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San Diego Indian American Society

San Diego Indian American Society

Highlights of its activities

Los Angeles, July 25, 2015

San Diego Indian American Society was founded on January 14, 1984 by Professor M.C. Madhavan with the support of Arjun and Judy Waney, Maneck and Harriet Wadia, Harry Singh Jr and others in the Indian American community

Since its inception, about 600 Mahatma Gandhi memorial scholarships up to $2,000 each, were awarded to outstanding San Diego Area high school graduates irrespective of national origin along with the Congressional Certificate of recognition provided by Congressman Bob Filner and now by Congressman Juan Vargas.

 Since 2005, the Society also supports 4 to 7 AVID scholars every year from families with no college education. About 60 such scholarships of $4,000 each were given under this program.

 Scholarships are almost entirely funded by people of India origin. In 2014, SDIAS awarded scholarships amounting to $45,000.

 Every year since 2004, the Society organizes Unity in Diversity Cultural festival in Poway Center for Performing Arts, attended by over 700 people. Each year we honor a chief Guest for his or her contribution to human development. This year Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok, Consul General in San Francisco is the Chief Guest and Ms. Nimmi Raj, Editor, India Journal is guest of honor.

 Every year Mahatma Gandhi memorial lecture was delivered by world class scientists, diplomats, public policy experts and elected officials. Inaugural lecture was delivered by Dr. Jonas Salk, Polio Vaccine inventor and founder of Salk Institute (see for details). Most of the Indian Ambassadors to the United States have delivered this lecture during the last 32 years. Roger Revelle, Herb York, Ravi Shankar, Dr. C.K. Prahalad, Dr. Inder Verma, Dr. Ramanathan are some of the others who delivered Mahatma Gandhi memorial lectures. The 30th annual Mahatma Gandhi lecture was delivered by Third Indian American Congressman in history, Congressman Dr. “Ami” Bera on July 20, 2013, and the 31st Memorial lecture by Dr. William Brody, President, Salk Institute on July 27, 2014. These lectures are held in UCSD Calit2 auditorium since 2006.

 The silver Jubilee memorial lecture was held on February 14, 2009 at 3.00PM in UCSD Atkinson Hall. Professor Raj Mohan Gandhi, one of Gandhiji’s grandsons and a professor at University of Illinois delivered the memorial lecture and Mr. Arun Gandhi, another grandson and a well recognized peace activist and founder of Total Non-violence Institute presided.

 We have honored 9 very distinguished people in the world with Chakra Awards for their monumental contribution to humankind. These people are:  Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen of Harvard; Bharat Ratna Pundit Ravi Shankar; Maestro Zubin Mehta; Sound System pioneer Dr. Amar Bose; Mr. Arjun Waney, “Raja of Rag trade” and small business pioneer; Dr. John Kapoor, entrepreneur; Yogananda Paramahamsa, Founder of Self-Realization Fellowship; Congressman Dalip Singh Saund, First Congressman of Asian descent; and Harry Singh, Pioneer farmer of San Diego county.

 Every Year in October , we organize Diwali, Festival of Lights in Balboa Park attended by about 10,000 people and this has become a city-wide event enjoyed by San Diegans. Exhibition of large lamps from different parts of India, unique cultural program and India food court are hallmarks of this event

 We have organized over 85 seminars and symposia on various subjects by very outstanding world class experts. After a lapse few years, this program has been restarted in October 2013.

 We are introducing this year a new program to involve younger members of the community to present their research and significant community development work. These programs will be held every quarter in October, January, April and July in Carmel Valley Public Library from 5.45 PM to 7.45PM

 We have supported 27 projects in India benefitting high schools and colleges in Punjab, Gujarat, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, and Bihar, as well as an eye hospital in Orissa, and community development projects in Gujarat and Tamilnadu. We have supported two projects in San Diego. We have also occasionally supported deserving students of India origin both at undergraduate and graduate levels.

 Programs in 2009

 Annual Unity in Diversity program, a very popular cultural program encompassing entire India, was held on March 29, 2009 in Poway Center for Performing Arts at 3.00PM. Dr. V. Ramanathan, Distinguished world re-known Atmospheric Science professor at Scripps Institute of Oceanography was the Chief Guest. Over 700 people enjoyed the event

 The 26th Annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial lecture and awards ceremony was held on July 12, 2009 in UCSD California Institute of Technology auditorium. Ambassador of India Meera Shankar delivered the Mahatma Gandhi memorial lecture while Professor C.K. Prahalad chaired the event. Chancellor Mary Anne Fox welcomed the gathering. This was followed by a dinner in honor of Ambassador Shankar.

 Second Annual Festival of lights was held in Balboa Park on October 25, 2009 in association with Mingei International Museum and San Diego Museum of Art. Over 3,000 people attended the event.

 Programs in 2010

 On February 5, 2010, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Daisaku Ikeda world Peace exhibition was held in San Diego State University Library, organized by Morehouse College. Professor M.C. Madhavan was honored with a celebratory tribute and Gandhi King Ikeda distinguished Community Builder Award and Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Medal by Martin Luther King International Chapel in Atlanta

Annual Unity in Diversity 2010 was held on March 14, 2010 in Poway Center for Performing Arts. Ms. Preeti Gandhi, well known Soprano was the chief guest.

 The 27th Annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial lecture was delivered by Secretary Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Department of State will deliver the lecture in July 2010.

Third Annual Festival of Lights was held in association with Mingei International Museum and San Diego Museum of Art  on October 24, 2010 in Balboa Park. About 5,000 people attend the event. Professor Martha Longenecker, Congress woman Susan Davis and Mrs. Sally Thornton were guests of honor. Over 5,000 people from almost every community in greater San Diego enjoyed the celebration.

 Programs in 2011

 On January 6, 2011, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin presented its Global Community Award to Dr. M.C. Madhavan in New Delhi in recognition of his outstanding community service to the people of USA and India

 Unity in Diversity 2011 was held on March 13, 2011 and Professor Suresh Subramani, first Executive Vice-chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of California, San Diego was the Chief Guest.

 June 26, 2011; 28th Annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture and Awards. Distinguished professor and Neuroscientist Dr. V.S. Ramachandran delivered the Mahatma Gandhi memorial lecture

 October 23, 2011: The Fourth Annual Diwali: Festival of Lights in Balboa Park. About 6,000 people attended the event

  Program in 2012

 March 18, 2012: Unity in Diversity at 3.00PM in Poway Center for Performing Arts; Dr. Gregory Lucier, Chairman and CEO, Life Technologies was the chief guest.

 June 21, 2012: 29th Annual Mahatma Gandhi memorial lecture by Ambassador Nirupama Rao delivered the Gandhi memorial address

 October 21:  The Fifth Annual Diwali: Festival of Lights in Balboa Park

 Program in 2013

 March 16, 2013: Unity in Diversity annual program at 3.00PM in Poway Center for Performing Arts. Dr. Pradeep Khosla, 8th Chancellor of University of California San Diego was the Chief Guest. This year we included arts and music from other Asian countries

 July20, 2013; Thirtieth Annual Mahatama Gandhi memorial lecture was delivwered by Congressman Dr. “Ami” Bera in UCSD Calit2 auditorium

 October 1, 2013: Quarterly Lecture by Bipin Junnarker on Demystification of College admission process in Carmel Valley Public Library

 October 26, 2013: Sixth Annual Diwali - Festival of Lights was held in Balboa Park. Over 8,000 people enjoyed the festival and cultural programs

 Program in 2014

 January 21, 2014: Quarterly lecture on Indian national security by Maneesh Shankar Sharma, Inspector General of Police, India. Dr. Dipak Gupta, Distinguished professor of Political Science and Peace Studies, San Diego State University will chair

 March 30, 2014: Eleventh Annual Unity in Diversity program, held in Poway Center for Performing Arts was attended by over 650 people. Ambassador N. Parthasarathy, Consul General of India in San Francisco was the chief guest.

 July 27, 2014: Dr. William Brody, Physician-entrepreneur- Academic  Leader and President of Salk Institute delivered a memorable Thirty First Annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture in Calit2 auditorium, UCSD. A record number of 23 very outstanding students were honored as Mahatma Gandhi scholars and 6 talented AVID scholars were also recognized.

 October 18, 2014: Seventh Annual Diwali, Festival of Lights was held in Balboa Park. Over 10,000 people enjoyed this cultural program.

 November 16, 2014: Dr. Madhavan was honored as one of the Local “Heros” of San Diego by KPBS and Union Bank

 Programs in 2015:

 March 1, 2015: Quarterly Lecture – Demonstration, Using Technology for Social Welfare: Loves with Limbs, Meghna Reddy, Carmel Valley Public Library

 March 29, 2015:  Twelfth Annual Unity in Diversity: Festival of World Dances, Poway Center for Performing Arts, Chief Guest: Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok. Dancers representing Ireland and Korea, drummers from Korea and Africa and uniquely choreographed dances from different parts of India will be featured.

 June 27, 2015: 32nd Annual Mahatma Gandhi memorial lecture and awards will be held in UCSD Atkinson Hall. About 15 outstanding high school graduates will be recognized as Mahatma Gandhi scholars and about 6 as AVID scholars.

 October 17, 2015: Eighth annual Diwali, Festival of Lights will be held in Balboa Park

 November 27, 2015: A new program, Come Home San Diego, will be introduced this year to provide an opportunity for former San Diegans of India origin to reminisce on their San Diego days. This will be a Fun Program. We need your help. Please contact Madhavan at