12th Annual ANMA/NASeA Joint Convention, 2016 Concludes Successfully
The twelfth Annual Joint Convention of the Association of Nepalese in Midwest America (ANMA) and the Nepalese Association of Southeast America (NASeA) was held in St. Louis, MO at the Union Station – a Double Tree by Hilton Hotel from September 2-4, 2016. The Greater St. Louis Nepali Chautari (GSTLNC), was the gracious host of the Joint Convention. This convention also marked the 35th Convention for ANMA and 25th Anniversary of NASeA.
The conference welcomed over 600 attendees from across America, St. Louis Bhutanese Nepali community members as well as visitors from Nepal and various parts of the world. The theme of the convention was “Nepali American Community, Preserve Our Culture and Identity” and its conclusion marked yet another validation of the concept of ANMA and NASeA, regional organizations, collaborating with local Nepali organizations in these undertakings and rendering Conventions into sought-after events by host cities in the presence of Nepali-Americans.
The formal opening Ceremony was on September 4th and featured Convention Chair, GSTLNC President Mr. Balram Panthi, NASeA President Mr. Bimal Nepal, ANMA President Mr. Sushil Raj Sharma, Chief Guest H.E. Ambassador Dr. Arjun Kumar Karki, Embassy of Nepal, and Member of Parliament of Nepal Mr. Ambar Bahadur Thapa as well as leaders and representatives of various Nepali and American organizations.
H.E. Ambassador Dr. Karki officially inaugurated the convention following the traditional lightening of the deep in panash.
H.E. extending his remarks during the convention, highlighted various task the Nepal Embassy has performed in the past and extended special thanks to all Nepali organizations, individuals and US nationals for providing financial support to collect fund for the catastrophic earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015. He informed that the Nepal Embassy to US has posted all the details of the pledged donation in the website. Furthermore, he added the US Embassy Task team during the convention is a perfect example for our extended services to outreach the non-resident Nepalis in US along with new mobile technology for MRP. He thanked ANMA, NASeA and GSTLNC leadership for requesting to bring Embassy services at your doorsteps and expressed that our Nepali community will benefit from this facility.
Convention Chair Mr. Panthi on behalf of the joint convention, welcomed the chief guest and all distinguished participants and expressed that this convention will keep the spirit of ANMA-NASeA joint convention to a different height.
ANMA President, Sharma highlighted some of the activities that ANMA was engaged during his tenure such as “Ek EkPaila”. Ek Ek Paila is an initiative by Dr. Suman Thapa, professor at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, and an acclaimed singer and songwriter from Nepal, for treating patients of remote areas of Nepal. He also thanked the core committee members, the coordinators and the residents of Greater St. Louis for their dedication, perseverance and hard work in making the convention a grand success.
NASeA President Mr. Nepal while welcoming the participants, highlighted the 12 years of togetherness in organizing the joint convention which has reinforced NASeA/ANMA joint commitment in best serving Nepali American community in this region and beyond. Furthermore, he invited everyone to be the part of NASeA Silver Jubilee 2016 special event organized during Dashain festival in Atlanta, GA on Saturday, October 8, 2016.
Various other dignitaries and representatives wished success to the Annual Joint Convention and praised for continued partnership of two organizations. Some of the representatives include Mr. Padam Biswokarma – President of ILNS, Mr. Nima Sherpa – Vice-President of BDA, Ms. Natasha Wozniak – Director of Funds for Lumjung, Mr. T. B. Karki – advisor of NRNA and Mr. Ron Sitoula – Vice Mayor of Town of Indian Head.
During the ceremony, ANMA and NASeA jointly awarded the token of appreciation to American citizen, Natasha Wozniak, who had a big heart to Nepal and Nepali people. Natasha is the Director of Funds for Lamjung and is leading the effort to rebuild Gurug village in Rainaskot, Lamjung.
A token of appreciation was awarded to Mr. Surya Thapa – Managing Director of White Himal for his continued support to ANMA and NASeA joint convention as a media partner.
ANMA General Secretary Mr. Bharat Kandel along with NASeA General Secretary Siva Bista and GSTLNC General Secretary Dilip Yogi conducted the Opening Ceremony. The culture program was conducted by MC Surya Thapa from White Himal TV and Sunita Gurung, a beauty pagent from Bhutanese Nepalese community in St. Louis.
Plenary and concurrent sessions commenced Saturday morning, and continued on into Sunday evening. Some were focused on Nepali heritage and language, like literary and poetry workshops and the cultural programs. Others dealt with the socio-economic transformation of Nepal such as the presentation on “Empowering Children in Nepal to Reach Their Potentials”, “Rebuilding Rainaskot” and “Changing Banking Industry and its importance in daily life”. Community needs and interests were addressed in sessions like “Health and Wellness, Youth Feud, Information Technology, Mobile Development, and Mobile Games, How to Raise Happy Children & Cultural Differences in Parenting and Women’s Empowerment and Domestic Violence. Most of the panels and forums were well attended.
“NASeA Services towards community 25 Years and beyond,” a special Forum was organized, in order to mark NASeA’s Silver Jubilee. Health Camp, Blood Donations, Talent show, Dharma session and children activities along with Volleyball and football were the main attractions of the Joint Convention.
The Tour Office setup by the Embassy of Nepal to help expedite visa and MRP along with other legal services was the first in the history of Joint Convention as well as the first in the history of Embassy.
The annual general meetings of ANMA and NASeA were also held along with reunion of various alumni organization such as Budhanilkantha School (SEBS). Biannual election of the ANMA executive was conducted with Mr. Bala Ghimire being announced as the new incoming President. Five members of ANMA board of trustees was also announced at the event.
Concert by renowned band of Nepal 1974AD on Saturday and cultural program on Sunday was open to unregistered participants and they swelled attendance considerably. The programs were replete with professional-quality performances from local amateurs.
Keeping the tradition alive, NASeA/ANMA joint convention 2017 host organization city was officially announced by NASeA during culture program on Sunday. The host organization for the 13th Annual Joint Convention 2017 will be Charlotte Nepali Coordinating Council (CNCC) of Charlotte, NC. The local representative of the host organization together with NASeA members invited all to participate to the 2017 convention in Charlotte, NC.
A big thank you goes to the Convention Chair and the President of the host organization Greater St. Louis Nepali Chautari (GSTLNC) Mr. Balram Panthi together with joint convention Co-Chairs and all the Coordinators along with members of GSTLNC and Nepali and Bhutanese communities of Greater city of St. Louis.
Last but not the least our special thank you goes to all media online or paper based, and TV journalists for their wide coverage of the joint convention news in US and around the world.
ANMA-NASeA-GSTLNC Joint Convention Secretariat
Bharat Kandel, General Secretary -ANMA
Shiva Bista, General Secretary- NASeA
Dilip Yogi, General Secretary/ GSTLNC