KOA Program Directors – 2015-2016

Dr. Tej N. Kaul, Grand Island, New York
Program Director
Educational Assistance Program

Profile

Dr. Tej Nath KaulDr. Tej Nath Kaul graduated from Government Medical College-Srinagar, and went on to join the Department of health J&K Govt. He completed his M.D at PGI Chandigarh and was working in Medical College Srinagar until he came to Buffalo, NY in 1978, where he completed his Pediatrics residency & fellowship. Dr. Kaul joined private practice at Summit Pediatrics, in Niagara Falls, NY. Since July 1999, he has served as President of Summit Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatrics at Mt. Saint Mary’s Hospital in Niagara Falls. Dr. Kaul is also clinical assistant professor of Pediatrics at SUNY Buffalo medical school, and has published many papers in the field of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

In his spare time, he has been actively involved in humanitarian causes in the US and India. He was one of the founders of the KOA Educational Assistance Program, and has been running it since its inception in 1995. Dr. Kaul has established a charitable trust that runs a non profit High School in Jammu since 1999. This school provides education to the children at subsidized tuition.

Pran Kaul, Fremont, California
Program Director
KOA Sponsor-A-Child

Profile

Pran KaulPran Kaul has been involved with several community programs since 1990 in the wake of the exodus of the KP community from Kashmir Valley. Having seen the heart rending plight and abject poverty of the refugees first hand back in 1990 and later, he started the children sponsorship program in 1994-95 with the help of donations from caring members of the community in the US, to help our poor brethren to educate their school going children. The program has grown over the years from supporting about forty children in 1994 to about 260 children at present, thanks to our sponsors. The program was subsequently adopted by KOA a few years ago to allow sponsors to take advantage of tax benefits for their contributions. He continues directing and coordinating the program in US while local liaison in Jammu has been doing so in Jammu.

Pran Kaul is also involved in several fund raising efforts to bring medical relief to the ailing and the sick in the refugee camps. He co-founded the Sharda Computer Institute in Jammu along with two other community members here in the US, back in 1998-99 to impart basic computer education to the camp children. With financial help from Cisco engineers of Indian origin, he started the vocational training program about five years ago in Jammu, with ample help and cooperation from KPS. The program is intended for youngsters, who either do not have the aptitude for higher education or do not like to continue studies beyond high school. He has been involved in similar other activities with a view to ameliorating the condition of the camp residents.

Dr. Dhiraj Kotwal, TX
Program Director
Medical Funds

Objectives

  • To provide financial help to treat seriously ill Kashmiri Pandits from refugee camps in India.

Profile

Dr. Dhiraj Kotwal

  • Private practice internal medicine: Milwaukee, WI, 1999-2005
  • Infectious diseases fellowship: Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, 2005-2007
  • infectious diseases private practice, Dallas, TX, 2007 to date

Dr. Chand K. Bhan, Andover, MA
Fundraiser
Medical Funds

Profile

Dr. Chand BhanDr. Chand K. Bhan was born and raised in Srinagar. He has received training in general internal medicine and psychiatry. He came to the US in 1974, moved to Massachusetts in 1978, and has been in private practice ever since. Chand ji has been involved with KOA since its inception in the late seventies and has been a life member for over 10 years. He has raised money for the Shreya Bhat memorial hospital in Jammu, run under the leadership of Dr. K.L. Chowdhry. He personally visited the facility and saw patients from its camps in 2007. He witnessed the severe health problems in our community first hand. He has been a member of the KOA medical program since 2005 when it was initiated and took over as the program director in 2007. His mission is to serve and give back to the KP community.

Rakesh K. Kaul, NJ
Program Director
India Outreach Program

Objectives

  • Partner with various social community organizations in India on preservation of our culture and heritage.
  • Evaluate some programs where in KOA can collaborate for tangible outcome.

Profile

Rakesh Kaul

Rakesh K. Kaul is a community activist who is focused on Kashmiri culture, arts and heritage. He has co-chaired The Arts of Kashmir Exhibition at Asia Society in 2008. He has published articles on Kashmir including – Book on Durga personal and relevant to the times – The Indian Express, July 2011; Midnight’s Refugees –  The Indian Express, August 2011; The 4 pawns on the Chatarunga Board – Shehjar, September 2008; How KP international Diaspora can help in finding solutions in Jammu and Kashmir Shehjar, February 2011; The Idea of India and Core of Kashmir – The Indian Express, June 2012; Turning off Shankaracharya’s beacon – The Indian Express, March 2014; NaamaRoopaAham’s role in Indian HistoryKashmir’s case history- Hindu Historiography Seminar Global Hindu Institute 2014, San Jose; India’s 25th Anniversary of the Night of Broken Bangles – The Indian Express, January 2015.

Dr. Hira L. Koul, East Lansing, MI
Program Director (2015)
KOA
Achievement Awards

Objectives

  • Each year KOA awards one-time achievement award to Kashmiri Pandit College-bound student(s) living in the USA. Any high school senior student meeting the program requirements qualifies to apply for this award

Profile

Hira L. Koul

Dr. Hira L. Koul is a Professor in the Department of Statistics and Probability at Michigan State University. Dr. Koul’s research interests include Non- and Semi- parametric Inference, Efficient and Adaptive Estimation, Reliability Theory and Survival Analysis, Inference in Stochastic Processes: Long memory dependence and Time Series Analysis, Weak convergence of Stochastic Processes and their applications to Statistics.

Sunil Dhar, NJ
Program Co-Director (2015), Program Director (2016)
KOA Achievement Awards

Profile

Sunil DharProfessor and Statistics Program Director, Department of Mathematical Sciences at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ. Volunteer Teacher, for over fifteen years, at Vivekananda  Vidyapith (http://www.vidyapith.org/) – a school that provides character building education to children ages 5 to 18.

Omanand Koul, MA
Program Director
Culture & Religious Practices

Objectives

  • To identify and pursue key projects in preservation of our culture, heritage and religious practices.

Profile

Omanand Koul

Omanand Koul resides in Burlington, Massachusetts. He has been active in the religious activities of the Boston area Kashmiri Pundit Community. Over the years, he has been presenting the importance and significance of various religious activities to the community members at such functions.

Maneesha Munshi, Northern CA
Program Director
KOA Youth

Objectives

  • To establish KOA Youth with their Zonal Director’s, Chapter Presidents.
  • To identify key initiatives that youth would like to undertake.
  • Create a database of youth with the help of youth representatives at zonal and chapter levels.
  • To identify need for regional youth camps.

Profile

Maneesha MunshiManeesha Munshi was born in Sheetalnath, Srinagar and was there until her 3rd grade. Post exodus, her parents; Ashok, Meena and sister, Aneesha moved to Hyderabad which eventually became their second Home. She has been in the United States since 2008. Her passion for Kashmir started from seeing how her parents and grandparents longed to go to this place they once called Home. She thinks that the youth with their enthusiasm and the elders with their experience can  bring the community together and help every one of us stay connected to the land of our roots.

Dr. Shakun Munshi Malik
Program Director
Networking – Health Professionals

Objectives

  • Create a database of community health care professionals in USA.
  • Identify key projects that could benefit our community and KOA in long run.

Profile

Dr. Shakun MalikThe experience of serving as zone-4 president over the last 2 years has been very enriching to Dr. Shakun Malik. She has come to know a lot of great people who have further enriched her knowledge about her Kashmiri heritage. She is particularly proud of our youth who have been active in her zone with Sunday school where they discuss our heritage and teach Kashmiri language to the younger ones.

She considers Kashmiri Pandits a part of an extended family. “Our families all look and think different and it’s always been so. Families are whom you love because it provides support and a framework of values to each of its members. Family members teach each other, serve one another and share life’s joys and sorrows”.

A family works together to overcome struggles and to provide happiness to each of its members.

Shakun Malik is a graduate of Kashmir Medical College and is serving as the head, Thoracic and Head & Neck Cancer Therapeutics at the Clinical Investigations branch of National Cancer Institute/NIH. She is married to Rajat Pamposh Malik (a gastroenterologist by profession) and has two children Raeva and Hersh.

Dr. Anil Mattoo, NY
Program Co-Director
Networking – Health Professionals

Profile

Dr. Anil MattooDr. Anil Mattoo was born in Karan Nagar, Srinagar in Kashmir. His father Mr G.L. Mattoo is a Civil Engineer and his mother Mrs. Krishna Mattoo (Adalati) worked as a school teacher. Dr. Mattoo is a product of Tyndale Biscoe School in Srinagar. He graduated from Govt. Medical College Srinagar in 1989. He also completed post graduation in internal Medicine from G R Medical College, Gwalior. In 1996 Dr Mattoo moved to the United States and completed a residency in Internal Medicine from Rush Westlake Hospital in Chicago and subsequently a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine from Winthrop University Hospital in long Island, New York. He is currently working as a consultant physician at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital in Patchogue, NY. Dr Mattoo is married. His wife Nita Kaul is also a physician. He has two beautiful children Harshil and Himani.

Sudesh Saraf, IL
Program Director
Networking – Entrepreneurs

Objectives

  • Create a database of community Entrepreneurs
  • Initiate Youth workshop for Entrepreneurship in USA.
  • Identify key projects that could benefit our community and KOA in long run.

Profile

Sudesh SarafSudesh Saraf came to the U.S. in 1987 as a graduate engineering student at Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. He got plugged in to the local KOA chapter right away and has been part of the Chicago chapter of KOA ever since. He currently works in the construction industry as V.P. of Engineering at an Architectural Engineering firm located in Darien, IL. Sudesh is married to Ruby (Sunita Pajnu) Saraf since 1989, and they have raised three wonderful kids (triplets) Kartik, Sneha and Maegha who are 22 years old and have graduated from college. Sudesh has actively participated in Kashmiri community building at the local level. He also unsuccessfully contested the Zone 7 directorship in 2005. Currently, he is involved in a local initiative in Chicagoland area that is focused on teaching the kids in the community about Kashmir History, heritage, language etc. so they are connected to and proud of their roots.

Sudeshji feels honored and privileged to represent Zone 7 at the national level and is committed to serving our community with zeal and passion.

Nirja Sadhu, NJ
Program Director
KOA
Membership Drive 

Objective

  • To actively seek membership

Profile

Nirja SadhuNirja Sadhu was born and brought up in Rainawari, Kashmiri She received her master’s degree in botany from Kashmir University. Like a lot of other KPs, she was forced to migrate from Srinagar after the Jan 19, 1990 events. She lived in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi until 2000, before moving to Dubai for a year. New Jersey has been home to Nirja and her family since 2002.

She had been involved in the cause of Kashmiri migrant teachers while living in Delhi, and in recent years has played an active role in the temple reconstruction projects in Kashmir.

She has a strong desire to bring the members of the US Kashmiri community together for social, cultural and networking purposes. Nirja is looking forward to working closely with the NJ-PA community to make KOA more meaningful and responsive to all age groups, especially our youth members.

Suresh Sus, NC
Program Director
Oversight – India-Based Programs

Objective

  • To assist in India-based programs and create guidelines for operations of these programs

Profile

Suresh SusSuresh Sus was born and raised (Nave Sadek, Nursing Garh) in Srinagar Kashmir. He went to school at Hindu High School, Sheetalnath, and then on to DAV Higher Secondary School, Hazoori Bagh. Married to Phoola Ogra, the couple migrated to US in 1976. They have two sons – Neel and Nikhel (Nik).

Suresh and Phoola are part of a thriving KP community in the Research Triangle Area, (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC) and have supported and participated in the cultural and social activities, in this area and within Zone 6. He was recognized for starting the Eastern NC Chapter of KOA Zone 6 in 2010, and was first elected to KOA Board of Directors, in May of 2013.

Sanjay Dhar, Southern CA
Program Director
Oversight – India-Based Programs

Profile

Dr. Sanjay DharDr. Sanjay Dhar has been in US for last 17 years and lives in Irvine, CA. Prior to settling down in California, he lived in Bethesda, MD and Boston, MA. He has been involved in community activities for a long time. He has previously served as the Membership Director of KOAUSA. He and his wife Jyoti successfully organized a Kashmir Awareness Event in Irvine, CA highlighting the genocide and mass migration of Kashmiri Pandits.Dr. Dhar is a scientist by profession with doctorate in molecular biology. His research is currently focused on the therapeutic applications of stem cell regenerative technology. Besides, he has been an avid sportsperson as well, and has represented the State of Jammu & Kashmir in Cricket at various levels (Ranji Trophy, C.K Naidu under-22 and Cooch Behar under-19) and Badminton (Junior Nationals). He also represented and led the Kashmir University Cricket and Badminton teams on several occasions.