Meet IFM's President
Dr. Rajarathnam (Raj) S. Aluri
Raj Aluri is the founder and President of the
Festival. He is
also the founder and president of the
Agape English Language
A native of India, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masterís degree in Political Science from the Osmania University, Hyderabad, India in 1973 and 1976. In September of 1976, Dr. Aluri came to the United States as an international student to pursue further studies in International Relations at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. While there, he earned a Master of Arts degree in International Studies in 1979, a Masterís degree in Media Arts in 1982, and a Doctorate of Education in 1987.
Drawing on his familyís missionary background, Dr. Aluri, founded the International Friendship Ministries in 1981 with the cooperation of several Columbia-area churches. The ministry provides spiritual fellowship for international students and other internationals living in the United States.
Knowing firsthand the difficulties international students face in the area of communications when they first arrive in the United States, Dr. Aluri founded the Agape English Language Institute in 1993. Now, ten years later, that institute provides instruction in English-as-a-Second Language to international students & internationals in Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina. An English school was also started in Okayama, Japan
In 1996, the Columbia International Festival, a ten-year dream of Dr. Aluri, became a reality. Since then, the Columbia International Festival has become an annual event and one of the largest indoor cultural and international events in the southeastern United States attracting nearly 20,000 people annually. The event brings all of the areaís international communities together to build a better community and race relations between various ethnic, cultural, language groups and South Carolina communities at large. The festival showcases the music, culture, food and performing arts of the various cultures, nationalities, races, and language groups represented in South Carolina.
Dr. Aluri is married to Katherine Grace Huschilt of Windsor, Ontario. They have six children: Lydia, James, Paul, Lilian, John, and Mark. Dr. Aluri and his family reside in Columbia, South Carolina.
610 Pickens St, Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 799-3452 Fax: (803) 252-5500