The new President of United Indian Association, Inc (UIA), John Kennedy is committed to give a new direction to the Association. The first major step which he took after becoming the President was to shift the venue of UIA fair from Olympic Park to Blacktown, an area where at least 8 percent of the Indian population resides.
Basically hailing from village Thalakkavoor, Tamil Nadu, John came to Australia in 1999 as an IT professional. After some time he went back to India, applied for Permanent Residency and then came back to Australia in 2000. Since then he is quite active in the community works.
After coming to Australia he got involved in the community work and in 2009 got associated with ‘Sydney Tamil Manram’ (STM) , a literary Tamil Organisation and remained President of that organisation from 2011- 2012.
Presently he is Trustee of STM. Sydney Tamil Association is one of the member organisations of UIA, so while associated with STM he was one of the 3 members who represented STM in UIA.
Speaking about his journey John said, “After coming to Australia, I got much inclined to the community work and got Associated with STM in 2009. As STM is one of the member organisations of the UIA and from every member organisation there are three representatives, I was one of the representatives from STM. So, in this way I got to know more about UIA. In 2013 I was elected as a Secretary of UIA and in 2014 got elected as President of UIA”.
“With the new role many new responsibilities have come, but I am hopeful that we all will be able to bring substantial changes to the United Indian Association. UIA is an Association which represents different organisations at Government level, so its role is quite extensive. We also take up the issues with the Counsel General. In all, we can say that UIA is a body which represents various Indian Organisations and is a voice of those organisations when it comes to represent issues at the Government level. Moreover UIA deals with all the Women Rights related cases”.
John said that they are trying to create different forums so as to associate more people with UIA.
“We are intended to create Youth Forum, Business forum and another forum for all the presidents of the organisations who are not associated with UIA. In this manner we can bring all the organisations and associations together, which will further strengthen UIA”.
Regarding his role as a President, John said, “Being the president of UIA, my main motive is to bring transparency in the association. Everything should be clear to the core. We are conducting regular meeting and the response of the members is really good. Proper communication and discussion will definitely help us to bring change. Presently we are concentrating on the project of the India House. Even we have plans to have a Library for seniors where they can read books in local languages”.
“UIA celebrates many occasions like Republic Day, Young Achievers award, Women Forum and Senior Forums and various other events like this throughout the year where there is large participation of the people”.
“My main aim is to get an Indian House, here in Sydney as it is one of the long pending demands of the Indians and it will definitely help the Indian community by providing them a space where they can carry out different activities,” he added.
Regarding the shifting of the venue of ‘India Australia Friendship Fair’ from Olympic Park to Blacktown, John said, “We were thinking to shift the venue for some years. Firstly Olympic Park venue is very costly and secondly if the venue will be shifted to a place where more Indians reside, there will be more participation. So, keeping in mind these things, we held a meeting with the Blacktown Council and the meeting went well. The venue now will be the Blacktown International Sports Park, Athletic centre, Eastern Road, Rooty Hill”.
Providing information about the fair he said, “We are hopeful that the fair will be bigger and better this time. The entry fee is only $5 and we have plenty of free parking at the venue. Besides this, we have also arranged shuttle buses from the stations to the venue”.
He is hopeful that the change in venue will definitely help them in attracting more Indians
UIA president is working to strengthen the UIA and believes that unity can definitely bring a change.
“United we stand and if we will be united, we will definitely make a difference. There can be difference in opinions, but for particular community issues, we should stand united. That is how we can bring a change and pick up the pace in our community related projects”.
Now the UIA is gearing up for its ‘India Australia Friendship Fair’, one of the major events of the association scheduled to be held on August 17. This year there has been change in venue, so definitely it a big challenge for the Association which is hopeful of larger participation of the Indians in the fair.
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