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Indian-American is US envoy to Belize

world Updated: Jun 13, 2009 02:35 IST
Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar
Hindustan Times
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US President Barack Obama has named Vinai Thummalapally, an Indian-American businessman and a former college friend who raised over $100,000 for his campaign, as ambassador to the central American nation of Belize.

Colorado-based Thumma-lapally was among the ‘Top Indian-American Bundlers’ — people who gather contributions from many individuals, who are not allowed to contribute more than $2300 for each election, and present the sum to the campaign — during the presdential poll.

“Americans will be fortunate to have these distinguished men and women as their representatives abroad,” the US president said of the ten people who were named envoys Thursday according to a White House announcement.

Thummalapally, “a former California State University student who became friendly with Obama in college, remembered him as a model of moderation — jogging in the morning, playing pickup basketball at the gym, hitting the books and socialising,” the New York Times wrote during the presidential campaign.

“If someone passed him a joint, he would take a drag. We'd smoke or have one extra beer, but he would not even do as much as other people on campus,” recounted Thummalapally, Times said. “He was not even close to being a party animal.”

According the the White House announcement, Thummalapally is the president of MAM-A Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of recordable optical discs