March 28, 2023

From left, former IAM President and honoree Raj Menon; IAM Annual Achievement Award recipient Sudhansu Misra; current IAM President PG Narayanan; and current IAM Vice President Shalini Thadani. (AAP staff photos by Tom LaVenture)

Watch the entire presentation online at

MINNEAPOLIS (March 13, 2010) – The India Association of Minnesota held its annual Connect India banquet Saturday at the Doubletree-Hotel, drawing several local dignitaries and community to enjoy an awards ceremony, entertainment and a lively panel discussion.PG Narayanan, President of IAM, said Connect India has become a signature event that serves as a meeting point for individuals and businesses with an interest in exploring avenues and opportunities to work with India.

More than 300 were in attendance at the event that

The entertainment was provided by Jessica Fiala, Swathi Jayavel and Devika Kataky of Ragamala Dance Theater.

The IAM Annual Achievement Award was presented to Sudhansu Misra.

The award recognizes individuals and organizations for achieving excellence in their fields, for promoting the interest of the Asian Indian community in Minnesota, and advancing understanding of the Indian community.

Misra came to the United States to study electrical engineering in 1956 and worked at Honeywell from 1959 to 1990. He was president of India Club in 1973, which later became the India Association of Minnesota. He organized the curriculum of member of the School of India for Languages and Culture in the 1990s.

He served on the State Council of Asian Pacific Minnesotans. He also started the 55 Plus Club and other retirement related activities.

Former IAM President Raj Menon was presented with a special award.

During his tenure as president in 2009, Menon is credited with moving India Festival from the Landmark Center to Phalen Lake Park. He has served on the IAM board for four years, and as a volunteer for 11 years. He was also a former president and board member of the School of India for Languages and Culture.

Ragamala Dance Theater members performed three dances at the event.

Shivanthi Sathanandan moderated the panel event on “The Future of Indo-US Relations.” She was also praised for her many years of service to IAM back to her high school days – and was invited and accepted to again serve on the board of directors at the event.

She introduced the panelists which included Dan McElroy, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, which supports the prosperity of Minnesota’s individuals, businesses and communities.

In the private sector, he was active in the travel agency business and in the travel agency software and consulting business.

Professor Akshay Rao, General Mills Chair in Marketing and Director of the Institute for Research in Marketing for the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

His teaching, research, and consulting have focused on industries ranging from food and airlines to apparel and the Internet, and consumer behavior, pricing strategy, channels of distribution, product/brand management, and sales force management.

Samuel Prabhakar is the Global Business Development Executive at IBM Systems &Technology Group.  He was responsible for VLSI Chip design & project management before being appointed to management. He has led and managed teams in North America, Japan, India, Canada, and Germany, developing innovative customized solutions for customers.

Dipankar Mukherjee is the Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater, an international theater in Minneapolis. He joined the artistic community of the Twin Cities as the Resident Director at the Guthrie Theater. As a director, he works professionally in India, England, Canada and the United States.  He is committed to creating work at the intersection of arts, politics and human rights.

India Association of Minnesota a non-profit organization whose aim is to build a strong and cohesive community of Asian Indians in the state of Minnesota. IAM seeks to represent the Asian Indian population to the society at large.  One of IAM’s primary goals is to educate and inform the broader MN community about India and how to make the connection easier with India as we become a globalized world.  We achieve this by conducting a number of events throughout the year, bringing India closer to Minnesota.

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