Connect India was held on Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the Minnetonka Community Center, on a beautiful spring day. As spring is the start of a new growing season, Connect India is the annual kick-off event of the IAM year.  Please see the presentation here
Community leaders from Regional and Non-Profit Organizations were in attendance as well as IAM corporate partners and for-profit organizations. The attendees gathered for a social hour as music played and presentations by regional and non-profit organizations were shown. Consul General Amit Kumar addressed the audience remotely.  The Chancellor, Minnesota State, Dr. Devinder Malhotra gave the keynote speech. Among the honored guests were Minnesota elected officials, Melissa Hortman, Ginny Klevorn, Kristin Bahner and Ryan Winkler. Also in attendance were Anjuli Mishra Cameron , Saraswati Singh and several IAM past presidents.

The awards section of the event included 2021 President,IndiaFest 2021 awards, Person(s) of the Year Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award.

Cultural Performances by Chandrani Dutta and Shilpi Chatterjee were enjoyed by all. The event ended with round table discussions on three topics around the theme of 'Getting back to normal post pandemic'.

  • Guest Speaker: Dr. Devinder Malhotra

    Devinder Malhotra was named Minnesota State chancellor in 2018 after first serving as interim chancellor in 2017. He leads Minnesota’s system of seven state universities and 30 state community and technical colleges that serve over 350,000 students in 47 communities across the state.

    Dr. Malhotra is passionate about the Minnesota State commitment to providing access to exceptional higher education for all Minnesotans. He is excited to support the powerful work faculty and staff are doing at every Minnesota State college and university to serve our communities and help people all across the state succeed both in college and beyond.

    Before serving as chancellor, Dr. Malhotra was interim president of Metropolitan State University and provost and vice president of academic affairs at St. Cloud State University. Prior to that he was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern Maine. At the University of Akron, he served as chair of the Faculty Senate, chair of the Department of Economics, and associate dean of the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences.

    Dr. Malhotra earned his doctorate in economics from Kansas State University and also is a graduate of the Management Development Program of the Harvard University Institutes of Higher Education. He holds both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in

    economics from the University of Delhi in India.

Connect India 2022 is an invitation-only event.

Questions: Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

IAM Connect India 2022 Awards : 

IAM President 2021 Award: Kiran Bandi

IndiaFest 2021 Awards:

Best Interactive Booth: Bihar & Jharkhand Association

Best Parade Ambassador: Gujarati Samaj of Minnesota

Best Exhibit Booth: Bengali Association of Minnesota

IAM Lifetime Achievement Award : Shanti Shanti

IAM Person(s) of the Year Award

Dashrath Yata - SEWA-AIFW

Santosh Sharma - MN SWAT Team

Raj Khankari - Rotary Club of Maple Grove

Padma Nadella - Fit-n-Fab

Jay Seghal - Seghal Foundation

Hitesh Patel - Ria Patel Foundation

2021 & 2020 Lifetime Achievement Awards

  • IAM 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award: Shanti Shah

    Shanti Shah has been part of the Indian American community of Minnesota for 48 years.  She is known as one of the most dedicated contributors to many Indian and Asian organizations.  

    Shanti came to Minnesota with an undergraduate degree in Economics from India.  After arriving in Minnesota, she earned her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from University of Minnesota and a graduate degree from St. Thomas University.  

    Shanti has worked at several companies in the Twin Cities for over 40 years in technology and education fields.  She was also an adjunct faculty member teaching for over 25 years at the Metropolitan State University, St. Thomas and University of Minnesota. 

    Shanti is known as a tireless leader in the Indian community who has dedicated herself to establishing the recognition of contribution of the Indian community in all walks of life in Minnesota.  She has been active in Asian American community groups as well as other underrepresented community organizations.  

    As an early immigrant she was one of the founding members in establishment of several Indian organizations including the India Association of Minnesota (IAM), School of India for languages and Culture (SILC), and Jain Center of Minnesota (JCM).  

    Early on, Shanti’s passion to ensure that the Indian community is recognized by the broader community at large allowed her to partner with other organizations that linked us to other

  • IAM 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award: Dipankar Mukherjee

    Dipankar Mukherjee is a professional director originally from Calcutta, India with a 25-year history of directing. He is the Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater. He co-founded Pangea World Theater, an international theater in Minneapolis that is a progressive space for arts and dialogue. His aesthetics have evolved through his commitment to social justice, equity and deep spirituality and these factors along with relevant politics form the basis of his work. As a director, he has worked in India, England, Canada and the United States.  


    Dipankar has received the Humphrey Institute Fellowship to Salzburg and has been a Ford Foundation delegate to India and Lebanon. He is a recent recipient of the Bush Leadership Fellowship award to study non-violence and peace methodologies in India and South Africa. Dipankar was invited to visit the White House as part of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders Delegation. In his rehearsal and workshop practices, Dipankar’s facilitated processes that work to disrupt colonial, racist and patriarchal modalities that we have inherited and collaboratively searches for an alternate way of working.

  • IAM 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Kumar Belani

    Dr. Kumar Belani was selected by the University of Minnesota (UOM) to join the department of Anesthesiology in 1976. Here he completed his post-graduate training, obtained an M.S. in Anesthesiology. After this he was requested to set up the Division of Pediatric Anesthesiology at the University of Minnesota. To do this he completed a Fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania and returned to the UOM to establish the Pediatric Anesthesiology Division.


    Dr.Belani has made significant accomplishments in the field of Medicine: He has published over 115 peer reviewed manuscripts, written 30 chapters, is editor for several journals including a manuscript reviewer for several major journals. He has been an invited speaker locally, in the state, nationally and globally.


    He continues to be an active clinician, leader, educator and mentor and is a valuable member of the Indian community in Minnesota. He has also served as a past Director of IAM.