Newah Convention concluded successfully in USA

Newah Organization of America (NOA) has successfully concluded its 12th Annual Convention and General Meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland USA on On Saturday, May 25, 2013. The convention theme was “Newars in Action Around the World,” and the meeting was made even more special as it fell on the very auspicious day of 2557th. Buddha Jayanti, commemorating Buddha's life, death, and enlightenment. With more than 200 attendees, the program was enjoyed by a cross-section of the Nepalese community from the Washington, DC metropolitan area as well as guests from several states, the Netherlands, and Nepal.

The program started with a warm welcome by Dhimay Baja and the Pancha Kanyas: Miss Bibhusa Pikha Miss Mala Pradhan, Miss Lujala Ranjit, Miss Lochani Tara Shakya, and Miss Prisha Shrestha. NOA General Secretary Mrs. Babita Shrestha and NOA Member-At-Large Mr. Pushkar Prajapati served as Emcees and called the meeting to order. Chief Guest Professor Manik Lal Shrestha, the 81-year-old living legend of culture, language, and history of Nepal, inaugurated the 12th Convention by lighting the traditional oil lamp, Twadewa, assisted by Mrs. Haribaba Kayastha and Mrs. Meena Pradhan. Mrs. Chhaya Pradhan and Mrs. Sunita Shrestha presented badges to Chief Guest Professor Shrestha, to Special Guest Dr. Padma Ratna Tuladhar, to Second Secretary of the Embassy of Nepal Mr. Lekhnath Gautam, to former Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nepal Mr. Daman Nanth Dhungana, to President of the World Newah Organization Dr. Bal Gopal Shrestha, and to NOA President Mr. Season Shrestha.

NOA President Mr. Season Shrestha delivered his presidential address, welcoming all guests and organization representatives, thanking everyone for their continued support, and expressing gratitude to the Chief Guest and all special guests for travelling far to join the 12th Annual Convention. This was an exceptional opportunity to hear from a great scholars and leaders. Mr. Shrestha briefly highlighted NOA's activities over the past year, including the very first international event, a joint art exhibition in Nepal. He shared good news about the expansion of four newly formed NOA Chapters in Seattle, Florida, Los Angeles, and Northern California, and outlined efforts to expand NOA presence in 3 more cities in 3 different states in order to support networking for Newars in the US while preserving and promoting Newah, culture, heritage, and language.

NOA President recapped NOA’s special initiatives and annual activities on behalf of the General Secretary. NOA Treasurer Mr. Ram Lal Shrestha presented the NOA annual financial report. On behalf of NOA, Mr. Season Shrestha honored Professor Shrestha by presenting him with the Khada, an honorary NOA Life Membership, and a special plaque commemorating his contributions to the Newah cause. The Laskus magazine bimochan was launched by Professor Shrestha and Dr. Tuladhar.

First Secretary from the Embassy of Nepal Mr. Lekhnath Gautam offered a few words to the group and expressed appreciation for the role that NOA plays in preserving and promoting Newah culture, tradition, heritage, and language.

Dr. Bal Gopal Shrestha highlighted why, how, and when the World Newah Organization was established and outlined the works WNO has initiated and its mission statements.

Mr. Daman Nath Dhungana expressed his views on keeping mother languages alive and that he was impressed that NOA has been working so hard to keep the language and culture alive in America.

Honorable Chief Guest Professor Shrestha delivered an amazing keynote speech, sharing his lifetime experiences with Newah culture, heritage, and language. He offered the group very fine examples of the history of Newah people in action since the very old days. Please visit www.newah.org for full speech.

NOA Vice President Mr. Ravindra Pradhan thanked all volunteers for their tireless efforts to make the event successful; the participants, speakers, performers, organization representatives, and the media for their overwhelming support; Clay Oven Restaurant for catering; DJD for the sound system; Eastern Middle School for the venue for the event; Bikrant Shrestha for decorations; Precision Solutions, Inc. for printing Laskus; and all the financial contributors.

The talk program included four exciting sessions followed by special presentations:
• Honorable Dr. Padma Ratna Tuladhar delivered powerful, detailed information based on the conference theme and stressed that Newah people need to work to move ahead.
• Mrs. Sri Laxmi Shrestha highlighted the history of Nepal Bhasa literature and how much the Nepal Bhasa writers had to suffer from the Rana regime til now.
• Ms. Nancy Scheinman presented about the joint art exhibition between NOA and NAFA in April 2013 in Nepal and talked about the future exhibition in Baltimore, Maryland as well as the process to make Baltimore and Kathmandu sister cities through art, culture, and education exchange.
• Mrs. Pratisara Manandhar highlighted games played by Newars and offered a live demonstration with children attending. She also shared a book about Newah games, children's songs CDs, and some Puthu Mhicha (drawstring pouches).
• NOALC Chairman Mr. Ishwor Rajbhandari highlighted the activities of the NOA Language Center and urged parents to teach Nepal Bhasa at home and send their kids to NOALC class.
• Past President and NOA Scholarship program Chairman Mr. Rajesh Shrestha offered updates on the scholarship program, thanked all sponsors, and encouraged others to sponsor more children.
• NOA First Past President Mr. Beda Pradhan honored all new NOA Life Members by distributing their membership certificates.

The Nepal Mandala exhibition included traditional Pauwah paintings and artifacts displayed by Season Enterprises. Attendees enjoyed the traditional Newah Samay Bajee and later the dinner prepared by Clay Oven Restaurant of Frederick, Maryland.

Emcees Ms. Rosie Shrestha and Ms. Sabrina Shrestha hosted the culture program, which kicked off with a group song Newah jhi Newah he juya followed by a Newah Cultural showcasing "Halaw Jalaw" performance by Abhi Dhaubhadel, Ayush Joshi, Anir Lakhe, Arnav Lakhe, Mala Pradhan, Manindra Pradhan, Jwoyal Ranjit, Lujala Ranjit, Lochani Tara Shakya, Pranav Shrestha, Prisha Shrestha, and Bibhusa Pikha (directed by Yagya Man Shakya). There were many fantastic dance performances, including a unique pancha Buddha dance by Mr. Yagya Man Shakya and diverse dances by Miss Lochani Tara Shakya, Ms. Sunita Amatya, and Ms. Mila Shrestha. The many different singers included Mr. Raman Shrestha, Mr. Shiva Joshi, and Buddha Jayanti Bhajan by Dhyan Group, as well as an instrumental performance by Sudin Amatya and Joyal Ranjit.

The event concluded with a live band performance by the Nama Kaya Band: Adarsha Shrestha, Anish Singh, Saurav Suwal, and Subeet Kumar Nepal. The event stretched well into the evening and ended with a lot of new memories.

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