Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations Holds Fourth Annual Convention

L to R : Enver Masud and M.A.A Fatmi

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 M.A.A Fatmi

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 cause.
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 America.
• 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 pledge.
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 awards:
• 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, Ohio.
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 areas.
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 AMU.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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