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A panel discussion on ‘Living with COVID-19’ organized by World Malayalee Council (WMC) GA Province

July 2020
A panel discussion on ‘Living with COVID-19’ organized by World Malayalee Council (WMC) GA Province

On Sunday, May 31, the virtual panel discussion on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Government, Economy, Higher Education, Healthcare, and Immigration was eloquently presented by all panelists. Representative Todd Jones, Georgia House of Representatives (District 25), addressed issues regarding impact of COVID-19 on Government, local economy, and testing. He was candid in asserting that it is time that America should continue to lead the world, else someone else will! The audience appreciated him for not talking like a career politician. Mr. Jones acknowledged the contributions by the Indian community in Technology, Education, Health Care, Small Businesses etc.


Professor Dr. Salli Vargis of Georgia State University, Perimeter College and Mr. Sunil Samuel, MBA, Associate Vice President of Enrollment at Hofstra University, New York enlightened the audience on the human toll of the pandemic on students, parents, faculty, and administration. In addition, they also talked about the anticipated changes in higher education in the short and long term. Dr. Vargis together with Mr. Samuel, provided insight into the challenges that higher education is facing, such as instructional modalities, admissions, enrollment, campus life, financial aid, and financial situation of institutions.


Dr. Mitrahs Shiras, MD moved participants to tears as he described how he and his family grappled with COVID-19, especially his 92-year-old mother who was also infected. He narrated the diverse symptoms they faced and was gracious in sharing his learning from his practice in the clinics and retirement homes in New Jersey. He gave simple but important strategies that one could use to survive the pandemic and be prepared for any eventuality.

Mr. Shine Williams, an Atlanta resident, extended an emotionally charged personal testimony of his journey through the infection and his miraculous survival with the help of his faith and prayers of family and friends.

Esq. Sharmila Nambiar, Immigration and Family Attorney, of Atlanta addressed many burning concerns pertaining to the impact that various categories of immigrants and visa holders face with the pandemic. She discussed uncertainties that international students on F1 visas, highly skilled H1-B professionals in Technology, Education, Healthcare, and Small Businesses face during the pandemic.

The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Alfred John, WMC Advisory Board Chair & Chairman, Zoning Board of Appeals, Forsyth County. The event began with a welcome note by Prof. George Vargis, WMC GA Province Chairman, and concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr. Anil Augustine, General Secretary. Under the exemplary leadership of all WMC, this inaugural event was planned, organized, and conducted with finesse by Atlanta Province members listed above as well as President Mr. Prakash Joseph, Treasurer Mr. Joseph Varghese, Mr. Sam T. Samuel, VP (Public Relations), Mr. Romeo Thomas, Joint Secretary, Mr. Shyam Krishna, Chair Youth Forum and Mr. John Mathai, Chair Social.

Incorporated in New Jersey under the aegis of former Chief Election Commissioner of India T. N. Seshan in 1995, World Malayalee Council (WMC) aims at creating a dynamic link between the Keralites around the world and the motherland, enhancing and empowering the social capital of the community, and inculcating the core values of diversity and excellence. WMC has six regions and a total of 63 provinces around the world. The Atlanta Province had its origin in December 2019.


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