Gov Nikki attends IAFC Awards Banquet Gala

IAFC team honoring  South Carolina Gov Nikki Randhawa and Mayor Beth Van
IAFC team honoring South Carolina Gov Nikki Randhawa and Mayor Beth Van

DALLAS, TX: Indian American Friendship Council (IAFC) hosted its 9th Annual Awards Banquet Gala here on Saturday, May 10 at Park Plaza Towers in Dallas with more than 500 people attending to celebrate the success of the Indian American community.

The first Indian American Woman Governor and the youngest Governor in the USA, Nikki Randhawa Haley, of South Carolina attended the banquet as a Keynote Speaker and Beth Van Duyne, Irving City Mayor as a Special Guest.

The evening started with beautifully sung Indian and USA National Anthems by young children. Rao Kalvala, IAFC Secretary welcomed the gathering and dwelt on the banquet theme of “Education – Experience – Empowerment.” Once Popular TV anchor and artist now settled in Dallas as an IT professional Mrs Rajeswari Udayagiri, who did an excellent job as Mistress of Ceremonies, invited the students of Guru Parampara School of Arts to perform an item titled the “Glory of Kuchipudi” as an invocation dance.

John Hammond, IAFC Director and the Awards Banquet Chair, said that proceeds of this banquet benefits Mahatma Gandhi Memorial project and eulogized the services of the Mahatma for promoting peace and non-violence for resolving social and national problems.

Dr Prasad Thotakura, IAFC Texas State Chairman, said 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 that besides Governor Haley very successful people from all walks of life attended the event and were being felicitated with distinguished awards. Nikki Randhawa Haley, Dr. Prasad Thotakura, 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, is 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. Beth, a dedicated volunteer, experienced professional, involved homeowner and devoted mother of two, has fought hard against tax and fees increases, championed the movement against more apartment complexes and promoted smart development backed by legitimate investors.

IAFC-Outstanding Entrepreneur Award was presented to Arun Agarwal, CEO, Alok International. Agarwal, a Harvard University graduate, has built a multi-million dollar business and is a pioneer in home textile industry. He 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 Ali A. Saherwala, 2nd year Medical Student, UT Southwestern, Dallas. 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.
Taiyab Kundawala, Vice President, in his closing remarks thanked guests Governor Haley, Mayor Van Duyne, congratulated all award winners, 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 Rajeswari Udayagiri, who made the event a grand success.

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. IAFC TX State Chapter Executive Team includes: Chair Dr. Prasad Thotakura; Executive Vice President Dr. Tara Kumar Reddy; Vice President Piyush Patel; Vice President Taiyab Kundawala; Secretary Rao Kalvala; Board of Directors include Prof. Niranjan Tripathy, Dr. Sat Gupta, Paul Pandian, Murali Vennam, Raj Asava, Ramki Chebrolu, John Hammond, Sushimitha Kosuri. Advisory Board of Directors includes Arun Agarwal, Dr Nick Manesh and Mrs Neeha Curtis.

IAFC, a non-profit organization formed in 1990 provides and promotes political education and a common platform to exchange views with local, national and international policy makers. It 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 six to more than 135 members as of today.

India Post News Service

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