Educational Seminars, Panel Discussions, Presidential Debate, Award Ceremony, and Cultural Extravaganza were some of the major highlights of the 7th annual International Media Conference (IMC 2020) organized by the Indo-American Press Club (IAPC) from October 17th to 18th 2020. Meticulous planning and execution of the IMC, organized virtually due to the ongoing Pandemic, by IAPC’s Board of Directors and the National Executive Committee, was live broadcast on several social media platforms, and was attended by thousands of IAPC members, supporters, and well-wishers from around the world.
Led by IAPC Chairman Dr. Joseph Chalil and President Dr. S.S. Lal, the IMC 2020 was inaugurated by Ms. Shanimol Osman, a legislative assembly member of Kerala, India. Ms. Osman stressed the importance of the media and congratulated IAPC for its contributions to society.
In his inaugural address, Dr. Chalil, while describing the current phase in human history as “unprecedented times for the journalists, who are the true warriors of journalism,” he pointed out that “several media personnel has been killed due to the COVID pandemic, in their efforts to provide accurate and balanced reporting.”
In his Presidential Address, Dr. Lal highlighted the importance of journalists and the need to coordinate and bring together journalists under one umbrella. “And it is the commitment and sacrifice of the leaders and members of this organization that has helped us build collaborations between the journalists and writers of the US and India,” Dr. Lal said.
In his address, Ambassador Pradeep Kapur stressed the importance of the media, especially in these challenging times, as they work hard to bring the truth before the public. While inaugurating the IAPC News Wire, which has been coordinated by Kamlesh Mehta of the South Asian Times, Ambassador T P Sreenivasan, IFS, highlighted Media’s role and how a Newswire can be a channel for educating the public, especially during the Pandemic. The annual Souvenir of IAPC was released by its Editor, Dr. Mathew Joys, a Member of the BOD.
During an interactive seminar on Indo-US Relations by reputed Indian Foreign Service Officers, Ambassador Kapur and Ambassador Sreenivasan, with experiences in Diplomacy and have personally served in various capacities, representing India around the world, especially in the US and at the UN, shared with the audience of their critical insights into the relationship of India with the US, China, Pakistan, and European nations. Chief Information Commissioner Bimal Julka, IAS, inaugurated the Educational Website Portal www.bhudhi.com and addressed the audience. Dr. Aann Abraham served as the Emcee.
A Seminar on “Freedom of Press in India & US” was led by Siddharth Varadarajan, a former editor of the Indian English language national daily, The Hindu, and the founding editor of the Indian digital news portal, The Wire. Azad Jayan moderated, and Dr. Neethu James served as the Emcee. The session on “Cyber Security & Social Media” was led by Joseph Ponnoly & Binosh Bruce and was moderated by Thomas Mathew, Vice Chairman of IAPC, and Kalyani Nair served as the Emcee. The Master Ceremony for the IMS was James Kureekkatil.
Coordinated by Ajay Ghosh, Founder President and a Member of the BOD, for the first time ever, a live US Presidential Election Debate with the active participation of prominent political leaders and observers from both the Democratic and the Republic Parties was organized. The panelists from the Republican Party were: Puneet Ahluwalia, Candidate for Lt. Governor, Virginia; Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Republican Delegate to the National Republican Convention; and Dr. Anand Tamhankar, a Multi-Disciplinary Expert and a Physician. The Democrats on the Panel were: Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, Candidate for Connecticut State Assembly; Dr. Hetal Gor, a Women’s Leader and OBGYN, NJ; and Anil Bansal, President of Federation of Indian Associations, NY, NJ, CT. The lively debate was moderated by Dr. Renee Mehrra, TV/News Anchor, TV Asia.
Facilitation speeches were delivered by Ginsmon P Zacharia, IAPC Founder Chairman; Parveen Chopra, Editor, South Asian Times & IAPC Director; Anitha Naveen, IAPC Vancouver Chapter; Joseph John, President, IAPC Alberta Chapter; Bince Mandapam, President, IAPC, Toronto Chapter; Milly Philip, President, IAPC, Philadelphia Chapter; Sabu Kurian, President, IAPC, Atlanta Chapter; Meena Chittilapally, President, IAPC, Dallas Chapter; and, Dr. Mathew Vyramon, Secretary, IAPC, Houston Chapter. Mini Nair, a Member of BOD, introduced Dr. Lal. A vote of thanks was proposed by Annie Anuvelil, IAPC Secretary
“We strive to educate and help improve the performance of Indian American journalists and those in India by imparting new knowledge and modern trends to the participants,” said Ginsmon Zacharia, founder chairman of IAPC. IAPC General Secretary Biju Chacko said that the Indian community in North America and elsewhere have been very supportive of the activities of our Press Club and have been requested to continue their support for the coming seventh International Media Conference. “Leading media personalities from around the world have been collaborating with IAPC,” said Mathewkutty Easo, Secretary, Board of Directors. “IAPC is committed to connecting, training, and encouraging emerging media professionals through innovative IT windows and platforms.”
IAPC Executive Vice President Annie Koshy said, “Despite the chaos around us, the IAPC has been unflinching in purpose to deliver and meet the needs of the Indian diaspora of journalists based in North America.” National Treasurer Reji Philip said that IAPC leadership and members have been working together for months for the success of the seventh International Media Conference, bringing the significant presence of the media community as done during the last six years. The cultural extravaganza featuring famous artists from Southern Indian Cinema World was presented by Saji Abraham of the Hedges Group.
The Grand Finale, the solemn Award Ceremony, was led by Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh; Dr. Joseph Chalil, IAPC Chairman; Korason Varghese, Award Committee Chair; & Dr. P.V. Baiju, IAPC Board Member. WHEELS Global Foundation, a charitable initiative by the Indian Institute of Technology alumni, was conferred The Sathkarma Award. Dr. Vinod K. Shah, Managing Director of MedStar Shah Medical Group, CEO of Health Prime, and former President of AAPI, was conferred with the prestigious Karma Shrestha Award.
Ranjani Saigal, Executive Director of Ekal Vidyalaya, and Dean Nitin Nohria, Dean of Harvard Business School, were given The SathKarma Award. Ambassador Pradeep Kapur, the author of the book Beyond Covid-19 Pandemic and former Ambassador of India to Chile and Cambodia, received the Excellence in Literature Award.
Chancellor of the University of California San Diego, Pradeep Khosla, was awarded the Excellence in Technology & Education Award. Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), was conferred the Excellence in Leadership Award. The Humanitarian Award was given to Dr. Sunil D. Kumar, Broward Health Medical Center, and former President of AKMG. Satish Korpe, the past President of the Indian American Forum for Political Education, and Madhavan B. Nair, former President of FOKANA, received the Community Service Award. Lalit K. Jha, Chief US Correspondent for Press Trust of India (PTI), was given the IAPC Media Excellence Award.
The Indo-American Press Club (IAPC), a 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit Organization headquartered in New York, was formed in 2013 with the ideals of providing a common platform to journalists of Indian-origin living in the United States and Canada committed to professionalism and well-being of the larger society. IAPC is also committed to recognize and honor the outstanding entities and individuals in the community that creates a social impact and excel in their field of profession, culture, service, and business.