You are here

2018 President's Message

Submitted by marife_callender on 10 February 2018 - 12:00am

November 2018 Final NCI President's Message

Dear Kith and Kin:

I am honored to have served as President of the Nationalities Council of Indiana these past three (3) years, from 2016, to the Present.

The NCI hosted the 42nd Annual Indy International Festival, featuring twenty-seven (27) Cultural Booths, and six (6) Ethnic Food Booths, in the Elements Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, from Thursday through Saturday, November 8-10, 2018. 

The Naturalization Ceremony welcomed ninety-seven (97) representatives of thirty-three (33) countries as citizens of the United States.

Robin Knop, Director of Community Relations at Herron High School, Jill Jean-Baptiste, International Program Manager at the IUPUI Office of International Affairs, and Jane Gehlhausen of JAG Global Solutions, judged our Cultural Booths, with the following results.

2018 Cultural Booths


1st Place - Barangay Club of Indiana

2nd Place - Sikh Educational Cultural Society

3rd Place - Liberia Progress Foundation


1st Place - Sikh Educational Cultural Society

2nd Place - Barangay Club of Indiana

3rd Place - SAYAW Philippine Cultural Dance Co.


1st Place - Barangay Club of Indiana

2nd Place - Sikh Educational Cultural Society

3rd Place - Indiana Okinawa Kenjinkai


1st Place - Sikh Educational Cultural Society

2nd Place - Barangay Club of Indiana

3rd Place - SAYAW Philippine Cultural Dance Co.

2018 Best Overall Cultural Booth - Barangay Club of Indiana

Chefs Liz Giménez, Nasim Jafari and Vlad Bora of the American Culinary Federation, and Chef Aaron Bail of the Homestretch Steakhouse Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, judged our Ethnic Food Booths, with the following results.

2018 Food Booths

1st Place - Mabuhay! Filipino Food

2nd Place - Taste of Taiwan

3rd Place - SAYAW Filipino Food

2018 Volunteer of the Year  - Peter Kirkwood (International Center of Indianapolis)

On Monday, November 12, 2018 the Nationalities Council of Indiana conducted the free and fair election of its 2019 Officers and Board of Directors, using the ballot created by NCI Nominating Committee Chairman Maria Manalang, which was expanded to include nominations from the floor, with the following results.

2019 NCI Officers

President - Leslie Clumb (Indiana School of Polynesian Arts (Indy Hula))

1st Vice President - Geetha Babu (India Malayalee Association of Indianapolis)

2nd Vice President - Maryam Kiani  (Society for Promotion of Persian Culture)

Secretary - Jeff Pederson (Mabuhay! Philippine Cultural Community)

Treasurer - Alma Smith (Liberia Progress Foundation)

2019 NCI Board of Directors

Marlon Alfonso - Individual Member

Patrick Bea - American Indian Center of Indiana

Aster Bekele - Coalition of Second Generation Ethiopians

Mauvene Borton - American Virgin Islands Heritage Society of Indianapolis

Nati Dumaual - Barangay Club of Indiana

Yidam Gonzalez  - Ballet Folklorico Mosaicos

Komal Kochhar  - Individual Member

Baljit Singh Oberoi  - Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis

Maryori Duarte Sheffield - Association de Venezolanos in Indiana

Carson Smith - Scottish Society of Indianapolis

Ibrahim Topcu - American Turkish Association

Diamond Wittlief - Indianapolis Lithuanian Community

Mary Clark - Member At Large - International Marketplace Coalition

Lauren Peightel - Member At Large - Indiana Historical Society 

Jordan Rodriguez - Member At Large - Indianapolis Mayor’s Office 

Final Word

The NCI was in arrears to The Promotion Company to the tune of $35,000.00, before that obligation was waived, upon the sale of the company in 2015. Our Event Manager, Marife Callender, donated her time in 2015. The next year, the NCI was able to cover the cost of the festival, but only because Marife Callender waived her final payment of $8,500.00, or 25% of her contract, in 2016. 

Marife Callender has continued to organize the Indy International Festival. She waived $17,720.00 as a “donation” to the NCI in 2017. And, given the direction in which these figures are trending, she will be waiving an even larger sum in 2018.

Unless, and until, the Officers, the Board of Directors, the Member Organizations, and the Individual Members of the Nationalities Council of Indiana identify and secure Corporate Sponsors, sell tickets, and promote this event more effectively, there is no guarantee that our Event Manager will continue to waive the terms of her contract, and the Indy International Festival will become unsustainable.

I remain, yours, aye!

Carson C. Smith, FSA Scot

President 2016-18

Nationalities Council of Indiana