Former Indian civil servant and current Secretary General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Dr Alwyn Didar Singh has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham, UK. Dr Singh was named Doctor of the University (DUniv) on Wednesday 17 July in the University’s historic Great Hall, in the presence of hundreds of graduands and their families.

Prior to his role with India’s largest business chamber, Dr Singh was Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. He has also served as Finance Member for the National Highways Authority of India, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Heavy Industries and before that he worked in the Ministry of Commerce with responsibilities for foreign trade.

Dr Singh is a member of the Global Agenda Council on Migration of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and received a Community Service award for his service to the Indian diaspora by the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO).

An internationally known expert in E-commerce, trade and migration, Dr Singh has undertaken several studies in the area of ICT strategy and E-commerce for international agencies including the International Trade Centre, the World Health Organization, South Centre, Geneva and the Commonwealth Secretariat, London. He also has three books and several publications to his credit.


Dr A. Didar Singh is already an alumnus of the University of Birmingham, being awarded a Masters in Development Administration in 1996. Prior to this he received a Bachelors and Masters from St. Stephens College, Delhi University and he followed his Birmingham education by completing the first PhD in India on the Policy and Administration of E-commerce at Panjab University, Chandigarh.

On receiving his honorary degree from the University of Birmingham, Dr A. Didar Singh said:

“To me this honour is very special. I already have a doctorate degree from my own country – in fact it happens to be the first ever PhD in E-commerce in India. But, this is ever more special as it is recognition and honour from a University overseas and that too from the United Kingdom – in a sense the mother of higher education for the world.”

Dr Singh offered this advice to the Birmingham graduands as they look to their future:

“This University has taught you to learn. Never stop!”