Suriname Prez, Curacao PM, NZ Minister Among 30 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees
File photo: Suriname's new President Chan Santokhi addresses the audience after receiving the presidential sash from outgoing President Desi Bouterse, in Paramaribo, Suriname July 16, 2020. REUTERS/Ranu Abhelakh
Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, Curacao Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath and New Zealand minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan were among 30 NRIs, and Indian-origin people and organisations who were conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award on Saturday. President Ram Nath Kovind, who delivered the valedictory address on the third and final day of the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations, presented the awards at a virtual event.
The award is the highest honour conferred by the President of India as part of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conventions on a Non-Resident Indian (NRI), Person of Indian Origin (PIO), and organisation or institution established and run by NRIs or PIOs. Rhuggenaath, Santokhi and Radhakrishnan were awarded for their public service.
Mukhesh Aghi, president and CEO of US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, was also among the awardees. In an acceptance speech on behalf of all awardees, Aghi said this award represents the very best of India from all over the world linking our 'janambhumi' (homeland) with our 'karambhumi' (the country where one works).
"The Indian diaspora is changing the world in a gentle way. From Sciences to Academia, Arts, Politics, Philanthropy and even Hollywood, the range of contribution for the diaspora community has been immense. "This community is crucial to building people-to-people ties across the world. They promote a better understanding of India, its rich culture and diversity," he said.
The awardees also included Dr. Rajani Chandra D'Mello (Azerbaijan), Baburajan Vava Kalluparambil Gopalan (Bahrain), Jamal Ahmad (Botswana), Janakiraman Ravikumar (Cameroon), Debashish Chaudhuri (Czech Republic), Mohammed Husein Hasanali Sardharwala (Ethiopia), Balasubramanian Ramani (Germany), Lal Lokumal Chellaram (Hong Kong), Dr. (Prof.) Muralidhar Miryala (Japan), Rajib Shaw (Japan), Salil Panigrahi (Maldives), Ravi Prakash Singh (Mexico), Mohan Thomas Lazarus Pakalomattom (Qatar), Arvind Phukan (US), Nilu Gupta (US) and Sudhakar Jonnalagadda (US). Four organisations — NGO Cultural Diversity for Peaceful Future in Armenia, Sai Prema Foundation in Fiji, Indian Cultural Association in Nigeria, Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — were also awarded for community service and their work for promoting cultural ties.
A Jury-cum-Awards Committee with Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu as the chairman and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar as the vice chair and other distinguished members from various walks of life considered the nominations for the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards, 2021, and unanimously selected the awardees, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement. "The awardees represent the vibrant excellence achieved by our diaspora in various fields. Several countries have been represented for the first time among the awardees," it said.