Raghav Chadha spoke of his "unflinching spirit of serving India" in his acceptance speech.
Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Raghav Chadha, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla, and Indian women's football team goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan were among key recipients of the first-ever India UK Outstanding Achiever Honours in London.
The India UK Achievers Honours conferred at an awards ceremony on Wednesday night have been created by the National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK in partnership with the British Council in India and the UK's Department for International Trade (DIT) to celebrate the achievements of Indian students who studied at British universities.
To mark 75 years of India's independence, the honours covered 75 high achievers and some key Outstanding Achievers who bolster the India-UK diaspora living bridge.
“Fifteen years ago, I was a student at Manchester Business School, an overweight, struggling student, with stars in her eyes of settling down in the UK,” said Ms Chopra, in her acceptance speech.
“But then when I graduated the recession hit in 2009 and I was forced to go back home to India, with life plans crashed. My name Parineeti means destiny and that's exactly what played the most important influence in my life ultimately and I became an actor,” said the actress who has in the past starred in acclaimed films like 'Ishaqzaade' and more recently 'Uunchai'.
Mr Chadha, who studied at the London School of Economics (LSE), spoke of his “unflinching spirit of serving India” as a national executive member of AAP in his speech.
Mr Poonawalla, who studied at the University of Westminster, was honoured from his work in the field of vaccine manufacturing, and Aditi Chauhan, who studied at Loughborough University, was honoured in the field of Sports.
Other “Outstanding Achievers” named at the ceremony included Samir Saran, President of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and an alumnus of Anglia Ruskin University, journalist Marya Shakil, alumnus of Birmingham City University, and senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy, alumnus of the University of Oxford.
“Latest statistics from last year show that more than 120,000 Indian students chose to study in the UK and this number is growing at a CAGR of more than 10 per cent,” said NISAU UK Chair Sanam Arora.
“We are very intimately aware of the sheer impact that Indians who have studied in the UK are having not just in India, but worldwide. It is something we have felt is not celebrated enough and internationally educated students are almost always talked about in numbers. These honours are an attempt to take the conversation beyond numbers and data,” she said.
The 75 achievers were chosen from over 1,000 applications by an eminent jury made up of educational experts.
“The 75 individuals will help us to illustrate why international education is precious and matters and why we should fight to preserve it,” said Vivienne Stern, CEO of Universities UK and jury member.
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