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President's Message



Deputy Consul General Mr. Ajay Gondane, AIA members and friends.
It is a great privilege and honor for me to have been elected to serve as the President of AIA. I sincerely THANK YOU for your support during the election. I am equally delighted to see you all here. Your presence has graced this occasion.

--- Introduce executive committee ---

As most of you know, AIA, founded in 1967, is one of the oldest Indian organizations. The people who started this organization were one of the first Indians to migrate to America. They founded AIA with a mission ‘Indian Heritage- American Commitment’ With this mission in mind, they established the goals of this organization:
1) To help Indian immigrants to become a part of the mainstream of American life.
2) To network with the American community through charitable, cultural and educational activities.
3) To Network among people of Indian Heritage.
4) To help India through charitable activities.

Our association has achieved theses goals very successfully through all these years.

Here is a big list of some of our achievements which I am not going to read at this time. Because all these works have been done in the past which most of you already know.

Some people tell me AIA is getting old. They say they do not see much present activities of our organization. In fact, AIA is doing many charitable projects which are not as visible as the Diwali festival which is our public function. Let me first enlist presently ongoing projects of our organization:
1) Support for centre for India studies at State University of New York, Stonybrook, coordinated by Dr Nirmal Mattoo and Mr Sudesh Mukhi
2) Project India : Running medical camps in India to screen, educate and provide clinical help for AIDS patients. AIA has already spent more than USD 30,000/- on this project in cash and many times more in kind. This project is coordinated by Ms. Smiti Khanna and Ms Asmita Bhatia.
3) Involvement in the Govt and political arena, Coordinated by Dr. Piyush Agarwal and Dr. Shashi Shah

Our community has actively participated in raising millions for political parties but we have only a few individuals in influential positions at the various levels of government. Considering the size and contribution of our community, the current situation indicates progress but is not satisfactory. We must unite, develop an agenda and a clear vision to succeed in the governance process.

Let me recognize some of our own AIA members who are serving our government in various positions
- Mr. Gopal Khanna
- Dipty speaker of NJ state assembly Mr. Upendra Chivukula
- Mr. Ravi Mehrotra
- Mr. Uday Tambar

4) Diwali Celebration.
Besides our famous south street festival in NYC, we celebrate divali in various other cities, local city halls and in the tall halls. 5 years ago, AIA initiated diwali celebrations in the white house. These functions not only provide visibility and the sharing of cultures, but also promote understanding and strength to our Indian minority in the overall political process of the government.

5) We continue to recognize people with exceptional qualities.
We have been organizing national honor awards for people who have excelled in their respective fields in medicine, business, science, technology, education, and others. To name a few, we have honored people including Zubin Mehta, Coretta Scott King, Amartya Sen and Dr. Naresh Trehan. 6 of our honorees have gone on to receive the nobel prize.

AIA has earned its respect by successfully running such projects for years. But, now, the demographics of our community have changed and so have its needs. Our community has changed in complexion and numbers which exceeds 2.5 million people. Their needs are different. Even our home country India has become strong and powerful. Its needs are changing as well. AIA must begin to shift towards some new goals, such as:

1) To keep our culture and heritage alive among our next generations.

2) To combine our experience and resources with the vision and hard working
ability of our youth.

To reflect these new goals, we have envisioned some new programs for AIA. Let me tell you some of the new projects that we are going to launch under my presidency :

1) AIA Hindi Schools : As I mentioned earlier, our 2nd and 3rd generation are growing up in this country. They are learning English and other Languages like Spanish , French etc but they are not given enough opportunities to learn Hindi.

Hindi, our national language, spoken by more then 1 billion people, reflects our culture, binds us with our heritage, gives us an identity, and provides a valuable asset for the future growth in this world of globalization.

We have created a uniform syllabus, work books and teaching materials for classes from beginner, intermediate and advance courses. AIA will franchise these Hindi weekend schools through its chapters allover America. We expect to open more than 100 schools. We will further expand this effort to promote offering Hindi as an optional language in the high schools of America just as Chinese and other languages are taught.

2) Networking with youth : The significance of networking with youth can not be overstated. In that direction, we will approach the clubs of Indian students in various schools and universities. These students are full of energy and vision, but they lack resources. This will help us get closer to them and hopefully involve them in our activities after they finish their studies.

This may just sound like big words and a typical speech that has no net result. But let me assure you, we will have another such meeting with all of you, before we finish our executive term and that day we will celebrate the achievement of these goals. All I need is your support. If you think, these issues are important, If you think your kids should know Hindi, If you think Hindi is important to survive our heritage and identity, if you think involvement with youth is important for the future growth of our community….than please all of you rise in the support……please stand up to show your support…..all of you please rise…..we assure you that with the help of all you…we will achieve our goals…we will not be left behind….we will be strong and we will lead. Thankyou. Please take your seats.

I want to thank you for your patience. I would like you to enroll in AIA and volunteer in one of our community projects.


Ghanshyam Pandey