Kerala diaspora Members to be Honoured in New York

The 31st annual awards banquet by the Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center is set for October 28 in Elmont….reports Asian Lite News

Eight Indian-Americans will be honoured at an award ceremony in New York this month for achievements in their respective fields and for their service to the society.

The Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center will present its 31st annual awards banquet on October 28 in Elmont, which will be attended by prominent leaders from India, US as well as members of the diaspora community.

“The Kerala Center has been honouring outstanding achievers since 1992. Every year we invite nominations and the committee has to make a unanimous choice for a candidate in a category to receive the award and this year is no different from previous years in terms of their achievements,” said Thomas Abraham, Kerala Center’s Trustee Board Chairman and Award Committee Member.

Shyam Kottilil, a virologist and immunologist, will be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for making pivotal contributions in the field of Hepatitis and HIV.

He is currently the Interim Director of the Institute of Human Virology in Baltimore.

Canada-based Sajeeb Koya, the man behind the LED facade lighting that lights up world’s tallest Burj Khalifa building in Dubai, will be honoured with the Entrepreneurship Award. He hails from Thiruvananthapuram.

Lata Menon practised as a lawyer in Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka before she immigrated to Canada. In addition to her professional activities as a lawyer, Lata is an active supporter and champion of women’s equality and rights.

“Lata has touched the lives of several of her clients who came to her in distress when faced with family discord, domestic violence, abuse, and family disputes, which she has influenced many of her clients to pull their lives together and persevere in the face of adversity,” a Kerala Cultural and Civic Center release noted.

“Lata’s achievements and success makes her a true leader, mentor, formidable force, influence, and inspiration to many.”

Dr Anna George, President of the Indian Nurses Association of New York (INANY), and Shelby Kutty will be recognised for their contributions in the field of healthcare, while Gopala Pillai will be honoured for community service.

Pillai has been with the World Malayali Council since 1995 as its secretary, president and chairman.

Jayant Kamicheril, a 2022 Sahithya Akademy award recipient, and Ajay Ghosh, Chief Editor and Co-Publisher of The Universal News Network, will also be recognised for contributions in the field of literature and media.

Kerala Center President Alex K. Esthappan said that the Center has recognised over 170 Americans hailing from Kerala in the last 31 years. The award ceremony will be followed by cultural and entertainment programmes.

Though the exact number of Keralites in the US is unknown, Thiruvananthapuram-based International Institute of Migration and Development (IIMD) reckons that there are at least 40 lakh from the community abroad, of which at least 20 per cent or even higher number are now settled in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

Kerala is officially preparing a data bank of Keralites, a move that will help the state find the number of Malayalis working abroad, especially in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

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