Jain organization of North America elects new president

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Haresh Shah elected new President of JAINA. Photo: jaina.org

Haresh Shah of Wilmington, Delaware, the current first Vice President, has won the election for the Presidency of JAINA.

Shah will assume his two-year term as the President of JAINA on January 1, 2022, according to a press release from the organization.

The Federation of Jain Associations in North America or JAINA as it is popularly called, is an umbrella organization of 72 Jain Centers representing 150,000 members in the United States and Canada. Its mission is to preserve, practice, and promote Jain Dharma and the ‘Jain Way of Life.’

It was founded in 1981with guidance and blessings of Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji and Acharya Shri Sushil Muni, the press release said.

It is the largest organization of Jains outside India, and organizers say it represents Jains of all sects without the distinctions of sects, languages, or the region of their origin.

Shah, 56, was born in Mandvi, Kutch, and has been an active member of JAINA since 2005 serving as chair of the membership committee, regional V.P., Secretary, and the first V. P.

“He is a visionary leader, committed to the unity of Jains and keenly interested in encouraging meaningful participation of younger generation,” the press release said.

He was most recently the convener of the 2021 JAINA convention – the first global online event attended by 15,000 Jains from 21 countries.

As President, he has promised to make JAINA more of a service organization, and plans to create a National Mentoring Program for Jains to share with their local community “their greatest asset – education by volunteering to teach disadvantaged youth.”

Shah also has a plan to help an estimated 800 newly arriving Jain students for higher education from India by reaching out to them early on.

His new team of Executive Committee members includes Bindesh Shah of Florida as the first V. P., Atul Shah of Chicago as the secretary, and Ketu Sheth of Florida as the treasurer.

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