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Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center
This is the internet version of the Kerala Center News letter. Vol.7 , 2002
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The Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center ( will honor seven Indian Americans for their outstanding achievements in their field of specialization or for their service to the society. The awardees will be honored at Kerala Center's annual banquet on Saturday, November 16th at 6.30 p.m. at the Kerala Center, 1824 Fairfax St., Elmont, NY 11003. The chief guest is Indian Consul General Pramathesh Rath and the keynote speaker is Prof. P. Somasundaran of Columbia University who will speak on the topic, "Leading Kerala to the Forefront of Science and Technology." Entertainment for the evening will be provided by Angel's Orchestra. Kerala Center has also scheduled a panel discussion on "Kerala's Development - How Can We Help?" at 5 p.m. on the same day. The admission to panel discussion is free. The following are the awardees:

Click on the names to read details

Anand Jon

Dr. Jacob Eapen

Tony Devassy


Rajeshwar Prasad

Gopalan Nair

Kavita Menon

Dr. Thomas Thundat

Tony Devassy (Chicago, IL) - PHILANTHROPY

Tony Devassy has done an enormous amount of social service work for the poor, underprivileged and those who are ill in the US and India, mostly in Kerala, though the organization Care and Share which he had founded in 1990 and serves as its president. Care and Share now provides food and clothing to the homeless in the Chicago area in addition to free eyeglasses to the needy. In India, Care and Share extends financial support to various orphanages, institutions for the mentally retarded, asthma care clinics, and other medical services to the poor. In recognition of his community service, Devassy's employer American Express honored him with Great Citizen Award in 2000.

Kavitha Menon( (New York, NY) -- Journalism D

Kavita Menon is the Asia program coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), one of the world's most influential press freedom groups. Menon has led CPJ missions to countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka-working to build international pressure on governments to improve press conditions. CPJ's campaigning has helped to get censorship restrictions lifted in Sri Lanka and to discourage the military government in Pakistan from undertaking an overt crackdown on the press. Menon also works to ensure that when journalists are killed in the course of their work, these murders get the attention they deserve. Menon has appeared as a guest on television programs produced by the BBC, CNN, and the CBC, and is regularly heard discussing press freedom issues on Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America. Her op-eds have been published in newspapers ranging from The International Herald Tribune to The News of Pakistan to The Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Jacob Eapen (Fremont, CA) - Medical and Health Services

With an MBBS degree from Trivandrum Medical College and pediatric training at CMC, Ludhiana, Dr. Eapen became the Director of Pediatric Unit of the Agha Khan Hospital in Dar-Es-Salam. After completing a MPH degree at UC-Berkely, Dr. Eapen was appointed to a challenging job by the UN High commissioner for Refugees as the health advisor to Philippines. In 1990, Dr. Eapen was appointed Director for Research and Public Health Programs at International Health Services , Mountain View, CA which has been developing low-cost diagnostic kits for us in developing countries. Dr. Eapen also conducted a USAID-supported clinical trial in India on a simple device to test tuberculosis. At a later date, as Director of International Affairs of the Agency, Stop Aids Worldwide (SAW), Dr. Eapen met Mother Theresa in Calcutta to promote the work of this organization in India. Dr. Eapen further completed a Pediatrics program as Stanford University and served as public heath commissioner of County of Alameda, and medical director of Tiburzio Vasquez Community Health Center at Union City, California. Dr. Eapen has been honored by Stanford medical School as one of the 40 outstanding Stanford Medical alumni selected from 7000 graduates. Currently serving as a pediatrician, Dr Eapen has received several commendations from US Congressmen and Mayors of Oakland and Newark.

Dr. Thomas Thundat (Oak Ridge, TN) - Applied Sciences

Dr. Thomas Thundat is distinguished scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN. At the national laboratory, Dr. Thundat discovered sensitive technique of detecting adsorption-induced surface stress and pioneered the development of a novel class of physical, chemical, and biological sensors based on adsorption-induced force. Dr. Thudat has also developed a scanning probe technique for biological imaging and an x-ray standing wave technique for analyzing electrochemical interfaces. In 2001, Dr. Thundat was selected to receive the technological innovation award by Discover Magazine for his work in developing a landmine detection device. A graduate of State University of New York in Albany, Thundat has published over 130 papers and 5 book chapters along 11 patents with an additional 7 pending.

Rohan Krishnamurthy (Kalamazoo, MI) -
Special Recognition as Percussion Prodigy in Performing Arts

Fifteen year old Rohan Krishnamurthy began learning the Mridangam at the age of eight. Krishnamurthy has performed in many concerts in the US and India as an accompanist for several top notch artists. He has played for four consecutive years during the celebrated December Music Season in Chennai organized by prestigious organizations. A resident of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Krishnamurthy has performed at the famous Ann Arbor theatre "The Ark." He has received several awards and press and peer reviews including one from Bharat Ratna M.S. Subhalakshmi who said "You play without any mistake. Your skills are well beyond your age. I am amazed that you have gathered enough skills to play concerts in such a short time."

Gopalan Nair (Queens, NY) -
Special Recognition Award for Management Excellence in Public Transportation system

Gopalan K. Nair is a Superintendent, New Train Technology, in the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), New York City Transit. With a masters Degree in Engineering (Transportation), Nair joined the New Technology Group in its early formation. Nair was involved in technology solutions starting from the preliminary design reviews to the successful integration of the new Technology Trains in passenger service. Moving through ranks at MTA for 22 years, Nair has degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Organization Management. Nair is a recipient of the Advanced Institute of Transportation Engineers Scholar Award (1997), and has done extensive research on intelligent Transportation systems.

Rajeshwar Prasad (Farmingville, NY) -
Special Recognition Award for Service to the Community and Kerala Center

Rajeshwar Prasad has been in the field of health and human services planning, implementation and administration for about 30 years in USA, and about 15 years in India. Prasad has worked in executive positions in a number of nonprofit agencies in New York. He has served as volunteers and/or officer of Long Island's United Way, India Association of Long Island, GOPIO, Center for Prejudice Reduction of American Jewish Congress, FIA-New York and Long Island chapter American Public Health Association. In 1999, Prasad was appointed as a Human Rights Commissioner for the Suffolk County and recently re-appointed as commissioner till 2004. He has been recently selected to serve as founder member on the Advisory Board of the Social Justice Center of the School of Social Welfare at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York. He has been instrumental in taking a leading role in the creation and development of National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) which is housed at the Kerala Center and serves as its President.

Anand Jon -- Fashion Design

Anand Jon graduated from Parsons School of Design, in New York City, in 1998, penetrated the luxury market. Anand Jon developed a passion for metals and fabrics growing up in the Southern part of India, under the tutelage of master artisans and his grandmother.After receiving an associate degree at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jon joined Parsons where he became known for showcasing limited edition adornments and jewelry in cutting edge presentations. In 1998 at the age of 24, Anand Jon launched the Amazone collection - his Spring '99 debut at Fashion Week, New York City. Within three years since his debut, Anand Jon has steadily ascended, taking center stage in the luxury fashion world with his riveting women's evening wear collections available at only the most exclusive. He has steadily ascended, attracting a high-profile client base of celebrities, royalty and socialites originating in New York and expanding to worldwide. Some of his accomplishments are as follows: Winner of Fashion Week of the America's "International New Star" Designer 2002 Selected as one of the Top 12 new fashion brands in the world by InStyle Europe Oprah Winfrey - Picked as one of the top designers of the Millennium / NYC 2000 "Faces of the Future: Leaders of the New Millennium" by India Today Youngest designer selected by NYC Mayor Giuliani for the prestigious NYC 2000 Event Host of Iceland Fashion Week with Patricia Field, 2002 Judge for Miss India 2002 Sponsored by Giorgio Armani and Jaguar


Elmont Computer Training Institute (ECTI)
@ Kerala Center

Phone: (516) 358 1200

J. J. Entertainments
@ Kerala Center

Phone: (516) 358 7120