Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center
This is the internet version of the Kerala Center News letter. Vol.8 , 2001
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The Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center has announced the recipients of its annual awards, which will be presented on November 17th evening at the Kerala Center at Elmont in Long Island, New York. This year’s awardeess are Keralites who have been selected for their outstanding recognition in their fields as well as for philanthropy and community service. Special recognition awards will be presented to four police officers of New York Police Department. . The Guest of Honor at the Award Night is India's Consul General Shahshi Tripathi. The keynote address will be delivered by well-known writer Dr. Shashi Tharoor, who is head of the Dept. of Public Information at the United Nations. The list of awardees was announced by the Center's Chairman of Board of Directors Dr. Thomas Abraham. This year's entertainment include Flamingo Dance by well known New York troupe. For tickets and information, call 516-358-2000. The following are the awardees:

Click on the names to read details

Dr. Geroge Thottam

Dr. Prem Menon

Dr. Chirakkal V. Krishnan

Jyoti Thottam

Andrew Pappachen

Dr. Shashi Tharoor

Theresa Sebastian

Mohan Rajan

Stanley George

Rinu K. Rajan

Thomas Anthony


Dr. Prem Menon is Director of Asthma and Allergy Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A graduate of Calicut medical College, Dr. Menon came to the U.S. in 1980. Aside his medical profession, Dr. Menon has been involved in several philanthropic activities.

Dr. Menon started an Asthma clinic in Cochin supported almost exclusively from his own personal funds directed through the philanthropic organization Care and Share. The clinic has been serving a substantial number of Asthma patients in the Cochin area. Dr. Menon donated equipment for management of Asthma in different medical college hospitals in Kerala.

Dr. Menon made in a major contribution leading to the visit of Mayo Clinic delegation to Kerala to intiate discussion on the establishment of the Indian Institute of Diabetes based in Kerala. Since then, Dr. Menon became the Vice-Chair of the Board of the World-India Diabetes Foundation. Dr. Menon has also contributed to philanthropy activities in Baton Rouge area. He belies in what Mother Theresa appropriately advised, "Find your own Calcutta."

Dr. George Thottam - EDUCATION

Dr. George Thottam is professor and Dean, College of Communication, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey. He is third non-American and the first Asian to be named dean of a school or college of Communication in the United States. He is also the president elect of the Association of the Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (ASJMC), an international organization with members from seven countries. He will serve as president next year. He is the first person of foreign origin to be elected president of the association. In August 2000, Dr. Thottam was awarded the prestigious Freedom Forum Journalism Teacher of the Year Award, known as the Pulitzer of Journalism Education. The award consisted of a medal and $10,000. He was the first non-Caucasian to win the award.

From 1979 to 2000, Dr. Thottam was a member of the Department of Mass Communication at Iona College, New Rochelle, NY. He was department chair and graduate program director for years. Under his leadership, the Department of Mass Communication became the largest academic unit of the College and its No. 1 flagship program.

Thottam holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication and three master's degrees including an MS in Journalism from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He is former newspaper reporter and correspondent and the author of four books, three book chapters and over 550 bylined newspaper and magazine articles.

Dr. C. V. Krishnan– EDUCATION

Dr. C.V. Krishnan has been a teacher with East Islip High School, Long Island since 1971. Dr. Krishnan has been teaching AP Chemistry, NY Regents Chemistry and Physics, General Chemistry, Physical Science, Fundamental so Science and Sports Science. He has also been teaching at State University of New York at Stony Brook and has served as the Director of week-long Woodrow Wilson Foundation TORCH Teacher Institutes.

Educated in India with B.Sc. at University of Madras and M.Sc and Ph.D. University of Bombay, Dr. Krishnan is a also visiting professor of chemistry and director of Chemical Education Resource Center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His professional career has taken him from Bhabha Atomic Research Center (Mumbai, India) to Brookhaven National Laboratory (Upton, NY).

Dr. Krishnan is also an instructor in several continuing education program for professional development at State University of New York at Stony Brook and at Princeton University. Dr. Krishnan has received numerous outstanding teacher awards from various institutions and organizations.

Jyoti Thottam – JOURNALISM

Jyoti Thottam is a reporter at ON Magazine, a new technology magazine owned by Time Inc. ON, which was previously known as Time Digital, is a paper magazine, published monthly. Jyoti covers all things digital.

In January 2001, Jyoti was elected president of the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA). As president, she is in charge of one of the nation's most dynamic and largest journalists associations. Before joining ON in March 2000, Jyoti wrote about Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the world, for the Times/Ledger Newspapers. She has been honored for her work by the Inland Press Foundation, the Suburban Newspaper Association, and a series she directed on the impact of school overcrowding in Queens won 1st Place for in-depth reporting from the New York Press Association.

A graduate of Yale University (BA, 1993), Jyoti she has been maintaining an interest in the political economy and religions of South Asia. Her first job after college was working as a reporter for American City Business Journals in northern Florida, where she covered manufacturing and the regional economy. From there, she went to graduate school at Columbia, earning a master's degree in international affairs in 1997. After graduate school, she went to India, Thailand and Nepal, traveling and writing as a freelancer before coming back to New York in 1998. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, Christian Science Monitor, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, Voice of America radio, City Limits and Himal magazine. Jyoti is also the director of the New York screenings of Himal's "Travelling Film South Asia" documentary film festival, which she has organized since 1998.

Andrew pappachen -- COMMUNITY SERVICE

Andrew Pappachen has been a very active community worker for the past 25 years. He has gotten involved in Asian, Indian and Malayalee community activities. He is one of the founding patrons of Kerala Center and held the positions of President, Vice President and Board member. He is one of the founders of World Malayalee Council and currently holds the position of Global President.

Andrew is one of the founding members of Asian American Political Coalition and held the positions of President and Vice president. He has received the pioneer award form Asian American Political Coalition. He is one of the founding members of FOKANA and was the committee chair for the first Kerala convention in 1983 in New York. He is a founding member of Kerala Association of New Jersey and currently an advisory board member.

Andrew has also been involved in the Indian community activities. He has been a Board member of Federation of Indian Associations, New York and a board member of National Federation of Indian Associations. Andrew has been twice the president of Newark Festival of People, a community organization in New Jersey. He has been a member of New Jersey State Arts Council advisory board. Andrew has been active in politics and been a Democratic Party County committee member.

An environmental engineer by profession, Andrew works as the Manager of Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation. He has published several papers on water treatment technology. He is married to Somini who is a Nurse and has two children Simmy and Kevin

Dr. Shashi Tharoor – ARTS and LETTERS

Born in London, Shashi Tharoor was educated in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi (BA in History, St. Stephen's College), and the United States (he got his PhD at the age of 22 from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University). Since 1978, he has worked for the United Nations, serving with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, whose Singapore office he headed during the "boat people" crisis. Since October 1989, he has been a senior official at UN HQ in New York, where, until late 1996, he was responsible for peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia. From January 1997 to July 1998, he was executive assistant to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In July 1998, he was appointed director of communications and special projects in the office of the Secretary-General. In January 2001, he was appointed by the Secretary-General as interim head of the Dept. of Public Information.

Tharoor is the author of numerous articles, short stories and commentaries in Indian and Western publications, and the winner of several journalism and literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers' Prize. His books include Reasons of State (1982) a scholarly study of Indian foreign policy; The Great Indian Novel (1989), a political satire; The Five-Dollar Smile & Other Stories (1990); and a second novel, Show Business (1992), which received a front-page accolade from The New York Times Book Review. His previous book India: From Midnight to the Millennium was published on the 50th anniversary of India's independence. On August 13, 2001 Penguin Book (India) published Tharoor's latest novel Riot. The US edition was published by Arcade on September 28, 2001.

Theresa Sebastian – NURSING

Theresa Sebastian is Assistant Director of Nursing at Terence Cardinal Cook H.C. Center in New York city. Earlier, Theresa worked Harlem Hospital Center, Florence Nightingale Nursing Home, American Nursing Home and Beth Israel Medical Center. After completing nursing education in Irwin Hospital in New Delhi, Theresa completed further studies at Marymount Manhattan College and Long Island University.

In 1990, Theresa initiated Indian American Nurses Association and served as its president for seven years and opening chapters in eight states. These efforts culminated into the First Global Convention Indian Nurses held in New York in 1995. In 1993, Theresa took the issue of starting an examination center for CGFNS with Govt. of India during Second Global Convention of People of Indian Origin held in New Delhi.

In 1999, Theresa was appointed as a member of the State Board of Nursing under New York State Education Department and is expected to serve in this position till 2004.


Rinu K Rajan moved to America with his parents when was 14. After graduating from Hofstra University with a major in International Business and a minor in Chemistry, Rinu joined the NYC Police Academy and graduated in February of 2000 after seven months of training. Earlier Rinu worked for Royal Air Morac and for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Currently, he is a New York City Police Officer working in Transit District 34 in Brooklyn, New York.

After terrorist attack on September 11, Rinu was fulfilling his regular duties in addition to spending most other hours at ground zero in rescue efforts. He voluntarily reported to the site of the disaster immediately after his shift, working there as part of a human chain removing rubble one bucket at a time for up to six hours before going home for a quick shower and a couple of hours of sleep. Indeed, helping people is the reason he cites for getting into law enforcement to begin.


Stanley George is a Sergeant with the New York Police Department. Stanley joined as an accountant with NYPD in 1989. However, he became a police officer in 1992. Stanley has been working at the Police Headquarters all these years. He was the commanding officer of the Police Equipment section. On Septmebr 10th, he took over a new position at NYPD's Criminal Justice Burean conducting research and planning. However, as soon as the WTC tragedy happened, Stanley's unit was assigned to the building adjacent to the WTC. Stanley was actively invovled in rescue operation and remove and guard several dead bodies from the debris. In the next few weeks, Stanley workedat NYPD's Command and Control Division.


Mohan Rajan is a Sergeant at the New York Police Department. Mohan came to America with his parents at a very young age. Joined the police department in 1990 and is currently assigned to Patrol Boro, Manhattan South. World Trade Center was located in Mohan's area of work. Immediately after the WTC tragedy, Mohan was assigned to Police Department's Command and Control Cente. Responsibilities included gathering information from the field and disseminate to the Board of Chiefs and further disseminate any of their decisions to the field officers.


Thomas joined the New York City police department in 1990. In 1998 he was promoted to the position of a sergeant. Thomas joined the Woodmere Fire Dept. as a volunteer in 1996 at the age of 19. In 1998 he was promoted to the position of a Captain. Thomas works in the Special Operation Division (SOD) which is the homeless unit. On the day of the World Trade Center tragedy, Thomas was at the scene and escaped with no injury. During the weeks following the attacks, Thomas worked as a liaison with NYPD and the Fire Department coordinating the rescue and recovery effort. Since his young days Thomas has been a hard working, selfless and a dedicated person who enjoyed his work and service to the community.


Elmont Computer Training Institute (ECTI)
@ Kerala Center

Phone: (516) 358 1200

J. J. Entertainments
@ Kerala Center

Phone: (516) 358 7120