BHUBANESWAR, INDIA—The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI)’s 28th International Convention and Gala Awards Ceremony was held in the historic city of Bhubaneswar on Dec.23-24th 2019. The two-day event attracted awardees and delegates from across India and abroad. It is a testimony of the program’s success that it is being held continuously for the past twenty-eight years and AFMI’s message of educational empowerment strikes a chord with youth in far-flung places across India.
AFMI’s prestigious Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Award for Educational Excellence was given to Mr. Nurul Islam, Founder-Secretary of Al-Ameen Mission of Kolkata. Al-Ameen Mission is credited with producing more than 2400 doctors and 2500 engineers apart from thousands of other professionals.
The main draw of the convention was the gold, silver, and bronze medals and cash awards to toppers of class X and XII board exams from each state of India. A large number is students traveled with their parents from across India to receive their awards. The students appreciated the awards and vowed to continue the path of excellence.
Dr. AS Nakadar, AFMI’s founding trustee, in his remarks stated that the AFMI’s flagship awards program has a multiplying effect on young students and continues to be a source of inspiration for them in their quest for excellence. He stated that in education lies their salvation and that an educationally empowered community is vital for India’s progress.
Mateen of Karnataka received the fold medal for achieving 98.72% in the SSC board exams.
The convention, held at the spacious Railway Auditorium of Bhubaneswar, featured interactive sessions on educational challenges and opportunities for students in both India and abroad. Dr. Aslam Abdullah masterfully moderated the sessions.
Renowned journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani spoke on the important historical moment that India is currently going through which is inspired and led by youth and especially women. She expressed hope that this will mark a new beginning in the community and the nation.
Mr. Abdul Rahman, who recently resigned from the Indian Police Service in protest the Citizenship Amendment Act, also spoke at the convention. He called the CAA as discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Mr. Syed Tanwir, a convener of the convention, thanked AFMI for holding the convention in Odisha and said that such a gathering was held for the first time in the state’s history. He hoped that AFMI will continue to organize regional conventions in the state of Odisha in the future.
Mr. Siraj Thakore, AFMI’s current president, encouraged the students to continue their competitive spirit. He also touched on the educational opportunities available in Canada.
The souvenir being released at the convention.
Dr. Akber Mohammed (Springfield, Ohio), AFMI’s incoming president, urged the students to face challenges fearlessly and gave many examples from the history of people who overcame all odds to succeed. He gave his own example of how he grew up in a small town in Telangana and had to carry water home from a communal tap. Through dint of hard work and focus, he was able to complete his medical studies and did a fellowship at Harvard Medical School. He is now a successful cardiologist in Springfield, Ohio.
Dr. Hussain Nagamia (Tampa, Florida) in his presentation talked about the glorious heritage of Muslims in the advancement of medicine.
A session completely dedicated to former awardees was a big draw in which they shared their experiences and career paths. The youthful speakers in this session included: Abdul Hai Hazari (Pennsylvania), Dr. Nabeel A.K., Dr. Ibtisam Sahin, and Ms. Saba Anjum.
Other speakers included Mr. Ali Quraishi (New Mexico, USA), Mr. Mohammed Afroz (Toronto, Canada), Mr. Suhel Tirmizi (Editor, Gujarat Today), Mr. Mohammed Ayub Khan (Former Member of the Odisha Legislative Assembly), Mrs. Qamar Sultana Begum (Secretary of All Orissa Muslim Women’s Welfare Federation), Mr. Mamoon Akhtar (Samaritan Help Mission), Dr. Fakhruddin Mohammed ( Secretary, MESCO), Mrs. Manduha Majid (Member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board), among others.
Dr. Nakadar announced that next year’s convention will be held in Ahmedabad.
In addition to the International Conventions, regional conventions were also held in Ranchi, Delhi, and Mewat.