An annual convention of Telugus of North America will feature what is considered Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's secret campaign weapon - her husband and former US president Bill Clinton.
Clinton will deliver the opening keynote address at the 16th conference of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) in Washington on July 5, association president Hanumaiah Bandla announced. "This is a historic event."
Clinton's appearance at the TANA event comes just after they end a three-day swing through the crucial early voting state of Iowa, which kicks off the presidential nominating race in less than seven months. The former president will introduce the New York senator at a string of appearances across the state and walk with her in a July 4 holiday parade.
Bill Clinton has limited his appearances at his wife's campaign so far to fundraising to keep her centre stage. Hillary Clinton is hoping the former president will help galvanise Democratic support in Iowa, where she has trailed rivals John Edwards and Barack Obama in some state polls despite holding a solid lead in national polls.
"We are honoured to have President Clinton deliver the opening keynote, as he is an inspiration to all of us, especially our young people and we are fortunate to have an opportunity to listen to and see him in person," Bandla said.
Clinton is well respected and highly regarded by the Indian American community. He made a great connection with Telugu people from all over the world when he visited Hyderabad in 2000 during his visit to India as president, Bandla said.
Other prominent attendees at this year's TANA conference include former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandra Babu Naidu, Andhra Heavy Industries Minister J Geetha Reddy and Daggupati Purandhareshwari, India's minister of state for human resources.
The three-day TANA conference from July 5-7 is expected to attract 10,000 Telugu people from all walks of life including businessmen, politicians, artists, intellectuals, writers and film stars.
The business seminar at TANA includes panels on biotech/pharma/healthcare, IT/outsourcing, and infrastructure/real estate featuring some of the prominent business and technology leaders amongst the NRI Telugus as well as those from Andhra Pradesh.
TANA is a 30 year-old non-profit social and cultural organisation to preserve and promote the Telugu language and culture. The Telugu community is one of the most successful immigrant communities in North America with members excelling as physicians, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, educators and IT professionals.