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Ambassador Rao, Sudha Murty Join 3000 Kannadigas At AKKA World Conference

Ambassador Nirupama Rao

Photos by Krish Photography

Atlanta, GA: Kannadigas in Atlanta are suddenly feeling aimless! Yes, the 7th AKKA World Kannada Conference concluded successfully this Labor Day, garnering rave compliments from guests for food and arrangements by volunteers of the hosting organization, Nrupathunga Kannada Koota.

Greeted by the traditional banana and coconut branches’ enclave at the entrance, volunteers extended a warm welcome to over 3000 guests. The festivities kicked off on Friday August 31 with the lighting of the lamp and an invocation to Lord Ganesha.

Dignitaries at the event included Indian Ambassador to U.S.A, Her Excellency Ambassador Nirupama Rao, Infosys Foundation Chairperson Sudha Murty, Jnanpith award winner, Dr. Chandrashekara Kambara, Consul General of India in Atlanta  Hon. Ajit Kumar, Hon Chairman, KDA, Dr. Mukhyamanthri Chandru and a host of others.

Sudha Murty

Guests woke up a colorful parade “Meravanige” with a folk dance theme presented by all participating Kannada Kootas on Saturday. H.E. Nirupama Rao, Sudha Murty, Dr. Chandrashekara Kambara, Dr. Mukhyamanthri Chandru  and S. Pradeep Kumar inaugurated the ceremony.

“I’m Karnataka’s daughter-in-law” declared H.E. Nirupama Rao, in her inaugural address, adding that her growing up years in Karnataka had widely influenced her. “There is a special relation between India and the US.” She said adding that the NRIs residing in the US play a major role in maintaining those relations. We are joining hands in the fields of Science, Technology, Fuel, Healthcare, Agriculture and much more and all of this is not possible without your involvement, she added.  

Meravanige at AKKA

Sudha Murty shared her own experiences about changing public views about Indians in America and pointed out that Indians residing here were vastly responsible for it.

Earlier, on Friday, Hon Ajit Kumar addressed the Business Forum at AKKA on the topic, ‘Advancement of Indo-US Business Relations - Indian Consulate's Role’. The keynote address at the forum was by OfficeMax CEO Ravi Saligram. The panel also included many distinguished guests. The CME forum had accomplished speakers from Emory University, Southern Osteoporosis Center, Doncaster Royal  Infirmary, UK, MBMC, ST.Louis, Washington University, St. Louis, VCU, Virginia and GRD Health. 

Raghu Dixit

Cultural activities began later in the day with introduction of visiting artists from India, National Anthems of India and USA followed by a kick off dance item by Natya and Stem Dance Company led by Ms. Madhu Nataraj. The lighting of the lamp ceremony was followed by Karnataka Vaibhava, dance drama on history and culture of Karnataka. The highlight of the evening included melodious rendition of Kannada movie songs by ace singers Archana Udupa, Manasi Prasad and Nagara Srinivasa Udupa.

Saturday night prime rocked the hall with two different genres of music, devotional by Vidyabhushana and contemporary by Raghu Dixit, both transporting music lovers to another world.

Various other forums kicked off including Literary, Charity, Singles Mingle, Spirituality, Sports, Women’s and Youth. Singing competition for aspiring singers– AKKA IDOL 2012 – Haadu Baa Kogile had about 35 contestants participating from across the US and three winners Saanika Mahashetty (Junior), Pranitha Kaaginele( Teen) and Seema Murthy Kasturi (Adult) were announced.

Youth Forum had various activities and winners were announced. Dance AKKA Dance, a dance competition with 28 contestants declared their winners.
Various sports champions were announced were also announced at the event.

Fashion Show Shringaara showcased fusion of east and the west with colorful, classy clothing backed by slick choreography, luxurious backdrops and music.

Kannada literary enthusiasts had a wonderful opportunity to mingle with legends in the field with various activities including an evening with Dr. Kambara, poetry recitation and competition with famous poet DundiRaj, debate competition and quiz competition and many more programs with Prajavanni Executive Editor Padmraj Dandavate by and for kids including talks on media, TV and the theatrical world with cultural icon T.N. Seetharam.

Cultural programs galore included instrumental recitals, Janapada sangeetha, yakshagana, sugama sangeetha, and classical dance and music and more.

Various Vendor Booths displaying clothes, accessories, jewelry, real estate, Karnataka tourism, and various other merchandise were available for the guests to shop around.

“Thank you is inadequate to express our gratitude but we hope you accept it. Beginning from receiving our guests at the airport till we said good bye last night to our guests, you all poured your hearts. You all did it with a sense of pride and definitely not just a duty. No doubt the triumphant success will be etched in the minds of all of us for years to come.” Dr. Ramaswamy, the convener of the convention said in thanking volunteers for their time and effort.

“We thank all special guests, artists, journalists who made it for the event and made the international culture programming very rich in the event. We specially thank Sree. Kappana and I.M. Vittallamurthy for setting up a very good cultural line up which ensured we did not miss the movie stars much. Certainly they could have closed our event in style.”  Srivijaya Srinivasa, co –convener quoted.

Elaborate menus, exclusive forums catering to various interests certainly compensated for some program scheduling shortcomings.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that a successful milestone has been set in the history of Atlanta’s Nrupathunga Kannada Koota.

AKKA (Association of Kannada Kootas of America) is non-profit, educational, linguistic and cultural organization to integrate, coordinate, network and unite the activities of all Kannadigas and Kannada Kootas for promotion and preservation of Kannada language and culture in North America. The 1st AKKA world conference was held in Houston, Texas hosted by Kannada Vrinda of Houston in the year 2000 with 2000 attendees. The 2nd AKKA World Kannada Conference held in Detroit, Michigan in 2002 hosted by Pampa Kannada Koota scaled AKKA to greater heights, with more than 4000 Kannadigas attending the conference. The successive WKCs held in Orlando, Florida, hosted by Srigandha Kannada Kootain 2004, Baltimore, Maryland in 2006 hosted by Kaveri Kannada Association, Vidyaranya Kannada Koota of Chicago, in 2008, and Brindavana Kannada Koota of New Jersey in 2010 have always gathered thousands of attendees, gaining and propagating rapid momentum and keen interest in each consecutive conference.

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