Federation of Aligarh
Alumni Associations Holds Fourth Annual Convention
L to R : Enver Masud and M.A.A
Foster City, CA: The fourth
annual convention of the Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations
(FAAA) was held on July 2-3, 2005 at Holiday Inn, Itasca in
Chicago. It was hosted by the AMU Alumni Association of Greater
Chicago. Representatives from across the United States and
Canada attended the convention. It happened to be the most
widely attended convention of the Federation so far.
The program started with a recitation from the Holy Qu’ran.
The proceedings were kicked off with the first session chaired
by the senior most Aligarian present, Dr. Abdul Bari, President,
AMUAA-NY and a welcome address by Mr. Jawed Aslam, President
of the host Association - AMUAA Chicago. In his opening remarks
Dr. Aftab Ansari, Chairman, Board of Trustees, emphasized
the aims and objectives of the Federation and its role in
bridging the gap between the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)
and its alumni living abroad. The address was followed by
an introduction of the various alumni associations’
official representatives from across North America. Each representative
presented a brief account of the background and activities
of their chapters in the previous year. A report from President
of the Federation, Mr. Muzaffer Habib, was presented next.
The first session was rounded up with all the participants
introducing themselves at the convention; some of the guests
remarked that this brought back the memories of their introductions
as a freshman in AMU. At the end of the session, the congregation
took a short coffee break.
The second session was chaired by Dr Tasneema Ghazi and featured
discussions on the Scholarship Program, Summer University,
Aligarh Education Endowment Fund, Mushaira, and Souvenir Magazine.
Professor Asad Ahmed, AMU and Yale alumnus and a Professor
Emeritus at University of Alberta, presented the 'Summer University'
report, which he initiated in 2000 with the help of other
supporting academics. Through this program whose cost is borne
by the participating experts, seminars on recent advances
in various disciplines are provided in 7-10 day mini-courses.
The response to this program has been positive - it results
in better performance at the competitive examinations by students
who attend the summer university program. However, to further
enhance this effort significantly, he proposed the establishment
of a state of the art research institute at Aligarh.
Sidra Khan receives an award from
Dr. Hashima Hasan presented
details of the ongoing scholarship programs of AMUAA-Washington
DC and Dr. Aftab Ansari briefed the gathering on the status
of the Aligarh Education Endowment Fund (AEEF).
Dr. Abdullah, national coordinator of the Mushaira Committee
made a presentation to highlight the status of Mushaira preparation
and announced the dates of the Mushaira for 2005 and names
of poets who have been short-listed. Mrs. Avinash Sawhney
presented a brief report on the souvenir magazine and Mr.
Afzal Usmani, Secretary of The Federation, announced the timeframe
for the publication of the magazine this year.
At the end of the session, Dr. Tasneema Ghazi presented her
brief views about all the programs, which were discussed at
length in the session. She complemented all the coordinators
for their respective programs and their commitment for the
The third session focused on the contributions of the Chicago
area Aligs for community service. Dr. Aftab Ansari chaired
the session. This segment was made up of three presentations.
• Dr Imtiazuddin and Dr. Khursheed Mallick started off
with a talk on the Upward Bound Program- an educational program
for the advancement of underprivileged students in India,
supported by Indian Muslims Education Foundation of North
• This was followed by Dr. Abidullah Ghazi apprising
the guests about the latest work being done by Iqra International
Foundation. He talked about a renovation project for a building
in Aligarh, which has been leased, to Iqra for the purpose
of its Aligarh office. The building is at the old site of
the Paradise Restaurant in Aligarh.
• The last talk of this session was given by Ms Santosh
Kumar, an active social worker in the Chicago area for many
years. She reminisced about her days at the Law Faculty in
AMU back in the seventies. She informed the audience about
the activities of her Universal Metro Asian Family Services.
Senior Centers are now being run through four offices in and
around Chicago, which provide a much-needed service to seniors
of Indian origin. This organization has been funded by the
Suburban Area Agency on Aging & City of Chicago.
The post-lunch sessions of the program started with Mr. Umar
Farooq, President-Elect of the FAAA, inviting representatives
from each member organization to come forward and enumerate
their expectations from Federation and to describe how to
improve coordination among member organizations, and plan
future activities of the Federation. A lot of ideas were brought
forward including a mentorship program for AMU students. Dr.
A Abdullah then discussed the relationship of Aligarh Alumni
with its alma mater. Later, Mr. Afzal Usmani presented his
annual report and thanked AMUAA Chicago for its efforts in
hosting the convention.
The proceedings of the day were concluded in the last session
chaired by Mr. Muzaffer Habib. The venue for 5th Annual convention
of FAAA to be held in June 2006 was decided to be Atlanta,
Georgia. Elections were held for new office bearers and Board
of Trustees of FAAA and the Elect team of previous year came
into effect. The names of all office bearers of the federation
along with their contact details are listed on the Federation’s
website (www.aligs.org). This marked the closing of the daylong
sessions of the convention.
All guests then proceeded to rest for a little while to gather
again at 7 pm for the banquetdinner. After dinner the program
began with Tilaawat-e-Qu’ran. Mr. Umar Farooq, MC for
the evening, then welcomed the guests. The keynote address
by Mr. Enver Masud, writer, human rights activist and a direct
descendant of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan then followed. He presented
an informative and thought-provoking address and requested
the audience to make openhearted donations for the fundraising
of FAAA. Mr. Afzal Usmani then came forward and highlighted
the proposed projects of FAAA. Mr. Usmani and Dr. Ghazi made
a passionate appeal for donations and soon a good amount of
money was raised from the audience especially from the female
alumni for the “AMU Women's Hall Internet Project”.
A special mention needs to be made here for the Aligarh Association
of Atlanta, which set the ball rolling with their generous
Award presentation was the next event whereby the Chief Guest
Hon. M. A. A. Fatmi, Minister of State for Human Resource
Development, Government of India, presented the following
• Dr Zakir Hussain Award for Community Service in India
to Dr. A.S. Nakadar, Secretary General, American Federation
of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI), Michigan
• Sir Ziauddin Ahmed Award for the Best High School
Student 2005 (Male) to Sadaf Nausha Asrar, Houston Texas
• Shaikh Abdullah (Papa Mian) Award for the Best High
School Student 2005 (Female) to Sidra Sana Khan, Cleveland,
AMUAA-Arizona announced the sponsorship of another award to
be given from next year – Zafar Iqbal Award for the
Best High School Sports Person.
The Chief Guest, Hon. Fatmi then addressed the audience and
informed about the ongoing activities of the Indian Government
in the field of education. Hestressed the need to continue
with the Aligarh Movement and the traditions of Sir Syed and
open good CBSE schools and spread education to the backward
After a vote-of-thanks by Mr. Muzaffer Habib, the official
proceedings of the convention concluded with the singing of
university anthem, “Tarana-e-Aligarh. The floor was
then given to Mr. Amin Haider to begin the cultural program
of the evening. The guests were entertained to melodious renderings
of some old songs by Mr. Adeel and his wife Ms. Shazia, accompanied
on the tabla by his brother. The program continued till 1
am in the night with requests for favorite songs pouring in
from the guests. During this time, the guests were able to
find plenty of time to socialize with old friends and make
some new ones.
The next day was marked by a semi-formal round of discussion
with the Chief Guest Hon. Fatmi who urged the FAAA to become
a global organization with all the Aligarh Alumni Associations
coming under a common banner and to work for the betterment
of the society.
The main event of the second day was a picnic at Lawrence
beach. However, due to unavoidable circumstances and road
blocks because to 4th of July Celebrations, the venue of the
picnic had to be changed to the headquarters of Iqra International.
After lunch Mr Zille Khan delighted the audience with his
rendition of his favorite song “Mere Mehboob”
which set the mood for a very jovial atmosphere. A ghazal
by Mr Haroon Ahmad and poetry by Dr Abidullah Ghazi, Dr A
Abdullah, Mr Pervaiz Jafri, Ms Rukhsana and Prof. Shahid Siddiqi
followed this. A big hit was Dr. Ateeq Ahmad’s nazm
on Dr A Abdullah - “Naam Mora Abdullah”.
It was exciting to renew old friendships and establish new
ones at the convention and to get to meet prominent Aligarians
from all across US & Canada. It was also good opportunity
for the Aligs of Chicago area to interact with other delegates
and make their presence felt and learn about the work that
was being carried on by other member organizations of the
federation. For two days we were all transported to the good
old days at AMU, everyone reminiscing about his/her days at