Advisory Committee (2017-18)

Lalit Wanchoo

Lalit WanchooLalit Wanchoo was born in Srinagar, studied in Ludhiana, and moved to the US for graduate studies. He currently lives in Glenn Dale, Maryland and is married to Nina Singh from Lucknow, UP, and has two daughters Timsy and Neeti.

Lalit has been involved with the KOA for a very long time in various capacities and have held various offices – as President for two terms, Zone 4 Director, Vice-President, and Secretary. He has been involved with few other non-profit organizations and has served in various capacities.

Girja Raina

Girja RainaGirja Raina and her husband Dr. Surrender Raina have been residents of the US since 1973, settled in California since 1978. She has a son and 3 grandchildren. Her community involvement has been in American Cancer Society Linkages, Charter school movement and she is currently on the Board of Shiva Vishnu Temple, and also has been past president and Board Member of Indian Association in Stockton. As a philanthropist, she and her husband have financially supported several KOA programs and initiatives. She considers it to be her privilege to help Kashmiri Pandit community in whatever way.

Chaman Vishin

Chaman VishinChaman Vishin was born in Srinagar and migrated to  the US for graduate studies after his undergraduate work at BITS, Pilani. He started his corporate career in NY, and retired after a rewarding career in the Information Technology Industry. He is currently involved in a number of cultural NGO activities in Charlotte, including Arts & Science Council, PBS TV etc. He is also the founding member and board Chair of the India Association of Charlotte, that has been running a large weekend Festival of India in downtown Charlotte for the last 20+ years, to nurture and showcase the diversity of Indian culture. He has been a Life member of KOA for a long time, and has supported many worthwhile causes over the years. He lives with his wife Surja (Dhar) in Charlotte, NC and has two daughters who are married and settled in their careers.

Dr. Sunita Kanesa-thasan

Dr. Sunita Kanesa-thasanDr. Sunita Kanesa-thasan has been a longtime KOA member. She lives in Massachusetts (Zone 2) since 2004 but was in Maryland prior to that. Her father, Dr. G.L. Hanjura (past KOA president) lives in Pennsylvania and her sister, Dr. Sujata Ambardar is active in the D.C. Area currently acting as Zonal Director. Sunita is an internist and lives with her family in Lexington. She has volunteered in the past with the Boy Scouts, and the local school and library and hopes to become more active in KOA activities in the future.

Priya Bhat Patel

Priya Bhat PatelPriya Bhat Patel grew up in the Zone 10 community since the age of seven. Her parents, Balkrishen and Neelima Bhat, took her and her brother Prashant to KOA’s annual Herath and other events. Priya enjoys learning about Koshur culture by immersing herself in traditions and the tightly knit community. She remembers as a kid making roth and kehwa with her grandmother during school vacations and basking in the warmth of the kangri during the cold nights. As a kid, she sang bhajans in the children’s program. Now, 22 years later, she is married to her husband, Tej, and brings him to the annual events. Additionally, Priya is a youth group leader for Zone 10 and is a part of the KOA national advisory committee. She looks forward to bringing together the youth around Koshur culture to ensure that the rich traditions are passed on to subsequent generations.