Kanchana Poola, a community leader and philanthropist, best described as the unassuming power-house of the Indian community, was awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Induction Ceremony of the Indo-American Press Club (IAPC) on March 31st here on Long Island at the at the popular Antun’s by Minar in Hicksville, NY.
During the solemn ceremony attended by community leaders, diplomats, political leaders and hundreds of community members, a new Team led by Sunil J. Koozhampala as the President of IAPC assumed charge for the coming year.
Sunil J. Koozhampala took the oath of office as IAPC President along with his Executive Committee for 2019. New Board members were also inducted and executive committees for New York Chapter & Philadelphia Chapter installed. Sunil is the publisher and MD of Rashtra Deepika Ltd and Deepika, a reputed Malayalam newspaper from Kerala. He also has hospitality interests in the US and Costa Rica. He called IAPC founder chairman Ginsmon Zacharia a visionary leader.
In its mission to offer a common platform for media professionals of Indian origin and improve their working conditions, Indo-American Press Club received encouragement from over 250 community leaders and dignitaries as it celebrated 6 years of growth & expansion and held a induction ceremony for its 2019 team.
Kanchana Poola served as the President of New York Tamil Sangam (NYTS) for several years and currently serves as an advisor of the decades old Sangam. She is a Life member of FeTNA and has been associated with American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association. Kanchana and Jagadeesan Poola have contributed to the Harvard Tamil Chair Fund. They are Co-Chairs of The Asian Era and Aksharam magazines. In her acceptance speech, Kanchana Poola said her father instilled in her the value of giving — for education, for the poor and the needy. The Poola couple were also honored by the NYTS.
Others who were honored at the colorful ceremony included:
- Dr. Neeta Jain, Democratic Party and Civic Community leader
- Mr. Devadasan Nair, Consul Community Affairs, Indian Consulate, New York
- Mr. Ashok Vyas, Program Director of ITV Gold
- Mr. Ven Parameswaran, Senior Columnist, Writer & Critic
- Mr. Varkey Abraham, Business Entrepreneur
- Guruji Dr. Dileepkumar Thankappan, Renowned Yogacharya
- BCB Bank – Manager Roopam Maini
- Mr. Mohan Nannapaneni, Co-Founder of non-profit organization TEAM Aid.
- Sujeet Rajan, Executive Editor, Desi Talk and News India Times
IAPC, which was founded by a group of Kerala origin group of media persons, felt overwhelmed by the presence of crème de la creme from other communities as well–Tamil, Gujarati, Rajasthani, Telugu, Punjabi…. you name it. The official business of induction ceremonies was interspersed with presenting plaques to the evening’s honorees, speeches by the Guests of Honor and entertainment.
“The ceremony was a sure sign of the strong support from the Indian community,” said Ginsmon Zachariah, Founder Chairman of IAPC. “The presence of IAPC leaders, past and present, leaders of various community organizations as well as many accomplished people in their fields, not to speak of the media professionals, were in attendance, was indeed encouraging for the member sof IAPC to move forward with courage and pride.”
Indeed, IAPC already has 12 chapters and has become the fast growing syndicate of print and electronic media professionals of Indian origin working in USA, Canada and Europe. It is committed to enhance the working conditions of journalists, offering educational and training opportunities to its members. It has hosted 5 International Media Conferences in USA, with topnotch media professionals coming from as far as India and Australia.
The incoming General Secretary Mathewkutty Easow in his welcome speech said: “Like any other successful organization, IAPC is forging ahead with 7 “P’s” – Purpose, Pathway, Passion, Perseverance, Positivity, Patience and Principles to become a source of pride to its members and envy to other organizations.”
Kamlesh Mehta, IAPC Board Member and Publisher of The South Asian Times, called IAPC a strong platform for Indian ethnic journalists who are not well paid and do not enjoy benefits like a pension plan. He asserted that IAPC is working toward providing some security to them with support from the community.
Neeta Jain, Democratic District Leader of NY’s 25th assembly district (Part B) and Civic Community Leader, in her acceptance speech said that the media’s role is important because “your pen and words can make a big change in the world.”
Devadasan Nair, Consul – Community Affairs with the Indian Consulate in New York gave this advice to IAPC in his speech: “Media shall always bring the truthful and right news to the public. IAPC should attract and include media persons hailing from all regions of India and it shall grow to be an internationally renowned organization.”
From the Guests of honor, Dr. Toshiya Hoshino, Japan’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, in his address highlighted the strong ties between Japan and the US and Japan being a partner country of India. Deepak Misra, Minister, Permanent Mission of India to the UN, graciously attended the entire proceeding of the evening.
Congressman Tom Suozzi and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino sent messages of good wishes to IAPC. Kevin Thomas, New York State Senator, was held up with the state budget work.
As for the prominent attendees, here are just a few names: Bobby Kumar, Bhuvana Rao, Dr. Raj Bhayani, Jagdish Sewhani, Nagendra Gupta, Shaker Nelanuthala, Sunil Hali, Sharanjit Singh, Dr Raj Uppal, Lalit Aery, Arvind Vora, Rajesh Shah, Sunil Modi, Rizwan Qureshi, Dr. Thomas Mathew, Thomas Koovalloor, Sibi David, Gunjan Rastogi, Beena Kothari, Bina Sabapathi, Nilima Madan, Pinki Jaggi, Dilip Chauhan, Ravi Bhooplapur, Andy Bhatia, Shiv Dass, Arjen Bathija, Dave Sharma, Indu Gajwani, Rashmi Sinha, Roopam Maini, Davendra Vora, Anand Ahuja, Dr M.N. Krishnan & Sashikala, Dr Bala Swaminathan, Dr & Mrs Kasinathan, Gobind Munjal, and Dr Syed Yousuf.
Dr. Parikh complimented IAPC for its six-year journey during which it has moved “from strength to strength,” and thanked the organization for honoring two people from his organization. He complimented IAPC for going from strength to strength over 6 years.
Air India’s Regional Manager – Americas Bhuvana Rao told ITV Gold in an interview at the event that the Indian media plays a constructive role as it contributes to bringing the Indian community together as well as India and US closer as partners.
A coffee table book titled ‘Global Religions’ compiling seven issues of the interfaith journal, One World Under God, was released at the event. It is published by Global Interfaith Foundation, which was started last year by Darshan Singh Bagga, a real estate developer, and is edited by Parveen Chopra, the Managing Editor of The South Asian times.
Scintillating entertainment was provided by a group displaying Chenda Melam drum art of Kerala, and Soormay bhangra group. Dance performance was given by Sowparnika Dance Academy headed by Ms. Malini Nair.
Vineetha Nair, Director IAPC Board, kicked off the meeting and handed the mike to young emcees Jinu Ann Mathew and Andrew G Zacharia. The vote of thanks was given by Biju Chacko, National Secretary. IAPC Chairman Babu Stephen Could not attend because of family emergency.