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iForum – Calling Indian Americans to political action

By Vidya Pradhan

While Indian Americans have been quick to form groups that deal with the social, cultural and economic implications of being in the diaspora, there is one important aspect where we have lagged behind. Politically, our involvement has been mostly relegated to fund-raising for our candidates and making disparate attempts at having our voice heard with respect to Indo-American relations; this, despite the fact that our affluence and education labels us a model minority group in the US.

Started with the mission of encouraging and empowering Indian Americans in politics, iForum (previously known as the Indo-American Council) is a non-partisan organization that attempts to remedy this state of affairs. An inaugural conference in October 2007 invited prominent members of the Indian American community, from elected officials to entertainers, to speak about their experience with politics and offer suggestions on how to participate in the political process. That conference was a huge success with over 600 attendees. 

This year's conference takes advantage of the charged political climate of the primaries and features representatives from the Obama, Clinton and McCain campaigns elaborating on the theme of Indo-US relations. A panel discussion with distinguished guests like Prof. Sumit Ganguly and Ray Vickery is also included.

WNI spoke with Kamil Hasan and Talat Hasan, two of the trustees of iForum. Kamil Hasan, who is a charter Member of TiE, also happens to be a superdelegate to the Democratic convention in August this year. Talat Hasan, who is a Trustee of AIF and a charter member of TiE, is also the Chair, Board of Trustees, of the India Community Center. Continue reading