CAMBRIDGE, MA—United India Association of New England, a non-profit community organization known as UIA, has elected a new executive committee, board of directors, and Rakashi Chand as president and Aditi Soni as vice president of the 35-year-old organization.
“The United India Association looks forward to an innovative, successful and exciting year in 2018,” Chand told INDIA New England News. Chand, who has been active in UIA for a long time and was honored as INDIA New England News’s 20 Outstanding Women in 2016, replaces UIA’s long-term president Neela Gandhi.
She said UIA was founded 35 years ago with a mission to serve the Indian Community of New England, to bring the Community together, and to share our beautiful Indian culture and heritage.
“As President of the United India Association of New England, I want to focus on those founding principles to continue the Organization’s progress towards a bright and significant future,” Chand said.
Soni, a scientist working with Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research, said that when her family came to Brookline, MA in 2002 she found United India Association as her extended family to enjoy the cultural and social celebrations.
“I found this resource to help me pass on our rich Indian heritage to my son. Since then I have relished, contributed and volunteered for UIA in different capacity,” Soni Told INDIA New England News. “Now as Vice president, I see it as a give back opportunity to my wonderful extended family and community. We will extend our efforts and initiatives for youth, women and elders. We hope to collaborate with other organizations doing great work in greater Boston area. I am looking forward to work with Rakashi and our wonderful team to build memories which our community will cherish forever.”
UIA held its elections and general body meeting on Sunday at Nirvana restaurant in Cambridge, MA. The newly elected officers and directors of the UIA are as follows:
President: Rakashi Chand
Vice President: Aditi Soni
Treasurer: Anil Sood
Secretary: Priyadarshini Kumar
Communications Officer: Parvin Khetarpal .
Board of Directors are : Vikas Selhi, Sonia Sharma, Neeta Datta , Gyaneshwar Varma, Manisha Chowdhary, Aanch Jain, Rakesh Soni, Veena Kapoor, Salra Kalra, Sajani Shah Kapasi and Vibha Sood.
Advisors are: Kidar Vaid, Dolly Rajah, Devendra Dutt, Suresh Gidwani, Mool Raj Mathurl, Jatinder Sharma, Shobha Khetarpal, Vijay Selhi and Neela Gandhi.
“I would like to first express my most sincere gratitude to everyone who came out to vote in our 2018 election. My thanks to the Board of Advisors, the Nominating Committee, the Board of Directors and the Excutive Committee. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to a wonderful year ahead,” said Chand.
UIA organizes a number of annual events, including New Year’s Ball, Holi Festival, Health Fair, Community Picnic, and Diwali Cultural Show.
“Now, our goal is not only to create wonderful events, but also to serve the community and cultivate a culture of Seva,” Chand said. “In 2018 we hope to introduce many new ideas and events. We will be organizing ‘United India Association Gives’, an initiative to raise funds and to do community service for various charities, both in India and locally in Massachusetts.”
She said UIA would also like to provide support and strength to the Indian-American community at a time when so many are concerned.
“Now more than ever, in the face of adversity, hate crimes, unwarranted violence, and a rise in discrimination throughout the United States, our community needs strength, guidance and unity. We must restore faith and strength to the members of our community,” said Chand. “I am so thankful for this opportunity and want to thank all the members for their faith, support and blessings. When I was 10 years old, eleven Community leaders gathered at the home of Mr. Kidar Vaid to create the United India Association of New England including my Dada Ji, Harbans Khetarpal. The Association has always been a part of my life and close to my heart. I am even more humbled and honored to serve as president with my ten-year-old Daughter by my side.”