Trinidad’s Prime Minister guest of honor at the 30th India Day Parade in New York

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will be the guest of honor at the 30th India Day Parade to be held in New York City on Aug. 15, the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) announced.

Persad-Bissessar is the first woman prime minister of the Caribbean island nation. She will march alongside Bollywood actress Preity Zinta who will be the parade’s grand marshal, the FIA said in a press release July 31.

“We are delighted to have her as guest of honor this year and we celebrate her election to such a prestigious position in government of a great country.

This is yet another milestone that our community in North America should be proud of,” Nirav Mehta, president of FIA, was quoted as saying in the release.

Persad-Bissessar, whose ancestors came to Trinidad from India as indentured laborers some time between 1845 and 1917, led her coalition alliance to victory in that country’s general elections May 24.

Her People’s Partnership won 29 out of the 41 parliamentary seats, ending the ruling party’s 43 years in office.

The grandmother of two was a topper in law school, and did her masters in business administration and got a diploma in education from the University of the West Indies.

She was the nation’s first woman attorney general and also served as minister of legal affairs as well as minister of education.

The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut is one of the largest and most powerful umbrella organizations in the Indian community. It represents over 300,000 strong and vibrant Asian-Indians who provides significant grass root support. Established in the year 1970 the FIA has blossomed into a commendable organization that has become an effective mouthpiece and mobilizer for the community.

The FIA represents various issues that concern a growing Asian-Indian community at the local, state, and national levels. Over the ears, it has also tried to project a truthful and real image of India to the mainstream community and also further the interests of Indians residing in the United States. It is in this spirit that, since 1981, the annual India Day Parade is held in New York City to present our progress and unity to the many diversified ethnic communities in this area.

The FIA, in cooperation with the other Associations and other groups, successfully convinced the U.S. Congress to protect the interest of legal aliens and retain family reunification privileges. The Indian communities’
concern on various issues is continuously expressed by FIA to the government and to various politicians. The FIA has also had the privilege to honor and greet many dignitaries and diplomats on various occasions.

Although the FIA does engage in political activities, its main purpose is as a non-political organization.. It strives bard to protect and preserve the social, economical, cultural and religious needs of the Indian community.
Asian-Indians contributes much in making America a more beautiful a-rid diverse environment through our talents, intelligence, and work ethic.
Enterprising Indian professionals and business people are increasingly making a significant impact on this country’s economy. Politicians have frequently praised the dedication, devotion, determination and cooperative nature of the Indian people.

The FIA also celebrates India’s Republic Day every year with a Folk Dance Competition in January. Other events hosted by the FIA to help the community include a health fair and various seminars, to name a few. The FIA truly represents the aspirations and hopes of many Asian-Indians. Its member organizations are all very active in cultural, social, religious, educational, and regional areas.
These associations galvanize the community and strengthen our spirit through their various activities.

Each year, the elected officials and volunteers within the FIA continue to work hard to enhance the reputation and expand the horizons of the Federation. All activities are planned, discussed and implemented by the elected officials and a strong Board of Directors. Their commitment is what sets the foundation for all FIA activities, especially the Parade. However, ii is the hard work and dedication of numerous volunteers that allows each activity to be a success, The FIA appreciates this support and encourages more people to participate in the future.

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