Indian Diaspora Council



Ashook Ramsaran, president of Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) was honored by the Center for Women of New York (CWNY) with the “GOOD GUYS” award at the CWNY’s 31st Anniversary Annual Luncheon on Saturday, April 21, 2018 honoring “Trailblazers for Women’s Rights”. The recognition event was held at the Douglaston Manor and Golf Club in New York, USA. The awards were presented by Ann Jawin, founder/chair of CWNY and Victoria Pilotti, president of CWNY.

Founded in 1987 by Ann Jawin, the Center for Women of New York’s mission is “to empower women with the information, support and skills they need to address the problems they are facing whether economic, emotional or legal. Our assistance not only helps the woman but strengthens the stability of their family. CWNY helps women transition to a new level of economic self-sufficiency. CWNY offers comprehensive services in prevention, training, education and support to women in transition. Computer training, career counseling, legal assistance and support groups are held to support women and prepare them to prosper in the workforce”.

Ashook Ramsaran was born in Guyana (formerly British Guiana), third generation of Indian indentured laborers who were brought to Guyana in 1853 and 1860 respectively. He emigrated to USA in 1968 and obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees (Electrical Engineering) at New York Polytechnic University. After prominent positions in US industry, he founded Ramex, an electronics manufacturing company based in New York, USA and resides in Queens, New York, USA with his family, namely wife Camille; sons Arnold and Gerald, and grandsons Jaden and Gavin. Ramsaran is founder/president of the Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) and former president of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International). He is Vice President of Queens Civic Congress (New York), Chair of New York Presbyterian Hospital Queens Community Advisory Council, Board Member of St John’s University Center for Caribbean and Latin American Studies, and Board Member of Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association. He is the recipient of numerous local and international awards in recognition for his many years of outstanding community service and raising awareness of critical issues of interest and concern.

Recipients of “Women of Distinction” in Leadership were: Adrienne Adams (NYC Council Member District #28); Bernadette Kelly (President, Teamsters Union, Local 813); Moira McDermott (Executive Director, 21-in-21 Initiative); Sarinya Srisakul (President, United Women’s Firefighters); Mary Vaccarro (United Federation of teachers, Queens District).

Recipients of “Good Guys” awards were: Mervin Brown (Artist, retired professor, City University of New York); Rory Lancman (NYC Council Member District #28); Ashook Ramsaran (President of Indian Diaspora Council International); Ernan Roman (President, ERDM Corp, Chair, “Take Action” Community Group); Jimmy Van Bramer (NYC Council Member District #26).

Recognition text on the award to Ashook Ramsaran read as follows: The “Good Guys” awards are given “to men who are fully committed to women’s equal rights and have made significant contributions to the community”.

In accepting the “Good Guys” award, Ramsaran said “Women’s rights are people’s rights; women’s rights are our rights; women’s rights are human rights. I am truly honored by this recognition award and I join with other recipients in thanking CWNY and Ann Jawin for their pioneering contributions to women’s rights in New York as a trailblazer long before #Me Too and TIME’S UP.

Victoria Pilotti, Ann Jawin, Ashook Ramsaran
Women of Distinction and Good Guys Recipients with Victoria Pilotti and Ann Jawin

“Kali” Way Street Co-Naming Advances Successfully

“Kali” Way Street Co-Naming Advances Successfully

The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) is pleased that the initiative by IDC president Ashook Ramsaran co-naming 1 block of 169th Street between Highland Avenue and Hillside Avenue, Jamaica, New York, in honor of the late Ramesh D. Kalicharran, affectionately known as “Kali”, is advancing successfully through the several stages of the process. Ramesh D. Kalicharran, who was born 1949 in Guyana and lived in New York since 1970, passed away on December 3, 2017.
IDC statement on its application for co-naming 1 block of 169th Street: “Ramesh Kalicharran, popularly known as Kali, was an outstanding community stalwart, a prominent and well recognized cornerstone of the community, having pioneered several programs and events which promoted the interests of Indo-Caribbean people in New York and the Caribbean. He is widely recognized for his advocacy, philanthropy and exemplary contributions to charitable and community causes; for his exemplary contributions to his community and the promotion of Indian culture and heritage. He was an icon among Indo-Caribbean people with a long lasting legacy of selfless service. He was an extraordinary community leader who led by example. In recognition of his tremendous contribution to the Guyana diaspora, he has received several citations and awards Asian-Indian, the Indo-Caribbean, and Other Ethnic American communities in New York. Kali was a proud ambassador for Guyana in particular, and the Caribbean, in general”.

The initiative and continuing efforts for co-naming the 1 block of 1269th Street by Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) was led by Ashook Ramsaran who worked diligently and collaboratively in obtaining approval of NYC Council Member Rory Lancman on January 9, 2018 followed by several other elected officials, including NYS Assembly Member David Weprin who issued a posthumous proclamation in honor of “Kali”. Crucial organizational support was given on January 14, 2018 by Mid-Queens Community Council (MQCC) followed by formal application to Queens Comm. Board #8 (CB#8) on January 17, 2018.

Following a formal presentation to CB#8 Transportation Committee by Ashook Ramsaran on April 26, 2018 attended by Ms. Romanee Kalicharran (daughter of late Ramesh Kalicharran) and Mr. Santram Dukhbhanjan, the CB#8 Transportation Committee gave its unanimous approval. Following the presentation by family, community leaders and associates at the public hearing on May 14, 2018, CB#8 Transportation Committee gave its further approval paving the way for the general meeting on June 20, 2018 at which passage of the application by the full Community Board is likely.

Speakers in support of the application at the public hearing on May 14, 2018 were: Romanee Kalicharran (daughter) accompanied by Judith Kalicharran (spouse); Shobna Tomescu (sister) accompanied by Rayjendra Kalicharan (brother); Jagdish Kalicharran (son); Farouk Samaroo (community advocate); Patricia Jordan-Langford (Guyana Tri-State Alliance); Santram Dukhbhanjan (Indo-Caribbean Council); Rev. Seopaul Singh (Caribbean Network Enterprises); Jeff Gottleib (Mid-Queens Community Council); Ashook Ramsaran (Indian Diaspora Council).

Following the step-by-step progress and successes to date and with no opposition, the application is expected to be fully approved with an estimated installation and unveiling before the end of 2018.

Members of Community Board #8 transportation Committee, Speakers and Supporters Front row seated (l-r) Romanee Kalicharran; Judith Kalicharran; Sobna Tomescu; Basmat Kalicharran; Marie Adam-Ovide (District Manager, Community Board #8)