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SPECIAL REPORT: 7th Annual Sikh Awards in London

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Sikhs in profession - Mr Jaspal Singh Bindra

Olympian Sikh, Canadian property billionaire, global media entrepreneurs and humanitarian charity win top accolades at 7th Annual Sikh Awards in London….reports Asian Lite News

Sikhs in profession - Mr Jaspal Singh Bindra
Sikhs in profession – Mr Jaspal Singh Bindra

The 7th annual Sikh Awards 2016 returned to London to honour an array of deserving winners from the global Sikh diaspora. They included Mr Ram Singh Nayyar (Sikh in Sport), the first turbaned Sikh to have led a Canadian team to the Olympic games, Mr Jaspal Singh Bindra (Sikhs in Profession), a global financial services industry executive with a consistent track record of driving profitable growth and increasing brand and shareholder value in a broad range of leadership roles with major banking groups such as Standard Chartered Bank, UBS and Bank of America, Canadian billionaire & property entrepreneur Bob Singh Dhillon (Business Man) and an international non-profit aid and relief organization founded on the Sikh principles of selfless service and universal love Khalsa Aid won the Sikhs in Charity award. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum received The Special Recognition Award.

Hosted by Ranvir Singh, a journalist and broadcaster, best known for her presenting role on the ITV Breakfast programme ‘Good Morning Britain’, The Sikh Awards recognises the pivotal contributions made by the Sikh community across a variety of fields, from business, charity, education, entertainment, professional services, seva (selfless service), and sport, with winners selected across the globe from Asia, USA, Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The prestigious event saw 750 guests in attendance from elite international dignitaries to public figures, community heroes, sports stars and celebrities such as the iconic music group Sister Sledge.

cover_dummy-02Speaking about The Sikh Awards, British Prime Minister Ms Theresa May, said: “I am delighted to send my very best wishes to everyone at this year’s Annual World Sikh Awards. Over half a million British Sikhs make an immense contribution to our country in so many ways. Whether it’s in the fields of enterprise or skills or whether it’s the way hard working families who are doing the right thing and getting on in life – Britain’s Sikhs are a success story and model community that is doing great things for our nation.

World Sikh Awards do a fantastic job of honouring those with exceptional entrepreneurial achievements – people of whom our country can be truly proud of. I would like to take this opportunity to once again to thank the World Sikh Awards for everything you have done and continue to do.”

Mr Sadiq Khan, The Mayor of London, said:  “I would like to send my best wishes and congratulations to all the nominees and winners of The Sikh Awards. Guru Nanak was born almost five and a half centuries ago. His ideas were revolutionary and universal. He upheld the rights of the poor and underprivileged in society, and travelled across Asia and the Arab world to preach equality for all people, regardless of caste, religion or gender.

The Sikh community continues to follow in Guru Nanak’s footsteps, be it by feeding the homeless, fighting for equal rights for all, and by working hard in all industries and professions. They are an inspiration to all Londoners. London is an amazingly diverse city, and its communities are what make it unique. Much like Guru Nanak’s vision of the world, London is open to everyone, regardless of who they are, where they come from or what they believe in.

This year’s winners included:

Sikhs in Business - Bob Dhilon
Sikhs in Business – Bob Dhilon

Mr. Bob Dhillon (Canada), Founder, President and CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corp, Canada’s highest performing real estate company, with assets valued over $1.5 Billion – Business Man Award;

  • Mrs Kiran Singh (UK), life coach at Design the Lifestyle You Desire, an author and residential and hospitality interior designer at Studio Kiran Singh, founder and chief editor of Vivacious Mum, My Unique Home and Passion for Food – Business Woman Award;
  • Mr Supreet Singh Manchanda (USA), CEO of Akal Global a $1Billon global security firm – Entrepreneur award;
  • Khalsa Aid (UK), a global charitable organisation with a vision to spread the message of humanity as taught by the Sikh Gurus – Sikh in Charity;
  • Dr Brinder Singh Mahon (UK), Chief Executive Officer and Director of The Nishkam School Trust – Sikhs in Education;
  • Mrs Manika Kaur (Dubai), Australia born devotional singer from Dubai – Sikhs in Entertainment;
  • Akaal Television / Mr Amrik Singh Kooner (UK), Founder of Akaal Television, the most watched Sikh channel in 106 countries – Sikhs in Media;
  • Mr Jaspal Singh Bindra (India), a global financial services industry executive with a consistent track record of driving profitable growth and increasing brand and shareholder value in a broad range of leadership roles with major banking groups such as Standard Chartered Bank, UBS and Bank of America. He has successfully led businesses with revenues ranging from $1-13 billion – Sikhs in Profession;
  • Mr Gurmeet Singh (India), a 55-year old small business owner from Patna, Bihar in India. For over 20 years he has been visiting the abandoned patient’s ward of Bihar’s biggest government hospital every night with food, medicine and compassion for poor patients who have no one to turn to. – Sikhs in Seva;
  • Mr Ram Singh Nayyar (Canada), the first turbaned Sikh to have led a Canadian team to the Olympic games – Sikh in Sport;
  • Sikh People's Choice Award - Natasha Mudhar
    Sikh People’s Choice Award – Natasha Mudhar

    Natasha Kaur Mudhar (UK), CEO & MD of the international communications agency Sterling Media representing United Nations backed projects to end poverty to Bollywood and Hollywood talent – The Sikh People’s Choice Award;

  • Sant Baba Iqbal Singh Ji (India), shifted to the Agriculture Department in Himachal Pradesh from Punjab and worked relentlessly to achieve the vision of Sant Attar Singh ji Mastuanewale, of providing value-based education to rural youth. Baba Ji retired as Director of Agriculture, HP and started the first school at Baru Sahib with only 5 kids in 1986. Today he leads a chain of 129 schools, 2 universities benefitting 60,000 rural students across 6450 villages. He is Chancellor of two universities and President of Kalgidhar Trust and Society. – The Sikh Lifetime Achievement Award, and
  • His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Dubai) – The Special Recognition Award.

Each year, The Sikh Awards takes a theme as the central focus for the evening’s celebrations. The seventh annual event recognised and Honoured two major events: the 547th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who was born in 1469 in Rai Bhoi Di Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. As a child Guru Nanak Dev Ji was extraordinary in many ways; he had a contemplative mind and rational thinking. He amazed his teachers with his sublime knowledge and by the age of 13 he had mastered Hindi, Sanskrit and Persian. Not until 1522 did Guru Nanak Dev Ji settle down at Kartarpur, which was where he spent the rest of his life. Guru Nanak Dev Ji had laid down the foundations of Sikhism and ascended to heavenly abode on 22nd September 1539.

The event also looked ahead of the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh Ji which takes place on 5th January 2017. The ancient venerated city of Patna, Bihar, is poised to host a magnificent celebration centered on Takhat Sri Harimandir Ji, Patna Sahib, one of the five seats of spiritual and temporal authority of Sikhism. It is envisaged that over one million Sikh and other pilgrims will visit Patna over a two-month period from 1st December 2016 to 31st January 2017 for the celebrations. The paramount purpose of celebrating Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s 350th birth anniversary is to pay loving tribute to the Saint-Soldier Guru, who not only created the Khalsa fraternity, but also blessed Sikhs with the highest exalted spiritual authority – Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Another highlight of the event, which was hosted by the media organization The Sikh Directory, was the launch of the fifth edition of The Sikh 100 Power List, detailing the world’s most prominent Sikhs in the global community.

Mr Navdeep Singh - Founder of The Sikh Awards 2
Mr Navdeep Singh – Founder of The Sikh Awards 2

The Sikh Awards, was founded by the successful entrepreneur, Navdeep Singh. Speaking about the event, Navdeep Singh said: “The Sikh Awards is now in its seventh glorious year. Our purpose with the awards is to recognize, Honour and celebrate the enormous achievements of the Sikh community who continue to contribute immensely to the social, cultural, and economic fabric of societies globally, as well as making a difference to people’s lives through philanthropy. I would also like to congratulate all of this year’s winners. May they continue to be a beacon that shines out to future generations, who will continue to strive for excellence in their chosen professions.”

 

BUSINESS MAN AWARD – MR BOB SINGH DHILLON – (CANADA)

Bob Singh is the Founder, President and CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corp. Mainstreet is Canada’s highest performing real estate company, with assets valued over $1.5 Billion it consists of nearly 10,000 apartment units in Western Canada. Bob sits on the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation Board. He is the Honourary Consul General for Belize and owns a private 3,000-acre island in Belize. Bob is the owner of National Payments, a Visa and MasterCard approved merchant processing business. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, the Ernst & Young 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People and recognised as one of the 25 Most Influential Indians in North America. Bob is a big philanthropist, donating $500,000 to the town of San Pedro, Belize, he raised $60,000 for underprivileged children in San Pedro and donated free apartment suites to victims of the and Slave Lake, Fort McMurray Alberta fires.

BUSINESS WOMEN AWARD – MS KIRAN SINGH – (UK)

Sikhs in Business - Kiran Singh
Sikhs in Business – Kiran Singh

Kiran is a multi-award winning entrepreneur, born and brought up in Norway and now based in London since 2008. She is a life coach atDesign the Lifestyle You Desire, an author and residential and hospitality interior designer at Studio Kiran Singh, founder and chief editor of Vivacious Mum, My Unique Home and Passion for Food. Kiran has won numerous awards over years such as, the Inspirational Award in 2014, the Design & Creative Award in 2014, the ‘Best in Creative Industries’ at the British Indian Awards, 2015, the Star Award 2015 and BoConcept’s Ones’ to Watch in 2015.

ENTREPRENEUR AWARD – MR SUPREET SINGH MANCHANDA – (USA)

Supreet Singh is the CEO of Akal Global a $1Billon global security firm. The U.S. government has turned to Akal to provide specialised security services for many of America’s most critical national security facilities and agencies, including Homeland Security and the Departments of Justice, Defense, State and Transportation. Supreet is also chairman of board for the website SikhNet.com and the creator of Super Sikh, the first Sikh superhero comic. As a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, he builds companies with innovation, mergers and acquisitions, IT and strategy. A former venture capitalist and global consulting partner he has worked with IBM, SGI, KPMG, and The White House. He is also an Adjunct Professor and Executive-in-Residence at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Sikhs in Charity

For an individual, organisation, or society, which can best demonstrate that it has the community at heart and has had a positive impact whilst improving the health and wellbeing of society.

KHALSA AID – (UK)

Khalsa Aid a global charitable organisation with a vision to spread the message of humanity as taught by the Sikh Gurus. In 1999 the Sikh community throughout the world was celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Khalsa. Ravinder Singh wanted the world to know about the meaning of ‘Khalsa’. It is fearless in fighting tyranny, equally and fearless in serving humanity. The concept of Langar and Seva is associated with Gurdwaras worldwide, Khalsa Aid decided to take this a step further and introduce it to disaster hit areas and conflict zones. Ravinder Singh and his team of volunteers, since 1999, have launched over 40 relief missions across the globe and are currently supporting refugees in the Middle East, especially the ‘Yezidi’ refugees who have suffered much in the conflict in Iraq. Khalsa Aid carries out its international relief projects without prejudice and truly following the Gurus teaching of, ‘Recognising the whole human race as one’.

sikhs-in-education-dr-birinder-singh-mahon
Sikhs in Education – Dr Birinder Singh Mahon

Sikhs in Education

For any Sikh educational establishment, teacher or individual that is taking a strategic approach to recognising, educating and developing the talent and skills within the community.

DR BRINDER SINGH MAHON – (UK)

Brinder Singh is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of The Nishkam School Trust. He has been involved in postgraduate education for 10 years. Nishkam Schools have developed an educational system based not only on academic excellence but also on afoundation of values common to those of all faiths or no religious faith to help raise trust, hope and ultimately faith in each other and the world around us. Within Nishkam schools the faith of every individual is equally cherished and goes far beyond the traditional single faith school model. Niskham Schools have become one of the leading Multi Academy Trusts with four free schools, two in Birmingham, one in Isleworth, and a fourth in Wolverhampton. At present, three of these schools are rated by ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. As the schools grow to capacity in the next few years, they will be privileged to be serving over 3000 pupils.

Sikhs in Entertainment

This category recognises directors, presenters, comedians, instrumentalists and musical artists etc respected role models who promote the Sikh identity within the entertainment industry.

MRS MANIKA KAUR – (DUBAI)

Manika sings sacred songs of true devotion. Her Seva is offered up in musical form and her mission is to heal the world with her voice. Born in Australia and now resident in Dubai, Manika’s charitable work focuses on the Northern Indian region of rural Punjab. One hundred per cent of the revenue from her music career is directly channeled into the work of ‘Kirtan for Causes’, which funds education and construction projects. Manika’s work has directly funded the schooling of 2000 children. Currently the foundation is building homes for it’s most vulnerable participants. Her first album ‘Bandhanaa’ was made in collaboration with bhangra legend Sukhbir Singh. Over 1,000,000 dirhams, was donated to the construction of the Guru Nanak Darbar in Dubai. Her second album ‘I Bow To You Waheguru’ featured multi-award winner Talvin Singh OBE and the album placed Kirtan in the World Music Charts Europe for the first time.

Sikhs in Media

For an individual or organisation that has made a substantial positive impact within the media industry, including newspapers, websites, radio and television stations and all other media platforms.

AKAAL TELEVISION / MR AMRIK SINGH KOONER (UK)

Amrik Singh came to the UK 1976 at very young age. He owns many commercial properties and farms in and around Birmingham. He started the Akaal Channel on the 1st September 2013, with limited resources. Today the channel is most watched Sikh Channel in 106 countries. With its head office in Birmingham, the channel has 87 staff and sub studios in Southall, Leicester and Bradford. In India there are 16 staff and there are studios in Amritsar, Dehli and Patiala. The Akal Channel is big on charity and giving back to the community. In 36 months total donations given to numerous organsations total £492,000, amongst these where the Kashmir floods and the earth quakes in Nepal and Italy. Amrik Singh in 2002 opened one of the 1st de-addition centers, a stadium and a charitable hospital in Punjab to benefit the local community.

Sikhs in Profession

Nominees in this category are employees whose contributions have made an exceptional difference on a local or global scale, in any field such as financial, medical, technology, government or legal.

MR JASPAL SINGH BINDRA – (INDIA)

Jaspal Singh is a global financial services industry executive with a consistent track record of driving profitable growth and increasing brand and shareholder value in a broad range of leadership roles with major banking groups such as Standard Chartered Bank, UBS and Bank of America. He has successfully led businesses with revenues ranging from $1-13 billion. Jaspal has vast experience in leading large complex businesses, turnarounds, M & A and divestitures. He is skilled at developing strategies, building high performance teams, driving organisational alignment and managing initiatives that deliver customer satisfaction and lasting financial results. Recently he turned entrepreneur as promoter and Executive Chairman of Centrum, a leading financial services provider listed, headquartered in Mumbai, India with offshore presence in Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai.

Sikhs in Seva

This category recognises an outstanding individual who has shown exceptional vision and contribution to society through means of Seva (Selfless Voluntary Service).

MR GURMEET SINGH – (INDIA)

Gurmeet Singh is a 55year old small business owner from Patna, Bihar in India. For over 20 years he has been visiting the abandoned patient’s ward of Bihar’s biggest government hospital every night with food, medicine and compassion for poor patients who have no one to turn to. He has never had a vacation or ever stepped out of Patna because he cannot abandon the abandoned. Around nine every evening, he leaves his modest apartment where all his five brothers live on a floor in one of the city’s oldest high-rises and heads to the hospital. The five brothers put away 10% of their monthly earnings in a donation box at home to pay for Gurmeet Singh’s patients that are not provided by the hospital. Once at the ward, he enquires about the patients’ condition, playing, at once, nurse, doctor, provider and kin. He goes through their prescriptions and pays for the more expensive medicines, tests, scans, and chemotherapy for cancer patients. He also donates ‘a lot of’ blood.

Sikhs in Sport

For an individual that has made a significant contribution to the sports industry on a regional, national or global scale whilst promoting their Sikh Identity.

MR RAM SINGH NAYYAR – (CANADA)

Ram Singh is the first turbaned Sikh to have led a Canadian team to the Olympic games. He started his formal training with David Folinsbee and Michael Chan. After competing at the highest levels, he turned to his real passion, the field of coaching. He is a certified Level 5 Coach, the highest level possible in Canada and has earned a High Performance Coaching Diploma and Chartered Professional Coach designation. Ram Singh was named Coach of the year in Manitoba in 1999, BC in 2001 and Canada in 2008 and Via Sport High Performance Coach for overall sport in 2015. He is the only Canadian coach to have successfully coached a woman to a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014. The only Canadian Badminton Coach to have coached athletes in the Medal rounds of the Olympic games in London 2012. He is also the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The Sikh People’s Choice Award

Sikh People's Choice Award - Natasha Mudhar
Sikh People’s Choice Award – Natasha Mudhar

Chosen by the community through the online voting process this category recognises an individual who has had a positive impact on people’s lives and has great admiration from others

NATASHA KAUR MUDHAR – (UK)

Natasha Mudhar is CEO of Sterling Media, an international communications consultancy. The company was launched in 1995 by Sikh property-film entrepreneur Teji Singh, arguably the first Sikh to set up an international communications agency in the UK. In the last 10 years, Natasha has spearheaded the company’s global strategy. Campaigns have included directing the GODAN Summit for President Barack Obama’s office to end world hunger, a $9trillion bauxite project in New Guinea, representing Hollywood and Bollywood stars like Al Pacino, Salma Hayek, Akshay Kumar and The Bachchans to launching Aston Martin in India and Harrods in the Middle East. She manages Project Everyone’s international campaign, working closely with PM Narendra Modi’s office to popularise the UN’s SDGs to end poverty. She strategised the global launch of the film #WhatIReallyReallyWant promoting girl’s rights, breaking the internet with 150million views. She was also appointed Jamie Oliver Food Foundation’s India/Africa Director to tackle double burden nutrition issues affecting children in developing nations.

The Sikh Lifetime Achievement Award

For a Sikh who has made a significant contribution to Sikhism on a global scale, an individual who has demonstrated a positive impact on society whilst progressing Sikhism to higher levels.

SANT BABA IQBAL SINGH JI – (INDIA)

Sant Baba Iqbal Singh Ji was born in a farmers’ family in Gurdaspur yet he chose to give up his comforts to serve humanity with his life. Inspired by Sant Teja Singh Ji (M.A. LL.B. A.M. Harvard), he shifted to the Agriculture Department in Himachal Pradesh from Punjab and worked relentlessly to achieve the vision of Sant Attar Singh ji Mastuanewale, of providing value-based education to rural youth. Baba Ji retired as Director of Agriculture, HP and started the first school at Baru Sahib with only 5 kids in 1986. Today he leads a chain of 129 schools, 2 universities benefitting 60,000 rural students across 6450 villages. He is Chancellor of two universities and President of Kalgidhar Trust and Society. Baba Ji was also awarded a citation in 2014 by, the New York State Assembly, for promoting tolerance to all people irrespective of culture or race, and a lifetime achievement award, by the National Institute of Cleanliness Education and Research in 2016.

The Special Recognition Award

HIS HIGHNESS SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM – (DUBAI)

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the United Arab Emirates, Vice President and Prime Minister and the Ruler of Dubai. He was born on July 15, 1949 and is the third of four sons for His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Since his accession in 2006, he has undertaken major reforms in the UAE. In 2010 he launched UAE Vision 2021 with the aim of making the UAE ‘One of the best countries in the world’ by 2021. He is a recognised poet in his native Arabic, a major figure in international thoroughbred horse racing and breeding and is well known for his charitable work. In 2003, he set up the Dubai Humanitarian City, which has since grown to be the world’s largest logistics hub for humanitarian aid. In 2007, he announced plans to give $10 billion to set up the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation. In June 2010 foundations were laid for the Guru Nanak Darbar, which is located in Jebel Ali. It was formally opened on 19th January 2012 and is the first ‘official’ Sikh temple in the entire Gulf.