By Arun Kumar
Washington, March 20 (IANS) Manohar "Mike" Vaswani, an Indian-American who has worked for integrating all Asian communities into one strong and cohesive entity, has received Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director's Community Leadership Award for 2009.
India born Vaswani was among 51 community leaders recognised in a ceremony Friday at FBI Headquarters by Director Robert S. Mueller for having "demonstrated outstanding contributions to their local communities".
"Those honoured here today represent people from different backgrounds and beliefs, from different corners of America, but share some things in common: a willingness to lead, a commitment to improving the lives of their neighbours, and a desire to make the nation safer for their fellow citizens," he said.
Selected by the Las Vegas Division of FBI, Vaswani is the president of the Asian American Group (AAG) and the Asian American Coalition of Las Vegas.
Vaswani who came to the US in 1970 became a naturalised citizen in 1978. He is a 2009 graduate of the Las Vegas FBI Citizens' Academy.
As the founder of the AAG, Vaswani has emphasised the importance of integrating all Asian communities into one strong and cohesive entity so the community members become strong citizens, FBI said.
Some of the Asian groups represented in the AAG include: Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Indians, Pakistanis, Filipinos, Thai, Malaysians, and Singaporeans.
By organising and participating in many cultural festivities throughout the year, the AAG promotes a strong unity among Asians. The AAG also promotes and encourages the active involvement of all Asian youth in various social and political functions.
By continuously providing opportunities and information for Asians to broaden and strengthen their understanding of mainstream American traditions and lifestyle, the AAG helps achieve the ultimate goal of assisting Asians in assimilating comfortably into the American culture, FBI said.
Many cities throughout the US boast of having strong Asian associations; however, in Las Vegas, mainly as a result of Vaswani's leadership, over 30 Asian associations have united under the AAG.
For many years, Vaswani has personally availed himself to the Las Vegas community for legal, citizenship, and immigration issues. Vaswani has also served as the main conduit between FBI Las Vegas and the Asian community, helping to foster trust and communication.