American Institute of Indian Studies

Former AIIS Hindi Student Elected First Indian-American Alderman in Chicago

Former AIIS Hindi Student Elected First Indian-American Alderman in Chicago

Ameya Pawar, who participated in the AIIS Hindi Summer Language Program in Jaipur in 2009, will become Chicago’s very first Indian-American alderman. Mr. Pawar will assume his position as alderman of the 47thWard on the north side of Chicago on May 16, 2011.

Mr. Pawar received a Critical Languages Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State, administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, to participate in the AIIS Hindi Program. He is currently pursuing a masters degree in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and works at Northwestern University as a program assistant in the Office of Emergency Management.

Mr. Pawar, who ran his campaign on a shoestring budget, won an upset victory in the city election on February 22, 2011, defeating the candidate anointed by the outgoing alderman—a candidate who was endorsed by a number of powerful Chicago politicians.

On his web site he notes, “As a State Department Scholar, I learned from some of this country’s brightest minds.  In India, I had many interesting conversations about politics.  One question continually arose: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could just set politics aside for once and focus on what is needed?” It reminded me of many late-night discussions in college, and it renewed the promise of my youthful idealism.  So today I am running for alderman without a political agenda and with a focus on improving the city.”

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