Dr. Kishore Kuncham
As we stand at the beginning of the New Year, let us all keep perspective on what is truly important in our lives and use this occasion to celebrate those intangible gifts we are blessed with. I encourage you to embark on new journeys, discover new joys, and seek ways to add more meaning to your lives in the new year. On behalf of the entire Executive Council, I wish all of you a peaceful, healthy and Happy New Year. It is my privilege to serve as your President for 2013.
We thank you for joining us on the 13th for the inauguration and oath ceremony at the Nassau County Executive’s Office, in Mineola. The large turnout at the inaugural event and the overwhelming support that has been extended to me and the team for a new beginning has been heartwarming. We are grateful to each of you, and with your help, we will invigorate ourselves, our association, and our community, and we will rise to greater heights and higher purpose.
It is our sincere wish to deepen and strengthen ties between the Indian American community and the community at large. As we continue to promote the purpose of the organization, that is to advance the social and cultural aspects of Indian culture, and to honor the diversity and the rich heritage of India, we will also continue to engage in very meaningful and purposeful activities for the members. It is very critical that we establish our presence in a significant way in the mainstream American social life. If we are serious about our goals, it is clear that we must stand together as a united group of Indian Americans, regardless of our origin, state or language.
We have set high expectations for 2013 and we believe we can make significant strides toward our goals/objectives with your help and encouragement. The limitation of a one year term of the Presidency makes it difficult to think big and move aggressively toward the achievement of long term goals. Therefore, this year, one of my goals will be to create a “road map” that may help the next generation of leaders to carry forward the pursuit of the organization's long term goals. Below are the broad goal areas for this year, and beyond, that I briefly outlined in my inaugural remarks on January 13th.
• The term of the presidency and the executive council:
It is our opinion that a two-year term provides more stability and continuity that would enable the leadership team to carry out their work in a meaningful way to the organization. This year, we will make a serious attempt to secure the two thirds majority of the membership required in order to extend the term of the presidency and the Executive Council. Please note that I have no interest in seeking the presidency of IALI next year. I bring this matter forward for the good of the Organization.
Our membership numbers have been increasing at a snail’s pace and this year our goal is to increase it by at least 25%. This may sound like a daunting task, but it is very much possible with your assistance. We urge you to encourage your friends and family to become life members. If you are already a member, please provide us your contact information and email. Communication is the foundation of a widely distributed organization such as ours and is crucial to its survival and growth. Having member e-mail addresses will enable us to “go green” and be able to communicate regularly so that you will be informed of matters of importance and interest to Indian Americans. I am also hopeful that an electronic database will enable us to move in the direction of “electronic voting.”
• India House:
The dream of IALI to have a place of its own , to meet, to showcase, to promote Indian culture, and to have an “address” has been in the forefront of our needs for the last several years, but the matter has not been able to gain momentum or traction. It is my hope to bring laser focus to this issue. We will actively seek to identify short term (lease) and long term (purchase) solutions by engaging community, policymakers, and organizations with similar interests to come together to bring this idea closer to reality than ever before.
I do believe that our love for cricket can bring us together and help us promote the game. It will be greatly useful and it is high time that grounds should be set aside as dedicated to cricket, or at very least, a cricket pitch must be created in one of the parks. We plan to work with County and Town officials in securing a dedicated cricket pitch. In addition, for the first time, we plan to host cricket tournaments bringing various teams/organizations together late in the spring/summer.
• Music Forum:
For the first time, we have created a “Sangeet Forum” to bring the best of local and member talent, to host karaoke evenings, invite professional artists, commemorate celebrity singers/artists, celebrate Holi and other special occasions.
• Republic Day/Independence Day:
It is our expectation that IALI will gain in recognition and prominence as we expand our profile in a variety of celebrations and observances in Town and County offices, while promoting our image as an organization that is making significant contributions to society.
• International Peace Day/International Nonviolence Day (Gandhi’s birthday):
IALI will celebrate both of these special events in October, promoting peace through a variety of ways – service projects, art & essay contests, etc.
Some of the textbooks either do not represent the facts about India correctly, or they are poorly represented. Although, this requires a great amount of fact finding and research, it is a worthwhile project that we will start this year. This may lead to changing the way in which the history of India is portrayed in schools. It may be difficult to take on the publishers, but we need to set the facts straight and “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” We need the facts about India and Indian culture to properly and accurately taught in classrooms.
• Social Services:
A new initiative involves working with the department of social services to bring services to members in need and to help the community at large, We will also explore the potential for any grant funding with a focus on supporting individuals and families who are struggling to reach their full potential and live better lives.
• Women's Forum and Senior Forums:
We will continue to support these forums by providing appropriate programs (health, fitness, retirement, hobbies, and self-expression), and by increasing participation and networking opportunities.
• Community Service Projects:
Our hope is to “raise the bar” in our fundraising efforts in support of the Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN) and RotaCare. The INN operates a network of 19 soup kitchens, 3 emergency shelters and other programs for hungry and homeless individuals and families on Long Island. RotaCare is a non-profit organization which provides free medical services to the needy on Long Island. In addition, we would like to support other charitable causes including the United Way of Long Island projects and the Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk.
• University Partnership:
We intend to partner with local universities to explore ways for promoting India and Indian culture
IndiaFest has been an annual event which has showcased Indian culture. It is our desire to expand this event attract a mainstream audience and media. The event will incorporate showcasing the rich diversity of India, the “Ms. Long Island” pageant, and will feature other exciting programs.
We will continue with our traditional programs such as the Valentine’s Dance, Annual Dinner, Diwali, and year-end celebrations. Also, for the first time, we plan to bring a Health Fair, Leadership/Business Seminars, a College Admission/Awareness Workshop, and more.
I do know that we are thinking “big” and we have every reason to do so. We want to achieve a lot, bring you meaningful and quality programs, continue to promote the mission of IALI, and yet accomplish all this in the short period of one year. Together with your help and the energy and enthusiasm of our extraordinary team, we can do it! We must act today in order to create a better tomorrow. We have already begun to act. With our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our potential, together we can move our agenda for 2013 and beyond.
President & The Executive Council 2013
INDIA ASSOCIATION OF LONG ISLAND
You must be the change you want to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi