Federation Of Kerala Association In North America (FOKANA)
1790 – 1982
The first recorded arrival of an Indian visitor to America (Salem, Massachusetts) was on December 29, 1790. Ever since, people from India have settled in United States. The immigration Act of 1960 gave an impetus to this. According to the latest census, there are 13 million Indian Americans in the U.S of which around 300,000 are Keralites. Several of these sons and daughters of Kerala have been recognized in American public life for their outstanding professional excellence. It was during the seventies that Malayali organizations started sprouting up all over the U.S. and Canada. As a manifestation of the nostalgic but creative Malayali mind, these organizations very soon became the golden chariots for the unique values of Kerala culture and heritage. Before long the need for the formulation of an umbrella organization bringing all the Kerala cultural organizations found an expression.
Under the initiative of Dr.M.Anirudhan of Chicago, a preliminary meeting was held in Washington D.C. to give shapes to such an umbrella. This historic meeting was chaired by the then Indian Ambassador to United States and the present Vice President of India, His Excellency K.R Narayanan. This meeting achieved its objective of sowing the seed for an organization that would later come to be known as ‘FOKANA’.
As its logical follow-up the first Kerala Convention as held during the July 4th weekend in New York City, New York. Dr. Syed Muhammaed, Indian High Commissioner in London and Mr. Vayalar Ravi, Home Minister of Kerala, graced the occasion by their presence. This convention, through the active efforts of many prominent Keralites, founded the Federation of Kerala Associations in North America (FOKANA) by uniting all the Kerala Associations in the Continent.
The second FOKANA Convention was held in Philadelphia. The keynote speaker was the legendary literary maestro Sri Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai.
The third FOKANA convention was held in Chicago, Illinois. Thousands of Malayalees got together for this convention. Prof. Sukumar Azhicode was the chief guest and keynote speaker. The world renowned film director Adoor Gopalakrishnan was a speaker at the convention.
The fourth convention was held in Orlando, Florida. The chief guest was the Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr. E.K. Nayanar. The keynote address was delivered by Mr. K.P. Unnikrishnan, Central Cabinet Minister.
This year marked another milestone. The first Indian Youth Leadership Conference was held in Washington D.C.
The fifth international convention was held in Washington D.C. The convention initiated the now famous
The Sixth international convention was held in Toronto, Canada.
The Seventh international convention was held in Wyndham Anatole Dallas, TX.
The Eighth international convention was held in River Side Convention Center, Rochester NY.
The Tenth international convention was held in Fremont, CA.
The Eleventh international convention was held in Sheraton, Chicago, IL.
The Twelfth international convention was held in New Jersey.
The Thirteenth international convention was held in Gaylord Palms Resort, Orlando, FL.
The Thirteenth international convention was held in Valley Forge, PA.
The Fourteenth international convention was held in Albany, NY.
The Fifteenth international convention was held in Hilton, Houston, Texas.
The Sixteenth international convention was held in Hyatt Regency Chicago.
The Seventeenth international convention will be held in Hilton, Toronto.