Royal Society of Arts Honours Dr Talwar

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Global charity founder Dr Shamender Talwar inducted into Royal Society of Arts… reports Asian Lite News

Dr Shamender Talwar, a leading social psychologist and co-founder of global charity tuff.earth, has been inducted into The Royal Society of Arts (RSA), two years after surviving a near fatal tumour.

The RSA Fellowship in recognition of Dr Talwar’s outstanding work to make the world a better, kinder place through tuff.earth means he joins the likes of Charles Dickens, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela and David Attenborough and follows his miraculous recovery from paralysis due to Oliogodenglioma.

Dr Shamender Talwar

Formed in 2011 by Dr Talwar and Anna Bornholt-Prior, the tuff.earth mission is to bridge community sectors, organisations and government, rebuilding social integration and global community cohesion. The charity has found support from global leaders and public figures, including Barack Obama; HM Queen Elizabeth II; Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; and His Holiness Pope Francis.

Projects run by Dr Talwar, who hails from Liverpool and is based in London, include assisting Grenfell Tower disaster survivors and firefighters and working with inner city schools which have resulted in at least 50 children being saved from radicalisation. Dr Talwar has continued his work despite nearly dying in 2019, after collapsing during a conference in Iceland.

 “The project I started with my co-founder, Anna Bornholt-Prior is about teaching human values and bringing communities and cultures together through music, sports and arts. We’ve been operating very successfully for the past 10 years in four continents and I’m honoured and delighted to have been invited into the RSA, especially given what happened to me,” said Dr Talwar.

Dr Talwar’s life took a turn on 1 July 2019, his birthday, while giving a presentation on the integration of refugees into Icelandic society at the Reykjavik City Council. During the presentation, he collapsed, blacking out completely and was rushed to hospital.

He said: “When I came round sometime later I was told that I had been pronounced dead and that it was a miracle that I had survived. They had CT scanned my brain and found a tumour the size of a golf ball. It was a condition called Oliogodenglioma which caused complete paralysis on the left side of my body.”

A subsequent MRI scan to determine the extent of the tumour and proposed treatment, doctors reported the astonishing news that the large tumour had completely disappeared.

Dr Talwar said: “It was an incredible situation to be in; to have something the size of a golf ball, that was supposedly in my brain, disappear within four days. I slowly regained my feeling and speech and during that time of recovery, supported by the British Ambassador, Michael Nevin, amongst others, I went through a lot of emotions. I felt I should just cherish every moment because my medical team told me: “Dr Talwar, God’s gone on holiday for you.’”

British Ambassador, Michael Nevin with Dr Shamender Talwar

Following his recovery, [JC1] Dr Talwar travelled to spiritual places in Iceland, India and in the Australian outback and connected with shamans, Aborigines and sages. During his time in India he was included in the Top 100 Indians Of The Decade list and when he returned home he met with the charity’s co-founder, Anna Bornholt-Prior, about creating their latest project, reviving the concept of kindness.

H.H Pope Francis wit Dr Shamender Talwar

Today, Dr Talwar continues his work serving others and the latest project, KIND20, focuses on promoting kindness globally – reaching more than three million people in more than 120 countries to date. Dr Talwar is also heading a Liverpool-based International Song For Kindness Contest in memory of John Lennon and inspired by his peace anthem, Imagine.

Dr Talwar is also now writing a book called ‘God’s gone on holiday’ about his near death experience and his drive to promote kindness across the world.

He said: “Surviving a tumour, paralysis and being pronounced dead has made me even more determined to carry on my work serving humanity. We must cherish every moment and be the best that we can be every day and in every way.

“I’m very humbled to be inducted into the Royal Society of Arts and to be recognised among many of the world’s most inspiring figures. It’s such an incredible honour. My mission won’t change and regardless of any award or recognition I shall continue to be as best I can.”

Dr Talwar paying his respects at Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram in India

A spokesperson for the RSA said: “The RSA is a social change organisation committed to a future that works for everyone. A future where we can all participate in its creation. The RSA has been at the forefront of significant social impact for over 260 years and an integral part of the organisation, from its inception, is its Fellowship – an inclusive, values-based membership committed to finding better ways of thinking about and delivering social change.

 “Dr Shamender Talwar has been elected as a Fellow of the RSA and he joins a community of 30,000 changemakers, innovators and entrepreneurs who share the RSA’s vision and values. The RSA is delighted to welcome him to the community.”