University Chancellor Named International Indian of the Year and Appointed President of UKCISA

Lord Karan Bilimoria of Chelsea, the Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, has been awarded the title of International Indian of the Year by India Link International, a magazine for Indian diaspora published in the UK.

Lord-BilimoriaThe magazine celebrated its 21st anniversary with its annual awards ceremony, at which the Indian Deputy High Commissioner, Dr Virander Paul, was a special guest. Alongside Lord Bilimoria’s award, a number of other accolades were presented, including International Indian Promoting Community Relations Worldwide, International Indian Business Woman of the Year and International Indian Young Entrepreneur of the Year. The most prestigious award of International Indian of the year 2014-2015 was bestowed to Lord Karan Bilimoria, who also gave the annual lecture.

Lord Bilimoria was nominated and selected by a panel consisting of India Link International’s lifelong patrons and Chairman, Dr S P Sharma and Chief Editor, Krishan Ralleigh.

Lord Bilimoria commented: ‘I am immensely humbled that my work and experience has been recognised in such a flattering manner. The Indian community in the UK is a vibrant and collaborative network of hard working, ambitious and inspirational people, and so to be selected as International Indian of the Year is something I will truly cherish.’

Lord Bilimoria’s award comes in the same week that he has been announced as the new President of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). Lord Bilimoria will replace Baroness Usha Prashar, as she steps down having served the maximum term of nine years.

This is the latest in a string of Higher Education roles held by Lord Bilimoria. As well as being Chancellor, the entrepreneur and independent crossbench peer is a member of the University of Birmingham Business School Advisory Board. Elsewhere, Lord Bilimoria is a Member of the Advisory Boards of the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, as well as the Cranfield School of Management.

Born in Hyderabad, and educated in India – where he graduated at age 19, Lord Bilimoria has first-hand experience as an international student in the UK, having continued his education at what is now London Metropolitan University and at the University of Cambridge, where he graduated in Law.

In addition to his work as Founding Chairman of the UK-India Business Council, strengthening business ties between India and the UK, Lord Bilimoria speaks frequently on the subjects of immigration, higher education, entrepreneurship, economic growth, diplomacy and defence, among other topics, in the House of Lords.

Lord Bilimoria commented:

‘Britain’s universities are among the finest in world and international students make a vast contribution to the richness of student life in the UK, as well as to our economy – international students add £14 billion to the UK economy and make our higher education sector one of our largest and most successful exports. The strength of the UK’s higher education sector is clear to see on the world stage with one in every seven world leaders being educated in a UK university.

‘I am very pleased with all the work that UKCISA does to best represent the voice and mass of the international student body, particularly as I was an international student. I am enormously grateful to have been given the opportunity to lay down roots in the UK, where I found a second home, an open-armed welcome from the student community, and a chance to make an economic contribution to this country after I founded Cobra Beer. International students build generational long links with the UK, such as in my case where I was the third generation of both sides of my family to be educated here in Britain.

‘This appointment enables me to fully support the UKCISA manifesto and make a full commitment to speaking on behalf of Britain’s talented international student community in Westminster, in Whitehall, to the UK business community and around the world. In my new role I hope to represent our bright young people from overseas and to urge the Government to reconsider its strategy towards those who have travelled from all over the world to learn in our world-class universities.

‘Britain urgently needs more skilled and talented graduates, yet its disparaging rhetoric towards immigrants among those in power, paired with our Home Secretary’s refusal to remove students from immigration targets, broadcasts the wrong message to those hoping to study here. As a result, we have seen members of the international student community turn its back on Britain in vast numbers. I aim to do all I can to turn this worrying trend around by promoting the huge benefits of studying in Britain’s great universities and pushing for talented and highly skilled students to be able to stay in Britain after graduation, through schemes like the two year post study work visa – which should be reintroduced. These measures will benefit international students, while strengthening the British economy and making Britain a hub for knowledge, skills and business.’

ENDS

Notes to Editors

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  • Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, CBE, DL, was installed as the University of Birmingham’s seventh Chancellor on 17 July 2014. Lord Bilimoria is the first Indian born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in England.
  • The Chancellor acts as the ceremonial figurehead of the University and has an important ambassadorial role, working with the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Chancellor to raise the University’s profile and advance its interests nationally and internationally.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked among the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 4,000 international students from 150 countries.
  • The University welcomed the first Indian students to its campus in 1909 to study for degrees in mining and commerce. Since then the University has provided education to more than 1,300 Indian alumni. The University opened a representative office in New Delhi in 2009. From this base in India, the University can understand the needs and aspirations of Indian institutions, maintain partnerships with the public and private sector, support its alumni, and provide local services to those students who wish to come and study at Birmingham.