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Inaugural JAIHO Event at WIU April 27: 2013 Focus is Cricket

April 17, 2013


MACOMB, IL – Thanks to Western Illinois University Professor Emeritus Subhash Jani and his family, members of the WIU and Macomb communities will be able to learn more about the sport of cricket later this month. The inaugural Jani International Sporting Event, or JAIHO, is slated to take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 27 at Western's Vince Grady Field.

According to Michael Jones, development director for WIU's School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach, the event will be open free to the public and will feature instruction and demonstrations by WIU's cricket club. Free pizza and drinks will be provided, and attendees will have the opportunity to win gift certificates from the University Bookstore.

The annual event is intended to provide a sports venue to promote international awareness and understanding between Western Illinois University and Macomb High School (MHS) students, and to engage the community at large. Participants will come from the local and international communities of WIU, MHS and other schools in the area, including participants with special needs or disabilities. Western's Center for International Studies (CIS) will oversee the event, which will alternate between a U.S. and international sport or game, either indoors or outdoors, for the annual focus.

JAIHO is Hindi for "May Victory Prevail," and the title of the Academy Award winning theme song from the 2008 film "Slumdog Millionaire." The Jani family felt it was an appropriate term for the sentiment of the event.

"The Jani International Sporting Event is the Jani family's token of appreciation for the many gestures of friendship and memories that the town and gown members have provided us, especially during the time our children were in the Macomb schools," said Subhash.

"The community has been very good to us," added his wife, Linda. "Our children gained so much from their sports experiences, so we hope that this activity will foster lasting friendships and leave participants with the memory of the richness of our global cultures."

Subhash and Linda, together with their grown children, the late Shanti, Krishna, Jayshree and Raam, wanted to develop a program with enduring value that would incorporate their backgrounds, pay tribute to what made their family better citizens, promote town/gown cohesion, while "making our town a better place." The entire family favored the idea of fostering "collaborative competitiveness," something they all experienced and benefitted from.

"I was born in India, lived in Tanzania and educated in England before coming to the United States," said Subhash. "I came to the USA with a total of $600 in graduate assistantship funds for nine months, and the sacrifice and empowerment of my parents. I was a beneficiary of the caste system and experienced the negativity of segregation. Sports are a great unifier to the paths of justice."

"A sporting event blends our areas of interest," Linda continued. "Our children gained so much from participating in team sports growing up, where there was certainly competitiveness, but team spirit was such a big part of the experience. We like the focus on inclusion."

Subhash and Linda met at an international dinner while they both were at Purdue University. Linda had served in Vietnam with Catholic Relief Services, and both were interested in international and cross-cultural opportunities for others. They came to Macomb in 1971. Subhash was a member of the Department of Special Education faculty, served as secretary of the Faculty Senate and as UPI chapter president before retiring in 2000. He is also a freelance optometrist. Linda is a member of the McDonough County Board, and has been active in the schools and community; she is retired from teaching at Spoon River College.

"The JAIHO Sports Event is a great addition to the programming that the Center for International Studies offers. We are excited that this event will connect our students to young people in the community," said Rick Carter, director of the School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach.

"The University community is grateful for the Janis' generosity and creativity," said Vice President for Advancement and Public Services Brad Bainter. "The campus and community have been strengthened through the years by the Jani family's interest and involvement, and this endowment will carry that influence into perpetuity."

For more information about the April 27 JAIHO event, contact Jones at (309) 298-2356 or via email at MJ-Jones2@wiu.edu.

Posted By: Julie Murphy, WIU Foundation, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606