To mark 75 years of India’s independence, a set of 75 Achievers Honours will celebrate the outstanding contribution of students and alumni within the UK-India corridor.
Formally launched at the UK Parliament this week by the National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK in partnership with the British Council in India as part of their year-long “India/UK Together Season of Culture”, the honours to be whittled down through a nominations process are backed by the UK government’s Department for International Trade (DIT).
UK Minister for Exports Marcus Fysh said: “The UK’s higher education system has a proud reputation and is one of our most valuable exports.
“Our International Education Strategy commits to sustainably growing education exports to £35 billion by 2030, with India as one of the five priority markets.”
The India UK Achievers Honours launch was hosted by Lord Karan Bilimoria, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Students and President of the UK Council of International Student Affairs, and Virendra Sharma, veteran Labour MP and Chair of the Indo-British APPG.
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Lord Bilimoria said: “The Indian Institute of Technology are now opening abroad and we at Birmingham are talking to one of them and there is a very good chance that we will have an IIT campus within Birmingham University. Can you imagine the research and exchange of students?”
Virendra Sharma added: “Young students are the future leaders of the world, and they are the visionaries who will strengthen the ties between India and the UK.”
The honours come as the two countries negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA), which is expected to enhance opportunities for Indian students to study in the UK and boost collaboration in fields such as pharmaceuticals and life sciences.
“This campaign is incredibly timely... We take for granted the huge benefits international students bring to us. They bring in not just economic and social benefits but international students form friendships that we hope go on to form ties of trade, commerce and diplomacy,” said Lord Jo Johnson, former UK universities minister, who called for greater two-way student exchanges.
NISAU UK Chair Sanam Arora said: “In this 75th anniversary year of Indian independence and the 10th anniversary of the NISAU, our aim is to celebrate the achievements of Indian students and alumni and inspire future generations of learners to use their global education to contribute to nation-building in India and for the wider global good.
Indian students and alumni of British education institutions can nominate themselves and others under five categories:
Business & Entrepreneurship
Government, Politics, Law & Society
Education, Science & Innovation
Media & Journalism
Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Sports
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As per the criteria for entry, nominees must be under 49 years of age by August 2023 and hold an Indian passport during the year of study in the UK.
The nominations will then undergo a rigorous selection process by an eminent jury drawn from several leading UK universities including the University of Oxford, London School of Economics, King's College London, Imperial College London, SOAS and University of Reading. The results of the application process will be unveiled at a gala ceremony at the British High Commissioner’s residence in New Delhi on December 10.
*Nominations: Achievers Showcase