Indo-American Press Club inducts new leadership, presents Lifetime Achievement awards 

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Lamp lighting ceremony at the May 21, 2022, Indo-American Press Club event held at the Indian Consulate in New York. Photo: Rajiv Bhatty, ITV Gold

The Indo-American Press Club, an organization of journalists of Indian origin in North America, held the swearing-in ceremony and inauguration of new office bearers Saturday, May 21, 2022, at the Indian Consulate in New York.

Kamlesh C. Mehta was administered the oath of office as the Chairman of the IAPC Board of Directors by Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York. Ginson Zachariah, founding chairman of IAPC, administered the oath to IAPC’s new President Aashmeeta Yogiraj. Other officeholders including IAPC General Secretary C.G. Daniel were sworn-in virtually.

Four community leaders/professionals were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Awards for their contributions to society, including Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media which publishes Desi Talk, and ITV Gold.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, being presented with the Indo-American Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award 2022, at a May 21, 2022 event at the Indian Consulate in New York. Consul General Randhir Jaiswal presented the award at the ceremony. Photo: Raja Bhatty, ITV Gold
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Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General, was the chief guest, and former New York Mayor Bill De Blasio was the Special Guest of Honor during the ceremony.

Former Mayor of NYC Bill de Blasio, being recognized at the Indo-American Press Club gathering May 21, 2022, in the Indian Consulate. Seen handing him the IAPC recognition is India’s Consul General in new York Randhir Jaiswal, left, and Dr. Sudhir Parikh, right, Photo: Rajiv Bhatty, ITV Gold

Mayor De Blasio and CG Jaiswal presented the Lifetime Achievement Awards and recognitions to several Indian-Americans, among them, Dr. Parikh who heads the largest Indian-American publishing group in the United States. Dr. Parikh is one of the most honored Indian-Americans having received the Padma Shri, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Knights of Malta award in 2012, and is Chairman of Life Global, a non-profit that works on healthcare and education. He is also senior advisor to the tri-state Federation of Indian Associations and the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origi.

Pamela Kwatra, the only Indian-American woman recipient of the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2008, was recognized for her civic, social and professional accomplishments and recognition, a press release from IAPA said.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, AAPI, being presented with the Indo-American Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award 2022, at a May 21, 2022 event at the Indian Consulate in New York. Consul General Randhir Jaiswal presented the award at the ceremony. Photo: Raja Bhatty, ITV Gold

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the fourth woman elected as President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin in its nearly four decades-long history, was honored for her visionary leadership of AAPI, benefitting members and people in India and the United States.

Another awardee was Dr. Thomas Abraham, who has been honored with the Bharatvanshi Gaurav Award of Anthar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman for his services to the NRI/PIO communities for the last 49 years since he moved to New York as a graduate student at Columbia University.

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaking at the May 21, 2022 event of the
Indo-American Press Club. Photo: Raja Bhatty, ITV Gold

Special Recognition was accorded to Consul General Jaiswal, for his Vision, Dedication and Community Service; Mayor De Blasio for Excellence in Public Service and Leadership; Dr. Prabhakar Kore, Member of Parliament, India, for his Distinguished Services in Education and Public Services; and New York State Senator Kevin Thomas for Excellence in Community Service and leadership.

From left, Ajay Ghosh, Kamlesh Mehta, India’s Consul General Randhir Jaiswal, former Mayor
of NYC Bill De Blasio, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, and Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori at the May 21, 2022 event of the
Indo-American Press Club. Photo: Rajiv Bhatty, ITV Gold

In his address, while highlighting the many recent initiatives of the Government of India, Jaiswal praised IAPC for its “significant contribution to promoting India-US friendship and the welfare of Indian diaspora in the United States.” Jaiswal also praised IAPC for bringing together people from the diaspora media fraternity under a cohesive umbrella.

India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, speaking at the May 21, 2022 event of the
Indo-American Press Club. Photo: Raja Bhatty, ITV Gold

“We look forward to their continued support to bring developments from India to the readers in the U.S. and carry all the excitement from the United States to the people of India. I invite Indo American Press Club to join hands with us in celebrating India@75, our Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. I wish the Club steady growth, progress and success,” he said.

Mayor de Blasio praised Kwatra on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award and the IAPC for its work. He praised Mehta, its new Board Chairman, the new Executive Committee members and promised support to the organization.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh speaking at the May 21, 2022 event of the
Indo-American Press Club. Photo: Raja Bhatty, ITV Gold

Dr. Parikh said he may have received several awards in the past but the IAPC recognition “is more important than all those I got before because it is coming from my friends, peers, and my own loved ones.”

Despite a very large medical practice, Dr. Parikh decided to acquire media outlets because he wanted to influence the 2nd generation of Indian-American youth to get closer to their ancestral homeland, Mother India, he said, “and let American society know how rich a culture we have, how rich we are and what we can do in U.S. government as well as society.”  With print and television outlets, as well as a new studio in Edison, and recently getting on Sling media which has 40 million viewers, as well as partnering with India’s Doordarshan, the goal remains to bring 2nd generation youth closer to India so that they can take up the mantle of the first generation to continue strengthening U.S.-India relations. Dr. Parikh harked back to the 1990s when the India Caucus was formed in the U.S. Congress to influence U.S. foreign policy and to get more Indian-Americans involved in politics and policy. Today, there are more than 300 second generation Indian-Americans working on Capitol Hill, he said.

He also spoke of his involvement with Life Global, a non-profit in India that is involved with healthcare and education and had built some 98 schools for under-served youth. He urged Indian-American media to be “aggressive and positive … and fight anything that is against India,” and assured IAPC of all support needed from Parikh Worldwide Media.

Kamlesh Mehta, newly sworn-in chairman of the Indo-American Press Club, speakingto ITV Gold at the May 21, 2022 event of the
Indo-American Press Club. Photo: Raja Bhatty, ITV Gold.

In his acceptance speech, Mehta noted that IAPC, which he said had nearly one thousand members across the US and Canada, is a link between the media fraternity and the world at large. “We will work together with dedication to enhance the working conditions of our journalists, exchanging ideas and offering educational and training opportunities to our members, aspiring young journalists and media professionals around the globe,” Mehta said.

In her presidential address, Aashmeeta Yogiraj, Director – Programming & Marketing, JUS Broadcasting Corporation, said, “It is said that the media is the fourth pillar of democracy. Never was that statement truer than in the times we live in now.” She called it an honor to be serving IAPC, and added that she looked forward to furthering the principles of democracy alongside the rest of the IAPC leadership.

Zachariah, in his speech, said, “Our homeland India is known to have a vibrant, active and free media, which plays a very vital role in the functioning and growth of the largest democracy in the world. And we recognize that as members of the media we have an important role to play in our adopted land.”

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by prominent members of the community and leaders of different organizations including the Federation of Indian Associations, BAPS Swaminarayan, Long Island Association, American India Association, Xavier University, Shanti Fund etc.

A souvenir depicting the history and objectives of IAPC, edited by Parveen Chopra and Dr. Mathew Joys was released.

A visual presentation of the Nine Years of IAPC history was played and traditional and Bollywood dances by The Arya School of Dance provided entertainment. The event was also streamed on social media platforms.

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