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Kerala Center to Honor Eight at Awards Banquet

The Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center ( will honor eight Indian American Malayalees for their outstanding achievements in their field of specialization or for their service to the society. The awardees will be honored at Kerala Center's annual banquet on Saturday, November 12th at 6.00 p.m. at the Kerala Center, 1824 Fairfax St., Elmont, NY 11003. The chief guest is Indian Consul General Neelam Deo and the keynote speaker is Dr. Abraham George, Founder and Chairman of The George Foundation. Dr. George, who is a philanthropist, educationist and developmental activist, will speak on the topic, “Opportunities for the Younger Generation to Participate in India’s Development.” Other guests for the evening will include political leaders from Long Island and Deputy Consul General of India in New York Mr. Ashok Tomar, who will soon join as India’s Ambassador to Panama. An entertainment and mega show is planned for the evening by Knanaya Social Club. Tickets for banquet can be reserved by contacting Kerala Center at 516-358-2000 or e-mail at This year’s awardees are as follows:

Anthony Thaliath (Atlanta, GA) – Community Service

Antony Thaliath has been actively involved in the Indian American community activities for the last fifteen years. He is the Deputy Executive Director of Gandhi Foundation USA, which was responsible for the installation of Gandhi statue at the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta. 

Thaliath also serves as a vice president of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) and is also President of Atlanta-India Lions Club. In 1996, Thaliath served as VP of Indo-American Host Committee for 1996 Olympic Games and in 2000 as president of Greater Atlanta Malayali Association. A board member of Care and Share of Chicago, Thaliath accompanied President Clinton on his India visit in March 2000. Thaliath is currently president of Taliath Investments and American Software Consultants, is married to Lizy and has two children, Hormis and Lucy.

Dr. Pulickel M. Ajayan (Troy, NY) – Engineering
Dr. Pulickel Ajayan is Henry Burlage Professor of Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. A pioneer in nanotechnology, Ajayan has been one of key figures in the development of carbon nanotube technologies. He is a well-known materials researcher in areas of nanomaterials, electron microscopy, and nanocomposites. 

Ajayan has authored or co-authored more than 175 publications, two books, and his work has received more than 6000 citations. He is on the editorial boards of several materials and nanotechnology journals. Ajayan has won several awards such as the Burton medal from the Microscopy Society of America, The Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, The senior research award from RPI, the National Science Foundation CAREER proposal award and the Hadfield gold medal for his B.Tech. (Metallurgical Engineering) at Banaras Hindu University. He hails from Kodungallur in Kerala and is married to Poornima Ajayan and has two daughters, Anakha and Ahi.

Jayan K.C (Jayan Kalappurakal Cherian ) (Queens, NY) – Literature

Published three collections of poetry in Malayalam Ayodhanaththinte Achuthantu’ (Axis of Combat), (1996), “Ayanam vachana rekhayil” (Journey on the line of verse) (1999) and 'Polymorphism' (2002). Studied poetry and attended workshops under eminent American poets like William Pitt Root, Jan Heller Levy, Gail Wronsky and Rodger Kamanetz in various universities. 
Participated in Western Michigan University’s Prague Summer Poetry Workshop at Charles University, Prague, with John Woods Scholarship in 2005.

 Received many Awards for Poetry such as, Kerala Sahitya Academy Kanakasri Endowment Award for “Ayanam vachana rekhayil” 2002. Mathan Tharakan Award for “Ayodhanathinte Achuthantu”(Axis of Combat) 1996, by Mathan Tharakan Trust, Pathanamthitta , Kerala, India, Malayalam Pathram Award 1996-97 by Chacko publications of New York, Federation of Kerala Associations in North America (FOKANA) Seventh International Convention Award for poetry in 1996 and FOKANA award for the poem 'Bhoomiyute Hrudayam' (The heart of Earth) in 1994 in Toronto, Canada. 

Dr. Lizzy Kappen, (Boston, MA) – Health Sciences

Dr.Lizzy Kappen is the Principal Research Associate in the department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. She was born in Thodupuzha, received BSc. and MSc. degrees from Kerala University and received her PhD. in Biochemistry from Indian Institute Of Science, Bangalore. 

In 1973 she joined Harvard Medical School as an Instructor in Pharmacology and since then has been working with Dr.Irving Goldberg doing basic research on the Molecular Mechanisms of Drug Action, mainly antitumor drugs. She has authored over 40 publications and co-authored 11 books on the subject. She is single and is the sister of Advocate Cyriac Kappen (late)of Chicago.

Dr. Thomas Kodenkandath (North Grafton, MA) – Special Recognition

Dr. Thomas Kodenkandath (Thommy) is being recognized for his extraordinary combination of talents as an outstanding Scientist and gifted Cartoonist. He is the Principal Scientist at American Superconductor Corporation, MA involved in the R&D of 2G-HTS (Second Generation High Temperature Superconductor) technology and the contributing Cartoonist for Malayalam Pathram (NY) and India-New England (Boston). 

He earned his Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) and is the recipient of the prestigious UNESCO-IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Research Award. He is the author of over 50 research papers covering fundamental and applied sciences of advanced materials and is the lead inventor in 9 patent applications which led to significant and early advancement of the 2G-HTS products to the market. Thommy is a well recognized cartoonist having published over 300 editorial cartoons that also include The Week, OnLooker, The Express, and India Weekly etc. and is the recipient of several awards for his cartooning talents.

Dr. Shree K. Nayar (New York, NY) – Applied Sciences

Shree K. Nayar is the T. C. Chang Chaired Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. At Columbia, he is co-director of the Columbia Vision and Graphics and heads the Columbia Automated Vision Environment (CAVE), which is dedicated to the development of advanced computer vision systems.  

His research is motivated by applications in the fields of digital imaging, computer graphics, and robotics. He is the recipient of the David Marr Prize (1990 and 1995), the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship (1992), the National Young Investigator Award (1993), the NTT Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award (1994), and the Keck Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching (1995). He has published over 100 scientific papers and holds several patents on inventions related to vision and robotics.

Prem Panicker (New York, NY) – Journalism

Born in Calicut, in Kerala, Prem Panicker has been a journalist for the last 17 years starting with several Mumbai newspapers including India Post, Mid-Day and Sunday Oberver. Panicker was one of the group of five journalists who, along with Ajit Balakrishnan, founded and served as its Managing Editor. Panicker currently serves as the editor of India Abroad, looking after the paper with independent charge.

Hari Sreenivasan (New York, NY) – Mass Media

Hari Sreenivasan is anchor/correspondent for ABC News Now, the first 24-hour news network for a broadband audience. Sreenivasan is the founder of OMpower Media Inc., a firm providing media and communications services, such as reporting and anchoring, for a range of newscasts and clients, including Fox San Francisco affiliate KTVU, KICU in San Jose, and Yahoo! Financevision. 

From 1996-2002 he was an anchor, senior correspondent, and reporter based in San Francisco for CNET, a leading global media company informing users and sellers of technology. Prior to his assignments for CNET, Mr. Sreenivasan was a technology reporter for the NBC affiliate in Raleigh, NC, WNCN. He won South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) Awards in 1997, 1998, and 1999 recognizing Outstanding Broadcast Stories. Currently he serves as a national board member of SAJA and is a graduate of the Asian American Journalists’ Association’s Executive Leadership program.


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