Worcester, UK, 29th May, 2013
A two day annual convention of the European Manipuri Association (EMA), Annual Social Gathering and General Body Meeting has just concluded on 27th May 2013. The convention began from the evening of the 25th at the Highball Country Centre which is an attractive Victorian building at Worcester, near Birmingham.
This is one of the most scenic holiday sites in the midlands of England, United Kingdom, very popular for walkers and rock climbers. Like every year members and friends of European Manipuri Association from different countries of Europe attended this year’s two days gathering, making it another great congregation of Manipuri Diasporas in Europe. Once again it proves the importance of EMA’s platform which serves as the “Home Away From Home” for families of Manipur origin living in Europe.
The 25th of May evening began with an informal introductory session around a sun baked BBQ sponsored by Thoiba Thoudam a senior member and a foody. Continuing EMA’s effort to bring a sense of togetherness and pride of being Manipuri origin a patriotic Manipuri Song ” Ho Ima Poknafam Ima Nang-gumbi Leiroi Ima” sung by EMA members opened the formal morning session of the 26th of May which touched the hearts of many who were present in the session.
As the two years stint of the executive committee came to an end, the Chairperson, Mr. Okram Bishwajit thanked the secretaries and the members for their wonderful contributions towards EMA’s progress during the last two years. As a gesture of appreciation Somorendro Khangembam, General Secretary, Pinky Hijam , Finance Secretary and Tiken Laishram, Information secretary were honoured with mementoes by senior members Nilomani Naoroibam, Bisharda Angom and the Chairperson respectively.
Tens and hundreds of messages were also received wishing good luck for the event from members and non members alike. The Chief Minister of Manipur, Okram Ibobi Singh also sent a goodwill message for the event and for the Manipuri Diasporas in Europe. The message read out by a senior member Gune Mayanglangbam says, “I look forward that the said gathering will be an ideal forum for the Manipuris living , serving and studying abroad to get to know and help each other, and put their heads together to bring about a better Manipur Society in the years to come.”
EMA members thank the Honourable CM of Manipur for this encouraging message.
EMA Annual Social Gathering and General Body Meeting, 25th – 27th May 2013
This was immediately followed by discussion on the topic ‘How to make EMA a stronger community!’. Many senior members expressed the need to look after and extent the best possible help to the Manipuri Diasporas who are in need of any help living across the Europe. The need for a well laid out strategy for EMA to progress further to a next level was also critically discussed. EMA’s Blooming Manipur initiative, supports in the London Olympic 2012 and the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, 2014 in Scotland, Ima Keithel cleaning drive, other environmental and human rights movement issues of Manipur were also discussed and appreciated by the members.
Everyone pledged their support to any of such future endeavours by EMA. The meeting progressed with discussions on various topics with special focus on the importance of larger participation from different ethnic communities of Manipur on EMA platform which was welcomed by members with enormous constructive inputs. Lien Gangte from UK re-emphasised the pressing need for an urgent framework to increase inclusivity in EMA among various ethnic community as he cited the present state of Manipuri society.
As the year falls for election, EMA members unanimously requested the present committee to continue their good work for another 2 more years however, owing to personal circumstances, Finance and Information secretary had to resign and the two were replaced by two new elected members:
The unanimously re-elected, elected and appointed new members of the Executive Committee 2013-2015 are:
1) Chairperson: Mr. Okram Bishwajit from the Republic of Ireland (Re-elected)
2) General Secretary: Mr. Khangembam Somorendro from Germany (Re-elected)
3) Finance Secretaries: Mrs.Rajyalakshmi Downes from London, UK (newly elected)
4) Information Secretary: Mr.Nabakumar Salam from UK (newly elected)
5) Cultural Co-ordinator: Ms Promila Devi Sutharsan Huidrom from Norway (newly appointed)
6) General support co-ordinator: Andrew Nangsha (newly appointed)
The election was followed by a well elaborated luncheon consisting of authentic and mouth-watering Manipuri dishes, members had a good time throughout the evening. Children of Manipuri Diasporas organised a photo exhibition with directions and guidance from Dr Bishwajit Elangbam showing both unique Manipuri classical and contemporary pictures.
The objective was to recast and reflect Manipur in the past and in the present. The excellent weather and the beautiful 18 degree UK summer sun made the venue more conducive for outdoor sporting events like football, walking, hiking and other outdoor fun games. It started with a friendly foot ball match between two team formed: Chairperson Vs General secretary. Chairperson won the match by 8-5 goals. This was followed by hill walks and sight seeing of the beautiful Great Malvern, various entertainment programmes of music , comedy skid, solo classical songs and a fund raising bingo at the end.
This year’s EMA social gathering came to an end in the morning of the 27th of May, after a community breakfast and a visit to the beautiful heritage village of Upper Slaughter in the Cotswold district of England. The organising committee of EMA ASG 2013 would like to thank everyone who had contributed, irrespective of their physical presence, towards a memorable and successful gathering.
The committee specially thank the women members who took the pain and responsibility of preparing and cooking the Manipuri delicacies during the two days stay. On behalf of the Association, the Executive Committee requests all the people of Manipur origin living across Europe, of any belief, ideology and ethnicity, to be part of the larger EMA family and support EMA in achieving its goal.
(Outgoing) Information Secretary,
European Manipuri Association, UK