr. Prasad Thotakura, IAFC Texas State Chairman.
Dr. Thotakura further stated that IAFC has been recognized twice in US Congress for its dynamic role in building better relations between the largest democracy, India and the oldest democracy USA. This year’s Awards Banquet is so special as Hon. Governor Haley attended the event as a Keynote Speaker and very successful people from all walks of life being felicitated with distinguished awards
Hon. Nikki Randhawa Haley, Governor of South Carolina, Dr. Prasad Thotakura, IAFC TX State Chairman along with other IAFC Board of Directors presented awards to the following individuals.
“IAFC-Outstanding Scholar & Administrator” award was presented to Prof. Kharbari M. Vistasp, eighth President of the University of Texas at Arlington.
Prof. Kharbari Vistasp,President, the University of Texas at Arlington, a visionary leader and accomplished scholar who is committed to advancing UT Arlington’s national and international profile while strengthening excellence in research and teaching and ensuring the success of the University’s 38,000 students body. During his more than 20 years in higher education, he has received numerous awards for research, teaching and innovation.
“IAFC-Community Bridge Award” was presented to Hon. Beth Van Duyne,Mayor of City of Irving.
Mayor Van Duyne fought hard against tax and fees increases, championed the movement against more apartment complexes and promoted smart development backed by legitimate investors. Beth is a dedicated volunteer, experienced professional, involved homeowner and devoted mother of two.
“IAFC-Outstanding Entrepreneur Award”was presented to Mr. Arun Agarwal,CEO, Alok International
Arun Agarwal,a Harvard University graduate, who has built a multi-million dollar business, is a pioneer in Home Textile Industry has focused on World-class infrastructure, best-in-class technology, uncompromising quality standards and dynamic product innovation. The company is a supplier to major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s, Dillard’s, JC Penny etc.,
“IAFC-Outstanding Youth Excellence Award”was presented to Mr. Ali A. Saherwala, 2nd year Medical Student, UT Southwestern, Dallas
Ali Asgher Saherwala, despite his complex life due to his congenital bilateral conduction hearing loss and other medical conditions, successfully battled many surgeries, years of speech therapy and worked hard at school, until he graduated at the top of his class in Allen High School, Allen. He then attended UT Dallas with a full scholarship with the acclaimed and prestigious Eugene McDermott Scholarship program. Currently, Ali is a second year medical student at UT Southwestern Medical School and is involved with numerous student organizations.
Mr. Taiyab Kundawala, Vice President, in his closing remarks thanked guests Governor Haley, Mayor Van Duyne, congratulated all award winners, Mr. John and Mrs. Linda Hammond the grand sponsors of the banquet, volunteers, dance schools, Bombay Photography, Weddings by Farah, media like TV 9, FunAsiA, all attendees and supporters and last but not least MC Mr. Rajeswari Udayagiri who made the event a grand success.
“9th IAFC Annual Awards Banquet Gala” ended with a high power Patriotic songs medley presented by the students of the Inspirationz Dance Academy that was choreographed by its Director Mrs. Shanti Nuti. Participants included Wednesday Price, Siddha Eleswarapu, Siddhartha Eleswarapu, Swetha Vadlamannati, Sonika Reddy, Sriya Vaskarla, Sreya Laxmi Kodela, Shreya Thalla, Pragna Brahmadevara, Sonika Reddy, Abhi Vadlamannati, Akhil Mulukutla and Avani Sunkireddy.
IAFC TX State Chapter Executive Team includes – Chair – Dr. Prasad Thotakura, Executive Vice President – Dr. Tara Kumar Reddy, Vice President – Mr. Piyush Patel, Vice President – Mr. Taiyab Kundawala, Secretary – Mr. Rao Kalvala, Board of Directors include: Prof. Niranjan Tripathy, Dr. Sat Gupta, Mr. Paul Pandian, Mr. Murali Vennam, Mr. Raj Asava, Mr. Ramki Chebrolu, Mr. John Hammond, Ms. Sushimitha Kosuri and Advisory Board of Directors include – Mr. Arun Agarwal, Dr. Nick Manesh and Mrs. Neeha Curtis
Indian American Friendship Council (IAFC), a 501(C) (3) non-profit, non-religious, bipartisan organization formed in 1990 provides and promotes political education and a common platform to exchange views with Local, National and International policy makers. Its mission is to improve relations between United States and India, support developing countries, promote global democracy, protect the interests of the Indian-American community and educate US Members of Congress about the pressing needs of the community.
IAFC has been recognized twice in US Congress for its pivotal role in strengthening Indian-American ties. IAFC has played a key role in making the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans as the largest caucus in the House of Representatives increasing its strength from 6 to more than 135 members as of today.