FOKANA launches Washington internship program

National Briefs US

The Federation of Kerala Associations in North America (FOKANA) has launched a summer internship program for Malayalee American students currently enrolled in US colleges and universities.

The program will allow selected students to work in congressional and other federal offices in Washington, DC, for several weeks, while earning credits. FOKANA will provide a stipend to the interns, according to a press release.

“Our goal is to develop a generation of leaders from the Malayalee community in the United States and equip them to serve the nation for decades to come,” said Dr. Babu Stephen, President of FOKANA.

“The interns will get an inside view of how the federal government works and they will get to serve alongside some of the finest minds in politics and public service.”

“Malayalees have made substantial contributions to the American society in a broad range of fields, including healthcare and technology,” said Dr. Stephen, who was elected president of FOKANA last summer.

“However, the community has been behind in political engagement, compared to many other immigrant groups. As a result, we have been punching below our weight, politically,” he said. “FOKANA, the oldest and most influential Malayalee group in North America, wants to fill the lacuna.”

The Washington, DC-based entrepreneur said the internship is one of a series of measures that the organization will be undertaking during his two-year presidency to increase the political participation among members of the community.

“As the adage goes, if you are not at the table, you will be on the menu,” Dr. Stephen said.

More details about the internship program and the application process are available on the organization’s website,, said Dr. Kala Shahi, the Secretary of FOKANA.

Those interested may also contact Nisha Eric, Director of FOKANA Internship, via email at, or by phone at 901-239-0556.