The Federation of India Community Associations (FICA) hosted the 63rd Republic Day of India celebration at the Embassy Suites in Independence. After a networking hour with delicious appetizers, FICA Vice-President Sangita Bafna welcomed the gathering.
Sangita introduced the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Ramesh Mirakhur.
Ken Kovach filled in and sang the US National Anthem and FICA Board Member Asim Datta sang the Indian Anthem.
Master of Ceremonies Ramesh Mirakhur introduced the Federation of India Community Associations (FICA) board members.
FICA President Mona Alag was next to speak.
FICA President Mona Alag
Two distinguished Chief Guests spoke. First, Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge.
Representative Marcia L. Fudge
The other Chief Guest was Ambassador Heather Hodges. Ambassador Hodges is President and Ambassador-in-Residence of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs.
Ambassador Heather Hodges
In her keynote address, Ambassador Hodges told the fascinating story of how she was recently "kicked out" of Ecuador because of Wikileaks documents. She was the first female US ambassador ever to be declared persona non grata.
Two outstanding and deserving people were presented with awards. The 2011 Exemplary Achievement Award was given to Raj Pillai.
The 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Paramjit Singh.