It is time for those in the leadership positions of NFIA to recognize that time has changed and NFIA as an association is caught in the inevitability of changing times. NFIA was founded more than four decades ago by our Indian American thought leader, Thomas Abraham, to mobilize the diaspora community for action and community service. It was well acknowledged and documented that the organization excelled in articulating issues and swelled in membership. The community got connected widely. It filled the need for the community to work under an umbrella organization that stood for them and filled the social and psychological need of comradery. The association cannot sit on its laurels but need to keep moving and growing.
Now the society and its needs are changing and are manifold. NFIA has a good mission but the approach requires new tools. NFIA, as an organization, can get revitalized, provided the leadership becomes more focused and recognize that there are many associations in existence nationwide that have wider scope and are advocating for their members with a razor-sharp focus – may that be a profession or a business or an academic discipline they are zeroing on.
To that end, NFIA can explore some new tools to reach the community which is composed of several generations. Immigrants – the so-called old timers, working mature adults, youth and adolescents and women – they all need advocacy of their issues. The diaspora community has done well and we all are standing on the shoulders of those who are now retiring or retired. Their work and progress has distinguished the community as a progressive, highly educated, and a model minority status. Let NFIA invite them as well as the stalwarts to provide present leadership a direction.
NFIA should become more visible in all major cosmopolitan cities. The association web site should have posting of past events and future events. In the eighties the association had very successful youth conferences, the association should feel proud of its successful conventions. NFIA is the first organization nation-wide conducting empowering women and girl conferences for the last six years in the capital of the nation, and now it has become a worldwide phenomenon of empowering women and girls and gaining momentum. The association was at the forefront. Why is NFIA not taking the credit of pioneering the issue by also doing a senior event on the east coast which was successful. The association stalwarts appeared for a Senate hearing on AWACS. They also put on many seminars conducted on strengthening Indo-U.S. relations. NFIA did technology and trade conferences in Washington, DC. The association has done a lot but not taken the credit for it.
NFIA past presidents and vice-presidents are successful businessmen-hotel moteliers. The founder of the association and past president and chairman has founded GOPIO, and connected the diaspora community worldwide, and another stalwart has founded scholarships for youth on the west coast. Working with universities in partnership, on immigration-related issues, safety and security of our kids, child care and early education for families with young children along with technology and trade are all worthwhile issues to explore in depth and get the association’s past presidents involved in the process. The NFIA leadership has been distinguished with the Pravasi Divas awards several times and have the power to work for the community tirelessly. The association members are leaders in their own rights. The NFIA leadership should not worry much about anything else and start with small projects again in different geographical locations. The efforts will gain momentum as the projects succeed and NFIA will gain its status and glory back.