A community activist & leader, a successful businessman, an industrialist, a scientist, a renowned musician, two young prodigies, an organ donor, and a journalist were honored at a colorful bi-annual NAMAM Excellence Award 2018 ceremony held at the Royal Albert Palace, Edison, New Jersey on April 28th, 2018.
What stood out at the long-awaited historic event was that among the 7 honorees, two are leaders of the Indo-American Press Club (IAPC). Dr. Babu Stephan, current Chairman, and Ajay Ghosh, founding President of IAPC, were the recipients of the NAMAM awards for their contributions and successes in the business and media world, respectively. IAPC, founded 6 years ao, has been serving as a platform to raise the voice of Indian Americans journalists in North America.
Dr. Stephen is the CEO of DC Healthcare Inc, and the president of SM Reality LLC in Washington, and has been politically well-connected in both Washington DC and Kerala. He has dabbled in media and having arrived in America almost 4 decades ago, and has been among the first generation of Indian community builders here. In his acceptance speech for the award for excellence in business, he recounted the Indian American community’s landmark achievements in all walks of life here – and we have only started!
Ajay Ghosh was chosen for his contributions in media. He has founded the Universal News Network (UNN), a news portal as chief editor, and has been associated with news publications including India Tribute, Indian Express (North American edition), NRI Today and Asian Era magazines. And since 2010, he has been the media consultant of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI). In addition, he has taught Social Work Seminar and guided students at the Graduate School of Social Work at Fordham University in New York City since 2006 and works as a Primary Clinician at Yale New Haven Hospital, serving patients with behavioral health issues. Mr. Ghosh dedicated his award to the journalists of Indian origin, who work tirelessly to inform, educate and create awareness on issues that affect the peoples of the world.
Other awardees included, a world renowned community leader and activist, Dr. Thomas Abraham; T. S. Nandakumar, a renowned and versatile Carnatic music percussionist; Ramadas Pillai, President/CTO of Nuphoton Technologies, Inc; Rekha Nair, who has been an advocate for organ donation; Tiara Thankam Abraham, a 12-year-old soprano prodigy and a child genius; and, Child Genius Tanishq Mathew Abraham, a 14-year-old senior completing his biomedical engineering degree at Univ. Of California, Davis. He will be the youngest engineer to graduate in June 2018.
Dr. Thomas Abraham highlighted the need for bringing together the Indian Diaspora under the banner of GOPIO and how it has become a powerful force in raising our voices against discrimination and injustice. In her acceptance speech, Rekha Nair, who stunned the world by donating one of her kidneys at a young age to save the life of a woman she barely knew at the time last year, made an impassioned appeal for organ donation and blood donation.
Of the two siblings, Tanishq, 14-year-old senior (4th year) completing his biomedical engineering degree, could not come down from California, so his younger sister Tiara, 12, accepted the award on his behalf too. She also gave a performance and showed why she is considered a prodigy soprano.
NAMAM, or the North American Malayalees and Associated Members, founded by Madhavan B. Nair, has been honoring its best and brightest at biennial events. Madhavan Nair, in his welcome address, described it as, “an unforgettable evening as we honor extraordinarily accomplished individuals, who have made valuable contributions to the Indian-American community with the NAMAM Excellence Awards.”
The evening program was studded with dance and live music performances, both Indian classical and contemporary/Bollywood. Among the 350 attendees at the event were many prominent members of the community and guests from India.
Founded in 2010, NAMAM has been reaching out to the community with cultural programs, social gatherings and humanitarian aid efforts. Madhavan Nair summed up the essence of the awards nite and the goals of NAMAM: “It is our priority to pass a deep awareness about our rich heritage, unique customs and eclectic culture of Kerala to the younger generation in the USA, so that they can appreciate and take pride in their genealogy.”