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Cleveland International Hall of Fame
Class of 2020

Over 150 worthy candidates were nominated for the 2020 Class of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame. The selection committee was advised by previously inducted members of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame.

The Cleveland International Hall of Fame Class of 2020 consists of
(in alphabetical order) :

  • May Chen
  • Margaret Lynch
  • Valarie McCall
  • Ramesh Shah
  • Berj Shakarian
  • Joe Valencic
Since 2010, the Cleveland International Hall of Fame (CIHF) has inducted people who have made significant and lasting contributions to our multicultural society. Cleveland is home to people representing about 120 different ethnic groups. The CIHF exists not only to honor those special people but also to inspire a new generation of leaders to follow in their footsteps.

Covid-19 forced the always sold out (500+ people) induction ceremonies to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 so the Class is being inducted virtually.

In this video, CIHF co-founder Dan Hanson speaks about the inductions in front of the sign of the India Cultural Garden where Ramesh Shah is about to be inducted.

Dan points out that the Indian community is the only ethnic group with an inductee in every single class - Paramjit Singh, Vijaya Emani, Dr. Jaya Shah, Ratanjit Sondhe, Monte Ahuja, Shiv Aggarwal, Dr. Mohan Bafna, Mona Alag, Dr. Atal C. Mehta, Sree Sreenath and now Ramesh Shah.



Ramesh Shah was inducted by Federation of India Community Associations (FICA Cleveland) Board Chairman Sudarshan Sathe who congratulated Ramesh for his work on medical yatras with Association of Indian Physicians of Northern Ohio (AIPNO) and his work with the Indian and broader community.

Federation of India Community Associations (FICA Cleveland) Board Chairman Sudarshan Sathe gives award to Ramesh Shah

Federation of India Community Associations Board Chairman
Sudarshan Sathe gives award to Ramesh Shah


See some of Ramesh Shah’s humanitarian work with the Medical Yatras.

Inaugural CIHF inductee Paramjit Singh then welcomed Ramesh to the Hall of Fame and gave him his CIHF lapel pin.

Sudarsha Sathe, Ramesh Shah and Paramjit Singh

Sudarshan Sathe, Ramesh Shah and Paramjit Singh


Ramesh’s wife and CIHF inductee Dr. Jaya Shah spoke next followed by their son Baiju Shah.

Dr Jaya Shah, Ramesh Shah and Baiju Shah

Dr Jaya Shah, Ramesh Shah and Baiju Shah

Dr Jaya Shah, Ramesh Shah and Baiju Shah in front of Gandhi statue


Then Ramesh Shah told his fascinating story. Watch the video below of the induction and Ramesh Shah giving his acceptance speech – all under the watchful eye of Mahatma Gandhi.



Congratulations Ramesh Shah for your well-deserved induction into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame.

Sudarshan Sathe, Ramesh Shah, Jaya Shah, Paramjit Singh and Baiju Shah

Sudarshan Sathe, Ramesh Shah, Jaya Shah,
Paramjit Singh and Baiju Shah


Sudarshan Sathe, Ramesh Shah, Jaya Shah, Paramjit Singh and Baiju Shah in front of statue of Gandhi



Architect Berj Shakarian was inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame. Berj was the driving force behind the Armenian Cultural Garden in Cleveland as well as the Centennial Peace Plaza among other projects.

Cleveland Cultural Garden Federation president Dr. Wael Khoury introduced Berj and then previous inductee Paul Burik presented Berj and gave him his CIHF award and pin.

Cllick on the white arrow below to watch Berj be inducted and give his acceptance speech.



Berj Shakarian with CIHF Award

Berj Shakarian with CIHF Award

Berj Shakarian and Paul Burik

Berj Shakarian and Paul Burik

Berj Shakarian in front of the Plaza he helped create

Berj Shakarian in front of the Plaza he helped create




May Chen and her family immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong.

She started Asian Services in Action (ASIA Inc.) to advocate for immigrants, especially Asian American immigrants, and it has grown to be the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) focused health and social services 501(c)(3) organization in the State of Ohio. ASIA has taken on the most challenging tasks to help the underserved, low-income, and immigrant communities across the state.

Due to the Covid pandemic there could not be the usual Hall of Fame induction ceremony with 500 people attending so May Chen was inducted in the office of her longtime friend Margaret Wong who was an inductee in the inaugural class of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame in 2010.

Michael Byun, her successor as CEO of ASIA Inc., sent his congratulations from Seattle and then May Chen gave her inspiring acceptance speech.



May Chen inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame

May Chen inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame

Margaret Wong and May Chen

Margaret Wong and May Chen


Coming Soon - the other 3 inductees of the 2020 Class.



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