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31 December 2022

New Year honours: Professor Partha Dasgupta leads British Asian recognition with Knights Grand Cross award

A Cambridge professor who is a leading global figure in the economics of the natural environment, Professor Sir Partha Sarathi Dasgupta; COP-26 president Alok Sharma and drinks company Diageo’s CEO Ivan Menezes are among prominent Asians who have been recognised in the New Year Honour’s List published late last Friday (30).

Professor Dasgupta has been recognised with the rare honour of the Knights Grand Cross for his services to economics and to the natural environment.

The accomplished Cambridge academic has led academic leadership into international government programmes to measure sustainable growth.

He won the coveted GG2 Hammer Award at the GG2 Leadership Awards, hosted by Garavi Gujarat newsweekly, a sister title of Eastern Eye, in March this year.

Former minister Sharma was recognised with a knighthood for his services to tackling climate change with the Order of St Michael and St George.

Menezes also received a knighthood.

Professor Dasgupta’s research interests have covered welfare and development economics, the economics of technological change, population, environmental and resource economics, the theory of games, the economics of undernutrition, and the economics of social capital.

He told Eastern Eye he is trying to change “the grammar” of economic planning by persuading governments that they need to take into account what is happening to a country’s natural resources. (see interview on page 6)

Dasgupta was named Knight Bachelor in 2002 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Responding to his recognition, Sharma said: “I am humbled to receive this honour. Delivering the COP26 conference and getting almost 200 countries to agree the Glasgow Climate Pact was a great UK team effort, supported by many of our dedicated civil servants and diplomats around the world.

“However, if we are to keep alive the prospect of limiting average global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, which will help to avert the worst impacts of climate change, all countries need to redouble efforts to meet their climate action commitments.”

Greater Manchester patient care expert, Professor Robina Shahnaz Shah (who received a damehood), Leicestershire GP Dr Mayur Keshavji Lakhani (knighthood), and National Care Association executive chair Nadra Ahmed (CBE) are among other top recipients recognised for their work.

Shah is considered one of the country’s leading patient care experts and international recommendations she helped develop for the World Health Organisation (WHO) were adopted as a set of standards for the UK.

She established the first national patients’ safety ambassadors training programme for NHS Trust Boards. She also set up the first ever UK medical school’s patient partnership collaboration, a network open to 40 medical schools, dedicated to patient centred education.

Twice each year, the honours list recognises the achievements and services of those who have made outstanding contributions to their field or who have dedicated their efforts in service to the community.

Menezes has been chief executive at Diageo since 2013. He joined Diageo in 1997 and held various senior management positions with Guinness, which Diageo manufactures, and was appointed president of Diageo Venture Markets in 2004.

Ahmed has been chairperson of NCA since 2001. She has been involved in the field of social care for over 35 years and until 2005 was the Registered Manager of two private care homes, having developed and run services since 1981.

She has served on government task forces and was the vice chairperson of Skills for Care for 11 years having been appointed at its inception.

Dr Ramesh Mehta, founder of British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), was awarded a CBE for services to equality, diversity and inclusion.

A retired paediatrician, he founded BAPIO in 1996 after he witnessed the struggles of overseas doctors in the NHS.

Dr Mehta told Eastern Eye: “I’m delighted, and more so because it is my work on equality, diversity and inclusion. I’ve been working for inclusion for so many years. This is what I want in the country, equality, and inclusion. And I’m pleased all the hard work I have been doing is now getting recognition.”

For his services to refugee integration, Dr Krish Kandiah, founder of Sanctuary Foundation, was awarded an OBE.

Dr Kandiah launched the Sanctuary Foundation in February 2022 with a rapid response initiative to inspire families, individuals, churches, community groups and businesses to welcome Ukrainian refugees.

In April 2022, the foundation was registered as a charity.

He told Eastern Eye: “It’s a privilege and an honour. I feel like I’m accepting it on behalf of so many people who have been incredibly generous to refugees.

“The passion to help refugees actually came from my mother, and my faith. She came to the UK from India and she faced a lot of racism and abuse as a young woman training to be a nurse. Some of the patients wouldn’t let my mum touch them, they asked for a white nurse.

“She kind of fought a one-woman resistance campaign against racism and xenophobia she experienced by opening our house up on a Friday night, cooking up a massive curry and rice and inviting anyone who didn’t feel like they fit in. It is actually how she met my dad, who was international student from Malaysia, and lots of other students nurses training alongside her from different countries.

“She created this oasis of kindness in the middle of a sea of hostility. And that really set the tone for my childhood.”

Hitan Mehta, executive director, British Asian Trust, was awarded an OBE for services to the community.

Mehta played a leading role in establishing the trust where he was the first ever employee.

He served as head of operations for the Prince’s Charities Events organising commercial activities to raise funds. He has first-hand volunteer experience with the Indian NGOs, the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden, north London.

He told Eastern Eye: “I feel a bit humbled. The work we’ve done at the trust isn’t just me. There’s a whole team of people and supporters who’ve brought all of this together, so I feel a bit humbled that I’ve been singled out for such an award.”

He added: “The British Asian Trust supports disadvantaged people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We’ve helped support seven million people to date in the areas of education, livelihoods, mental health work, child protection work.”

Essex-based Fukhera Khalid, known as Frank, managing director, Elbrook Cash and Carry received an OBE for services to business, charity and to the community in north London.

Khalid told Eastern Eye, “It was a very pleasant surprise. You always hope you get something, because you put years of work. I’ve been doing this since I was 15 years old.

“I told my wife first about it and she was over the moon. My kids were absolutely happy.”

Aneeta Prem, founder and president, Freedom Charity received an MBE for charitable services.

She is known for her work against forced marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), slavery and abuse of women and girls. She was instrumental in ensuring in 2014 that forced marriage was made a criminal offence.

Prem told Eastern Eye, “I receive the honour on behalf of all the team at Freedom charity that have worked tirelessly over the last 12 years to make forced marriage and virginity testing a criminal offence and the work was done with young people in schools. It’s an important day I think for the for the charity, not just myself.”

Asrar Ul-Haq, one of the first Asian police officers in Greater Manchester Police, spent his career building positive relationships between marginalised communities and law enforcement. He received an OBE for bringing together people from different faiths and backgrounds for a common good.

“I am humbled at having been nominated and to have been awarded an OBE. I feel privileged that someone has taken the time to nominate me. I’m excited as I hope this will provide a platform to enhance the work I do and create even greater opportunities for others,” Ul-Haq said.

Asians in the New Year Honours List

Officers of the Order of the British Empire

Fukhera (Frank) Khalid – Managing Director, Elbrook Cash and Carry. For services to Business, to Charity and to the community in North London (Great Warley, Essex)

See source for full list

Source: Eastern Eye