Monday, August 30, 2021

42ND AKMG Convention Report

Prepared by Shreya Sunil
On August 13-14, the Association of Kerala Medical Graduates (AKMG) held their 42nd Annual Convention at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead, Atlanta. The three-day event led by AKMG’s President, Dr. Subrahmanya Bhat, was attended by almost 500 members of the organization. The 2021 AKMG Convention enabled the members and guests of AKMG to mingle, reminisce, and enjoy a multitude of events organized by the AKMG Georgia Chapter.
The Convention coincided with the Kerala celebration of Onam as well as the 74th Independence Day of India. The Convention was kicked off on the evening of August 13th at the Intercontinental Hotel Buckhead with a colorful procession of traditional Kerala music instruments, Chendamelam, Muthukuda and Thaalapoli led by the ancient King of Kerala, Mahabali/ Maveli. The entrance of the Convention Center was decorated with a grand spread of a fresh floral arrangement (Pookalam) and a life-size model of a traditionally decorated Elephant with Aanapattam and Muthukuda. This truly brought in the Onam fervor to the whole event.
The Opening Ceremony was graced by the Consulate General of India, Dr. Swati Kulkarni. She inaugurated the function with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The inauguration ceremony started off with the lighting of the traditional Kerala lamp by the Chief Guests, Dr. Swati Kulkarni, Cine-Actress Mamta Mohandas, followed by the AKMG President Dr. Bhat, First Lady, Dr. Annapurna Bhat, and other AKMG Executive Team members. AKMG members were also addressed remotely by Governor Brian Kemp, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and the Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan. They acknowledged the services of AKMG over the years and wished the organization the very best for all their future endeavors. This was followed by the release of the AKMG Souvenir, which features multiple articles of interest including medical papers, personal notes, and messages from our valuable sponsors.
The Inauguration Ceremony was followed by the traditional dance, Thiruvathirakali, performed by the AKMG female physicians and friends. To commemorate the 74th Indian Independence Day, a fashion show with patriotic theme was organized in which the participants showcased the diverse attires from all the different states of India. The Fashion Show wrapped up with the rendering of the patriotic song Vande Mataram.
Campus Comedy, the entertainment segment, which used to be a tradition in the past AKMG conventions since its inception in 1986, was brought back to life at this 42nd Convention by the Entertainment committee. This was well received by all AKMG members. This committee ensured that every member and family members who participated throughout the year in all virtual entertainment sessions, came live on stage to present an incredible performance of songs, instrumentals, and dances. Friday night culminated in Nadodiganangal, a wind-down session filled with nostalgic songs performed by our prominent singers of the AKMG family.
Saturday, the 14th was kicked off at 7 AM with CME (Continuing Medical Education) sessions for all the professionals. CME talks were presented by world-renowned physicians from all over North America. While the professionals indulged in their learning sessions, their family members and kids were entertained with various breakdown activities including Bollywood dances, painting and yoga classes. Earlier, the organizers also showered the out-of-town guests with their southern hospitality by arranging a City Tour of the major landmarks of Atlanta and Stone Mountain.
Following the morning sessions, the guests were treated with a sumptuous Onam Sadya which included all the traditional Kerala dishes. Superstar Mamta Mohandas entertained the guests with her musical melodies soon after. The entire ambience of the banquet hall with Kerala d├ęcor, music and Onasadya brought back wonderful memories of Kerala, God’s own country.
Saturday evening Gala Night started off with award ceremonies and felicitations by the President, Dr. Subramanya Bhat. This is the first time in the history of AKMG that 22 past presidents attended a convention. They were all felicitated for their valuable contributions. Dr. Bhat then rendered an amazing Presidential Address and handed over the gavel to Dr. Nigil Haroon, the incoming AKMG president. Dr. Bhat was felicitated by the entire AKMG family for his dedication and outstanding contributions to AKMG.
During his Presidency, Dr. Bhat raised the bar of AKMG by increasing membership and conducting multiple humanitarian services like “Feeding the Hungry” initiative. This initiative fed 10,000 homeless people during the pandemic in Dec 2020. “Drona Care” is another innovative program providing free telehealth medical services for people in Kerala. Dr. Bhat called upon the members to make AKMG Bigger, Brighter, Better and Stronger in the years to come. AKMG, under Dr. Bhat’s leadership has pledged to assist the Kerala Government to set up a CDC in the state of Kerala. This is a remarkable achievement as this would be a ground-breaking model for the future of Kerala.
The Saturday night Gala event, Chitirathoni was presented by the professional musicians, Lakshmi Nair and Karthik Jayaram accompanied by an amazing orchestra. Four hours of their enthralling music filled the banquet hall and it got all the members on their feet on the dance floor. The members could not have asked for a better way to conclude the convention.
Conducting an event of such a magnitude during this pandemic and ensuring the safety of all the guests is extremely commendable and AKMG aced it! This convention had the right mix of festivities, education, and networking. Without a doubt, the 42nd AKMG convention was a grand success. Old friendships were renewed and new friends were made as guests bid farewell to Atlanta. Each and every member of the AKMG family is looking forward to the next year’s convention in Toronto, Canada.
Canada, see you next year!

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