11th SAFAAS Convention

On 4 and 5 October 2015, KOCHI, a beautiful coastal city of Kerala State in South India, hosted the 11th Convention of the South Asia Federation of HIDA-AOTS Alumni Societies (SAFAAS). The lively event was participated by 120 people including the visiting representatives of 11 Societies (4 from abroad). They renewed their vows to promote comradeship among the member Societies through, for example, information sharing on business and country profiles (e.g. regulations and incentives). Also much talked about was more power delegation to young members in each Society. The next Convention will be held in Colombo, SriLanka in 2017.

That was in a nutshell, what happened at the 11th SAFAAS Convention. The event commenced in the evening of October 3 at the lush Bolgatty Island Resort adorning the Arabian Sea. The Opening Ceremony was drum started by Chingarimelam, an All women Kerala Band at the front yard of the Convention Centre of Bolgatty Palace Resort, in Bolgatty Island.


Mr.Joseph Philip, Chairman of the Convention Organizing Committee welcomed the delegates in his Opening Address. He also narrated to the audience the events that are planned on the two Convention days. This was followed by introduction of cultural events by Mr.K V Poulose, Past President and an ardent art lover. The performances that followed are Bharathanatyam, the South Indian classical dance, the world famous Kathakali, Kerala's own Classical performing art with all the accompaniments both vocal and percussion band. Then it was Mohiniyattam, Kerala women's dance form. The audience had an enthralling hour which took them to greater heights of enjoyment. After the cultural events, the delegates enjoyed Kerala cuisine at the adjoining hall.


On October 4, The Convention was formally inaugurated by the Chief Guest Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba PVSM, AVSM, Commander of Southern Naval Command, Kochi. The Theme of the Convention was "ASAs in the Digital World - Opportunities and Challenges in HRD, Business Cooperation and Cultural Activities". The Keynote Address was delivered by Mr.K Padmakumar I PS, Additional Director General of Police, Government of Kerala. In his address, he threw light on the vastness of the Digital World and how cyber-crimes increased over the years. Mr.Sadao Takeda, Senior Managing Director, HIDA, Tokyo was the Special Guest for the Convention. In his address, he stressed the importance of HRD in the human network. Mr.HidehiroIshiura, Chief Director, JETRO, Chennai and Mr.TBalakrishnan IAS (Retd), President of INJACK, Indo Japan Chamber of Commerce Kerala, also addressed the delegates.

The Convention Special Issue of 'ASA NEWS' was released during the Ceremony. Mr.TJ Subhash, President, ASA Kerala welcomed the revered guests and the Convention delegates. Mr.Jimmy Joseph, President SAFAAS in his Presidential remarks detailed the background of the Convention and on the choice of the Convention Theme. Mementos were given to all guests and the ceremony came to a close with the vote of thanks by Secretary General Mr.Hudson Peter. Later Mr.Masami Tada, Manager, Alumni Activities, HIDA Tokyo made a detailed presentation on HIDA /HRI Activities. Mr. Tada accompanied Mr.Takeda from HIDA Tokyo. Mr.Akira Kuriyama, General Manager, HIDA New Delhi Office also attended the Convention.


Mr.Mukund Krishnan, a prominent Business Consultant and a versatile speaker made a presentation on the Opportunities and Challenges in Business Cooperation in the digital world. He enlighened the audience on how the businesses have catapulted through the digital communications. Mr.Madhav Mohan, an eminent Mentor and orator explained how Cultural Activities can be coordinated through the cyber world. Mr.Jacob Kovoor, Chartered Accountant and Chairman of Kovoor Consultants, in his presentation threw light on how the avenues of HRD are going to transform through the digital interactions in the coming years.


After lunch, the Delegates formed into three groups A, B and C and discussed on the three areas of the theme, based on the Presentations done.


President Mr.Jimmy Joseph welcomed the Members for the General Meeting. He also welcomed Mr.Takeda, Mr.Tada and Mr.Kuriyama of HIDA for the Meeting as Observers. The Report of activities for 2013-15 was presented by Secretary General Mr.Peter and the Audited Financial Statement was presented by Treasurer Mr.Nihal Seneviratne. After discussions and clarifications, these were approved. JASTECA of SriLanka was unanimously chosen to host the 12th SAFAAS Convention at Colombo in 2017. Subsequently according to the practice, President of JASTECA, Mr.Athulla Edirisinghe was nominated President of SAFAAS, Mr.Mangala Samarajeeva as Secretary General and Mr.Nihal Seneviratne as Treasurer for the next two years. Nominations from other Centres’ were also made for the Executive Board of Management. Mr.Hudson Peter was nominated as WNF Representative of SAFAAS for the next two year term. Later the future course of action was discussed by Members. Finally a seven member Committee of Senior Members was formed to decide on the Way Forward for SAFAAS. The President Elect Mr.Edirisinghe thanked the Members for entrusting the responsibility and assured that he will try his level best in identifying new avenues to develop closer and deeper friendship and cooperation among the Member Societies.


After the events in the forenoon, the visiting SMEs assembled in the Conference Hall of Bolgatty Palace for various Presentations on business prospects. New possible interactions were also initiated. All the visitors were invited to visit the Product Display arranged at our Nippon Kerala Centre by Kerala SMEs on the second day. They were also requested to initiate dialogues in the business areas of their choice while meeting the SMEs presenting the display.


The Sessions commenced in the afternoon at the Palace Hall. 19 participants from SriLanka, Bangladesh and Nepal participated;there were Lecture sessions on Leadership and Management. Specialists from the world famous Art of Living Foundation conducted the sessions. The Workshop continued on the second day at Nippon Kerala Centre and later at Palace Hall.


In the evening, HIDA hosted a dinner to all the Representatives and Senior Members of the host Society, ASA Kerala at TAJ Residency in the City.


On October 05, The Delegates and guests were taken to ASA Kerala's Nippon Kerala Centre in KINFRA Hi-Tech Park, Kalamassery, which is about 15 km away on the suburbs of Kochi. The Delegates had a visit of the Centre and the various facilities available at the Centre were shown to them. They visited the Product Display also arranged by SMEs. Later in a Session organized at the Nishimura Hall, Mr.Takeda of HIDA distributed NKC-AISAT Awards to the Best three Projects by Final Year Engineering Students of Kerala. These Awards were launched by His Excellency Takeshi Yagi, Ambassador of Japan to India last year. ASA Kerala organizes these awards in association with St.Albert's Institute of Science and Technology (AISAT) nearby.


The Leaders of the three Groups made their Presentations on the discussions the previous day. Several Members also contributed their views. After Lunch, which was arranged at the Dining Hall, there was a Photo session in front of the Centre.


After the events, a few delegates and participants of YLW visited the Startup Village in KINFRA Hi-Tech Park. They attended an Introductory Session by the Officials and later interacted with the Startups in the IT and Telecom fields working in the three floors of the Building. All returned to Bolgatty Palace.


The Representatives and Senior Members had extensive discussions on the various deliberations. Based on the outcome, the Kochi Resolution was prepared.


The ceremony commenced with 'Panchavadya', Kerala's native five instrument band performed mostly in temples and auspicious ceremonies. The delegates and invitees participated in their national dress in the Closing ceremony. Declaration of Kochi Resolution was read by Mr.Jimmy Joseph, President, SAFAAS, which was approved by all. He then formally handed over charge to the new SAFAAS President Mr.Edirisinghe of JASTECA. The Sayonara Party commenced thereafter with music and dance. There were Magic Show and other entertainments as well. Photos and selfies innumerable were shot with delegates in their national attire. Souvenirs were exchanged. The VIPs were flooded with innumerable presents from the Member Societies. Dinner followed and everyone enjoyed Kerala's special dishes. Finally with the affectionate words of thanksgiving, but with the pain of parting, by Mr.Suraj, Secretary of ASA Kerala, the curtain fell on the 11th SAFAAS Convention. Everyone bid farewell with assurances to meet in the 12th SAFAAS Convention at SriLanka in 2017.

Event Images

SAFAAS was established in the year 1990 on a proposal made by JASTECA during the AOTS World Convention held in Thailand. The objective was to establish regional federation in the developing world such as Latin America, Africa, Europe and China.

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