Indian Americans among honorees at the AAPI Heritage Month celebration in NY

Amit Shah (left) Co-Chair of International Affairs & Director of Asian American Business Affairs at GNYCC, Mukesh Shah (second from left) Founder & CEO of Hakoba, Inc, guest Hema Virani (third from left), Sibu Nair (second from right) Deputy Director at Governor Hochul’s Office of Asian Affairs, and Harini Bangera, Civic and Community Organizations Liaison attending the AAPI Heritage Month celebration in New York on May 22, 2024.
Photo : Courtesy Harini Bangera
Special Honor recipients at the AAPI Heritage Month celeration in New York on May 22, 2024
Photo : Courtesy Mukesh Shah

Amit Shah and Mukesh Shah were among the recipients of Special Honor at the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month Celebration co-hosted this year by the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce (GNYCC) which also celebrated the World Trade Week as part of the AAPI celebrations on May 22, 2024 at the Korean American Association of Greater New York (KAAGNY) premises in Manhattan.

Other co-hosts of the celebration were the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, Korean American Association of Greater New York, and Apan Foundation. As part of the celebratory program, the event also held discussions on the current conditions of global trade and opportunities for collaborations.

Amit Shah is the Co-Chair of the AAPI Heritage Month Celebrations, Co-Chair of the International Affairs at GNYCC and Director of Asian American Business Affairs at GNYCC. Shah is also a Community Board 6 member. Speaking about the event, Shah said it not only honored the pioneers in global trade but also fostered networking and collaboration opportunities essential for economic growth,

Mukesh Shah is a long time New York entrepreneur, and the CEO of Hakoba, Inc. which he has founded. Shah was not even twenty when he broke into New York’s garment district. Today, he has become synonymous with the name Hakoba. Hakoba fabrics are special Swiss fabrics, light and breathable. There was a craze in the 80s and 90s to shop for Hakoba sarees among Indian residents and visitors. Hakoba Inc, offers fabrics for both men and women. Commenting on the honor, Shah told Desi Talk, “I feel great now (that) after 40 years, I have been recognized at the AAPI Heritage Month celebrations by the GNYCC.”

At the same event, GNYCC President and CEO Mark Jaffe also received the US President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award. The GNYCC represents more than 70 trade and business organizations in New York City, offering a networking platform and promoting international trade and economic development.

The event was attended by many trade experts and trade officials from Europe and Asia. Chief among these were Guest of Honor James McCament, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Washington, DC; Special Honorees NYC Commissioner of International Affairs Edward Mermelstein, Deputy Chief Security Officer Danielle M. Outlaw of the Port Authority of NY and NJ and Governor Hochul’s Deputy Director of Asian Affairs Sibu Nair.

Attendees also included Consul General of India in New York Binaya Srikanta Pradhan; Trade Commissioner Benedict Uy, of the Philippines; Consul General of Bangladesh Najmul Huda;  Economic Development Specialist at the U.S. Small Business Administration Man-Li Lin; President of the Korean American Association of Greater New York Kwang Kim; Consul at the Consulate General of Malaysia Danial Akhtar Abd.; and representing the U.S. Department of State Office of Foreign Missions Olivia Sznaza.

Among other honorees and attendees, were Licelle Cobrador & Mampi Ghosh of Cobrador & Associates PLLC; Gobinda Lama of Prime America Real Estate; Kwang Kim, President of the Korean American Association of Greater New York and James Kim, Operations Chairman of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce.

Several trade and commerce MOUs were signed during the celebration with a view to further international trade collaborations. Chief among these were the ones between India and the U.S. by Vishal Harsh, Consul (HOC & CPIO) and James McCament, Acting CEO of U.S. Customs, and James Kim, President of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce. An MOU was also signed with President Jaffe of GNYCC to promote partnerships and collaborative efforts in international trade.

A number of notable achievers and influencers of the Indian American community have received honors and awards during the AAPI Heritage month of May. Many of them have said that there is an urgent need for policy changes to disaggregate data amongst AAPI community. U.S. Census and many government forms and applications have been clubbing people from Asia and the Pacific together. The AAPI community has been asking to add different ethnic categories to enable future research and fair and just resource distributions.



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