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FIS Signs MOU with Houston Community College System

From left: Ty Welborn, Dept. Chair for HCC Audio Recording and Film making; Richard Morales, FIS Advisory Board; Parul Fernandes, Vice-Chair, FIS; Judith Hiott, Chief of Houston Public Library Network; Surender Talwar,FIS Director; Meera Kapur,FIS Director, Dr. Zachary Hodges, President, HCC-North West; Neeta Sane,HCC Board of Trustees; Consul General Parvathaneni Harish, Krishna Vavilala, FIS Chairman; Ellen Goldberg, FIS Advisory Board; Roalnd Lemonious; Dr. Raj Bhalla, FIS Director and Vatsa Kumar, FIS Secretary.
FIS Directors who were present at the event, but were missed in these HCC photos: Dr. Nik Nikam, Dr. Rajender Aparasu, Manisha Mehta and FIS General Counsel ,Bashist Sharma.

HOUSTON: An official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by Krishna Vavilala, Chairman of Foundation for India Studies (FIS) and Mary S. Spangler, Chancellor of Houston Community College System (HCCS) to collaborate in the Indo-American Oral History project. The Chancellor was represented by Dr. Zachary Hodges, President of HCC-North West.

The purpose of the MOU was to affirm the creation of a partnership and working relationship between FIS and HCCS to produce oral histories of the first generation Indian immigrants living in the greater metropolitan area of city of Houston, Texas.

Under the terms of the agreement, HCC will serve as an advisor to FIS on video recording technology and ensure that recorded interviews meet appropriate standards of quality. Schedule permitting, HCC will also make available to FIS their North West College studios for filming the interviews by their student interns under the direction of  Ty Welborn, Dept. Chair for Audio Recording and Film making, supervised by the  Asst. Chair, Richard Boyd.  The filmed interviews will then be sent to Houston Public Library (HPL) for editing and archiving, under a similar MOU FIS had signed last year with HPL.

The MOU was signed in the backdrop of colorful Diwali festival decorations which were artistically arranged by HCC staff under the supervision of Dr. Ritu Raju, Professor of English and Asst. Chair of Technical Communications and Rima Adil, HCC Communications Outreach Coordinator. A sumptuous Partnership luncheon was provided by courtesy of HCC.

The signing of MOU with HCC marks another significant mile stone in the history of FIS who has initiated the Indo-American Oral History Project.

In his speech, while thanking HCC for the partnership, FIS Chairman Krishna Vavilala suggested that HCC should also consider introducing courses in India Studies for better understanding of the Indian culture by the main street community. Dr. Zachary Hodges was receptive to the idea and asked for information on other community colleges in the country that have programs in India studies.

Parul Fernandes, Vice Chair of FIS assisted Hon. Consul General, Parvathaneni Harish who presented FIS Certificates of Appreciation to Ty Welborn who accepted the Certificates on behalf of his students and interns: Torrance Atkinson, Kevin Bui, Daniel Vargas and Omar Agha, who helped in filming the interviews on June 15 at the FIS event in India House in which former Mayor Bill White and his wife, Laura White were the guests of honor.

Krishna Vavilala stated at the signing ceremony that fifteen interviews are done so far and with this new partnership with HCC, the interviews will be expedited to achieve the set goal of one hundred by the end of 2013.

He also stated that FIS is looking for donations and volunteers to help the project since in his words; this is after all a project of the community, by the community and for the community, paraphrasing the famous words of Abraham Lincoln.  The event concluded with Vote of Thanks by FIS Secretary, Vatsa Kumar.


For further information on volunteering opportunities and scheduling  an appointment for an interview, call Krishna Vavilalaat 713-795-5169 or email to:


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