Community Organizations in New York Bid Farewell to Consul A.K. Vijayakrishnan with Heartfelt Send-Off Dinner

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In a heartfelt event, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) chapters in New York and Manhattan, alongside the Indian American Kerala Center in Elmont, New York, and several other community organizations, hosted a farewell dinner for Shri A.K. Vijayakrishnan, the Consul for Community Affairs at the Indian Consulate in New York. The event marked the end of his 4½-year tenure and his retirement from service. The other organizations involved included the Kerala Cultural Association of North America, Pioneer Club of Keralites, Kerala Samajam of Greater New York, World Malayalee Council NY Province, FOMAA Metro Region, FOKANA Metro Region, Long Island Malayalee Cultural Association, Indian American Malayalee Association of Long Island, and Milan Cultural Association.

Consul Vijayakrishnan, a distinguished diplomat with over 36 years of experience with the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India, has held various challenging and significant assignments, including postings in the High Commission of India in Pakistan and other countries. The send-off dinner, held at the Indian American Kerala Center, celebrated his dedicated service.

The evening commenced with a welcome address from Kerala Center President Alex Esthappan, who praised Consul Vijayakrishnan for his exemplary service during his term.

GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham highlighted the community’s decision to honor Consul Vijayakrishnan, noting, “Although many consuls come and go, we felt it was important to give Consul Vijayakrishnan an appropriate send-off since he conducted his service above his call for duty by making himself available to serve the community 24/7 by sharing his cell phone with everyone.”

Dr. Abraham added, “Whenever I called him to alert a community issue or the death of an Indian citizen in the USA, he was already on the case, and that was greatly appreciated by the community.”

Speakers from various community organizations expressed their gratitude and admiration for Consul Vijayakrishnan’s dedication. These included Beena Kothari, President of GOPIO-NY; Suresh Sharma, President of Milan Cultural Association (Hartford, CT); Johny Zachariah, President of Pioneer Club of Keralites; Manohar Thomas, President of Sargavedi; Jose Kadapuram of Kairali TV; Philip Madathil, President of Kerala Cultural Association of North America; Sibi David, President of Kerala Samajam of New York; Thomas T. Oommen, Long Island Malayalee Cultural Association; Sibi David of Kalavedi; and Biju Chacko of World Malayalee Council. Other notable speakers included Democratic Party leaders Dr. Sumita SenGupta, Kalathil Varghese, and Koshy Thomas, as well as May Philip and Mathew Kutty Easo.

In recognition of his sincere service to the Indian diaspora community, Consul Vijayakrishnan was presented with an honor plaque by these organizations.

In his response to the accolades, Vijayakrishnan expressed his pleasure in serving the Indian American community, mentioning that he had encountered numerous family disputes, including domestic violence cases. He emphasized the importance of resolving conflicts non-violently and urged the community to adopt non-violent approaches in any disputes.

He also shared his experiences attending various regional community festivals and encouraged community organizations to invite members from other Indian community organizations to such events. This, he suggested, would foster better understanding and knowledge of Indian festivals among all communities.

Pragya Singh, the Consul for Visa at the Indian Consulate, who will take on the additional responsibility of Consul for Community Affairs, assured the attendees that she would continue Consul Vijayakrishnan’s work and looked forward to community support.

The event concluded with a vote of thanks from Kerala Center Secretary Raju Thomas, rounding off an evening of heartfelt tributes and community bonding.

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