London, February 24: Virendra Sharma, One of Britain’s senior-most Indian-origin MPs, has been chosen as the first recipient of Dr Stya Paul Memorial Award for his “outstanding contribution” regarding India-UK ties.
The award was received by the Labour party MP for Ealing Southall at a ceremony in London on Wednesday from NRI industrialist and the younger brother of Indian educationist Dr Stya Paul, Lord Swaraj Paul.
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“It is a great honour to receive this award in memory of Dr Stya Paul, who hails from the same town in India as me ? Jalandhar,” Sharma was quoted as saying at the third annual Indo-UK Thought Leadership Awards.
The event which was organised by Great Place to Study (GPTS) Research Institute, an international auditing firm for Indian colleges and UK-based consultancy Sterling Media, is an annual program that celebrates achievements in the field of economic development and education.
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Deputy High Commissioner of India to the UK, Dinesh Patnaik, put the focus on the importance of education to the India-UK relationship.
According to him, “It is vital that education acts as a great link between the two countries. However, over the years, the number of Indian students coming to the UK to study has fallen down from 40,000 to 16,000”.
“While this is not a loss to India, considering they have other welcome options such as the US, Canada, Germany or Australia, where numbers seem to swell, it is certainly a setback for working and expanding on the historical UK-India ties. Students and academia play a great role in cementing this relationship,” he added.
According to PTI reports, The Global Icon Award for 2017 was awarded to Rajesh Agrawal, Londons Indian-origin Deputy Mayor for Business.
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In his acceptance speech, he stated, “London is a city of dreams, where one can achieve anything. My story is a testimonial to that, I grew up from a small town in India (Indore) and stepped out for the first time abroad, and landed in Heathrow with 200 pounds in my pocket back in 2001”.
The list of the other key award-winners includes dignitaries like Dame Asha Khemka, principal and CEO of West Nottinghamshire College, for “outstanding contribution to Indo-UK academic relations”; Centre of Excellence Award to the head of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Shaunaka Rishi Das; Lord Pauls niece Sushma Paul Berlia, chairperson & president of Apeejay Svran Group & Apeejay Education Society, for “outstanding contribution in Indian education & industry” and many more.
According to the explanation of Shekhar A Bhattacharjee, founder of the GPTS Research Institute, “These thought leadership awards are not just about celebrating the leading contributors to sectors like education, business and economic development from both countries, but also building and fostering new relationships between the UK and India.”
– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang