Coalition Language Representative

Language representative photo

Sornam Sankar, Ph.D., is a native Tamil speaker who, along with 2 others, founded the first 100% volunteer-run community-based weekend school in Maryland, TALENT (Tamil Language Education and Training). He has been teaching Tamil language for middle and high school level students for the past 17 years.

When his daughter started going to public school at around age 6, he realized that she was going to lose her mother tongue, Tamil, which is one of the 7 classical languages in the world that is still spoken and has retained most of the vocabulary from its classical form. He decided to start a community-based school and also create an immersion environment by volunteering his whole family for most Tamil-related activities in this country. His family has been dedicating most of their leisure time to many organizations like American Tamil Academy, Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America, Washington Tamil Sangam, Tamil Nadu Foundation, International Educational Foundation, International Medical Health Organization, Tamil Media International, and International Forum for Information Technology in Tamil. Currently he is serving as the secretary of the Trust organization called Tamil Chair Inc., which successfully raised $6 million to establish a permanent Tamil Department at Harvard University, Boston.

Dr. Sankar holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, and later received a M.S. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He is currently working as Vice President of Architecture in a multinational bank. He is also exploring development of community-based resources for teaching Tamil and training teachers in the United States to teach it. 


Rajaram Srinivasan served as a President of Tamil Sangam of Greater Washington, a non-profit international cultural and language organization, from 2017 to 2018 and as Director of the Tamil Sangam of Greater Washington board from 2014 to 2019. He successfully organized and celebrated the official Thai Pongal, recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2018 via Valluvan Tamil Academy. He has coordinated several Tamil Arts and Cultural programs and Tamil scholars’ and artists’ toursto the U.S. to exchange Tamil tradition and heritage in the U.S.

He served as a volunteer with the Maryland Tamil Academy (MTA), a non-profit organization for educating students in Tamil classical language and culture since 2010, and they have established a Foreign Language general elective credit system for Classical Tamil Language with Montgomery County Public Schools for high school students to obtain General Elective Credit and the state of Maryland Seal of Biliteracy.

He served as a Delegate (Representative of tristate Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia) at the Federation of Tamil Association of North America (FeTNA), from 2019 to 2023, and as a volunteer at the 10th International Association for Tamil Research (IATR) Conference in Chicago. He helped with travel arrangements for all of the Tamil scholars who traveled from all over the world to attend the conference in 2019. He proudly represents the American Tamil community at the Embassy of India in Washington DC and coordinates community collaboration and support systems with the Embassy officials.

He has served as a Coordinator for the 1st official visit of the Government of Tamil Nadu, India to the United States to launch the “Yaadhum Oore” program in 2019, to promote Tamil Nadu as the best state in India for investment and job creation opportunities. He has coordinated with the government of Tamil Nadu officials, Embassy of India, Consulate General offices in New York and San Francisco, American Tamil Community via FeTNA , and the investment community for a successful launch of the program in New York and San Francisco.

He was born and grew up in a rural village of Silamalai near the western Ghats of Theni District, Tamil Nadu, India. He studied at the village government school until high school and then graduated in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Bharathiyar University, Government College of Technology in Coimbatore. He is an Engineering graduate and Facilities Management professional, with 29 years of engineering experience and 25 years of experience in the Facility and Asset Management of Hospitality industry. He has worked with Marriott International for 22 years as a Director of Engineering. He loves to engage in community service, travel, hiking, and music. 

Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2019