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Leeds Metropolitan University to confer honorary doctorate on Praful Patel, Yash Chopra and Shabana Azmi at IIFA Weekend Yorkshire

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Mumbai, 29th May

Praful Patel, Honourable Minister of Civil Aviation with the Government of India, is soon going to be the proud recipient of an honorary doctorate from the prestigious Leeds Metropolitan University. This prestigious honour shall be conferred upon him at the University Convocation hall on June 7, the inaugural day of the IIFA Weekend Yorkshire this June.

Leeds Metropolitan University, which has a legacy of 180 years of educational excellence, confers honorary degrees on select recipients every year. On the occasion of India celebrating 60 years of its independence, Leeds wishes to commemorate India’s struggle of freedom by honouring prominent Indian personalities who have contributed to the emergence of India as a fast developing, economically strong, cinema-proud nation. The IIFA Weekend and Idea IIFA Awards being held in Yorkshire have provided the perfect opportunity for presenting the doctorate to Mr. Patel.

Praful Patel, Honourable Minister for Civil Aviation was delighted while expressing his heartfelt gratitude to Leeds Metropolitan University for bestowing this prestigious gesture of honor upon him. He said “It is a matter of great pride for me to accept this doctorate from such a prestigious institution. India and UK go back a long way and have very close political, economic and education ties. 1.3 million Indians live in the UK and our cultural and social ties are only growing. To be recognised for such an honour makes me extremely proud.”

He also congratulated Leeds Metropolitan University for completing 100 years of their Headingley Campus. During the academic year 2007-2008, Leeds Metropolitan University will be celebrating a century of education in Headingley; 100 years since the foundation of the City of Leeds Training College.

Along with Mr. Patel, Leeds Metropolitan University will also be honouring legendary film director and producer Mr. Yash Chopra, with an honorary doctorate at the IIFA Weekend in Yorkshire, for his contribution to Indian Cinema. A film maker par excellence, he is well known for using foreign locales – especially London and the European countryside – for several of his movies. Major parts of his award-winning films such as ‘Lamhe’, ‘Silsila’ and his latest superhit ‘Veer Zaara’. He expressed his gratitude to Leeds Metropolitan University for choosing bestowing him with the doctorate in celebration of his achievement.

The renowned actress Shabana Azmi is renowned in the UK for both her acting talent as well as representing the cause of the underprivileged. Recently she was honoured with the International Gandhi prize at the House of Lords and addressed the house.

Professor Simon Lee, Vice –Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University said “We wish to honour the people of India by recognizing champions of culture, enterprise and public service and as IIFA comes to Yorkshire to celebrate 60 years of Independence fostering mutual respect”

The FICCI- IIFA Global Business Forum presented by Idea Cellular is being held to celebrate existing business ties and will also help set in motion new relationships between India and UK. Trade relations between the UK and India have been steadily growing over the past decade, whereby India is today the second largest investor in Britain. The impressive economic growth registered by India and its potential have made the UK identify it as one of the key countries for business engagements. The FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum will also bring together key stakeholders from the entertainment industry of India & UK to discover and explore the opportunities available in the Indian Media and Entertainment sector.

The business forum will witness the presence of global heavyweights including Sir Martin Sorrell, Chairman, WPP, Richard Caborn, UK Sports Minister, Habib Khorakiwala, President, FICCI, Lord Karan Billimoria, Chairman, Indo-British Partnership Network along with other eminent speakers including Tom Riordan, CEO, Yorkshire Forward, Kamalesh Sharma, High Commissioner of India and Dr Amit Mitra, Secretary General FICCI.

IIFA represents the interests of the Indian film industry and through the IIFA Weekend, (7-9th of June) several mega events are held to showcase the interactivity between India and the host country. The highlight of the weekend, Idea IIFA Awards reaches out to over 500 million film-lovers across the world, with a special emphasis on Indian cinema fans.

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