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News ->Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2002 - Winners

(17th May 2002)

Baroness Prashar of RunnymedeAt a glittering awards ceremony last night, Baroness Prashar of Runnymede was awarded the Chairman's Award for The Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2002. The awards were set up to recognise the immense accomplishments of unsung heroines within the Asian community as well in the commercial, professional, artistic and humanitarian sectors.

Now in their third year, the Awards acknowledge individual effort; provide role models for, and give inspiration to, Asian women from all walks of life; and raise awareness outside the Asian community of the outstanding qualities of Asian women in this country.

Attended by among others: Cherie Booth QC, Helena Kennedy QC, Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lord Swraj Paul and a host of celebrities from the world of media, film, theatre and business, the awards ceremony saw performances by International Soprano Singer, Patricia Rozario OBE and Muslim comedienne Shazia Mirza. A R Rahman, acclaimed music composer found time away from the recording to witness Preeya Kalidas and Raza Jaffrey from the soon-to-be launched musical 'Bombay Dreams' perform his work.

From among 37 finalists across seven different Award categories the judges chose the following winners.

Arts & Culture Award

Patricia Rozario, OBE International Soprano Singer.
Patricia Rozario OBEPatricia is the only internationally acclaimed soprano to have come from India working today. Following a degree in English and French at Bombay University, Patricia's singing voice was discovered by German singing teacher, Walter Gruner - who invited her to London to train her voice. She went on to graduate from London's Guildhall of Music a multi-prize winner and Gold Medalist. This was followed by several prizes at international singing competitions. Since then her career has developed in opera, concert work, recording and broadcasting. Her enviable reputation as a concert artist and opera singer has lead her to work with many of the world's leading conductors. In 2001, Patricia was awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours list for her contribution to opera.

Other shortlisted women who are flourishing in the world of performing arts, management of the arts and creative writing.

  • Gurpreet Bhati: Writer for television, theatre and radio.
  • Qaisra Shahraz: Prize winning author and journalist.
  • Shahin Badar: Internationally acclaimed dance chart singer.
  • Shazia Mirza: First Muslim woman to become a stand up comedienne.

Business Woman of the Year

Ayesha Shah, Treasurer (EBRD).
Ayesha Shah, Treasurer (EBRD)Ayesha started her career at Citicorp Investment Bank as a risk analyst and manager. She moved to Nomura International in 1986 to set up and co-head the Swaps team and established the research, trading, marketing, operations and systems infrastructure necessary to support several currency derivative trading portfolios. In 1993 Ayesha joined EBRD (The European Bank of Reconstruction & Development) as a consultant and moved swiftly to Head of Funding prior to her appointment in 2001 as Treasurer and Acting Head of Investments-Credit. She is responsible for all aspects of strategy and operation under Treasury policies including directing, motivating and managing teams, directing strategic funding activities, return on investments, new product development and relationship management both external and internal.

Other Asian women thriving in a corporate Britain who have made, and are making, a significant contribution to the success of their organisation included shortlisted candidates:

  • Punita Garjee: Partner at Accenture
  • Meeta P Bhagwanji: Director - Bhagwanji C Jewellers Ltd.

Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Geetie Singh, Joint MD of organic gastro pub company singhboulton.
Geetie Singh of singhboulton ltdGeetie, together with her business partner Esther Boulton, formed singhboulton in 1997 and opened their first organic gastro pub 'The Duke of Cambridge' in North London in 1998. The concept is simply to provide good quality organic food and drink in a relaxed informal environment. The food is modern British style with a quality selection of local real ales and a strong wine list. Their award-winning first venture inspired them to expand and in April 2000 they opened 'The Crown' in East London and in July 2001 'The Pelican' in West London. The company works closely with the Soil Association and Geetie is a member of the Soil Association Catering working group to advise and develop guidelines for organic certification for restaurants. singhboulton's portfolio of pubs continues to grow from strength to strength and the company plans to open 12 new sites within the next five years.

Shortlisted women who have set up their own businesses and are making a success of running it included:

  • Geeta Samtani: Founder Geeta's Foods.
  • Imataz Khaliq: Founder of Imtaz Khaliq Couture Tailor.
  • Perween Warsi: Founder and MD of S&A Foods.

Media Personality of The Year

Zubeida Malik, BBC R4 'Today' programme reporter.
Zubeida MalikZubeida has been responsible for brining to the 'Today' programme high profile exclusive interviews, superb reportage from a war zone and domestic social analysis and investigative work. She was one of the first reporters to get into Pakistan, arriving 24 hours after September 11th, and reported on the war from there, and in Afghanistan, for nearly three months continuously. She was the first British journalist to secure an interview with the Taliban and the only woman they spoke to throughout the war. Her reports from Israeli-occupied Palestine produced some of her finest work including a feature profiling a Palestinian suicide bomber and an interview with the elusive leader of Hamas - a man who rarely talks to female journalists. She excels at being first with the news and breaking big news stories.

Other women who have made a significant contribution to the success of the media company they work for, from front-line journalism to production and technical to be shortlisted included:

  • Anita Anand: Head of News and Current Affairs for Europe at Zee TV.
  • Arati Halai: Presenter for Carlton Television - Central News West.
  • Navdip Dhariwal: Current Affairs reporter - BBC TV.
  • Ruby Kuraishe & Misbah Alvi: Producers of Entertainment Today on GMTV.
  • Usha Parmar: Chief Executive of Sunrise Radio (Yorkshire).

Professional of The Year Award

Professor Bhupinder Sandhu, Consultant Paediatrician and Gastroenterologist.
Bhupinder Sandhu, Consultant Paediatrician and GastroenterologistProfessor Sandhu has been head of the Gastroenterology and Nutrition Unit at The Royal Hospital for Sick Children and University of Bristol since 1988. She is also a visiting Professor in Child Health, Gastroenterology and Nutrition at the University of West of England and has a research link with Delhi University. She has published book chapters and over 50 papers in International journals on subjects related to Child Health and has given numerous invited guest lectures in the UK and abroad. She recently organised a symposium with the World Health Organisation, for whom she acts as an adviser. Her voluntary and public services experience currently includes Governor of Clifton High School, member of the governing board of the University of the West of England, Board Member and Trustee of The VSO and she was appointed by The Secretary of State for Health to the Board of the Food Standards Agency.

Other shortlisted women who have trained and qualified in their chosen professional practice and have become a leading practitioner, included:

  • Adeeba Malik: Deputy Chief Executive of national charity Quest for Economic Development.
  • Dr Spinder Dhaliwal: Founder and Director of the Centre for Asian Entrepreneurial Research at Luton Business School, University of Luton.
  • Sunita Shrotia: Consultant surgeon and pioneer of scarless breast surgery.
  • Dr Nandita Maria deSouza: Reader in Imaging at Hammersmith Hospital.

Social & Humanitarian Award

Indu Vaghmaria, a dedicated community volunteer.
From immigrant housewife to community leader, Indu has made a difference for the better to the lives of thousands of people. She is a voluntary member of many organisations and co-founder of four: The Hindu Women's Network, set up to empower women and give them confidence via training courses, conferences and seminars on employment, education, careers and health issues: Vrudh Seva Mandal, a support organisation for elderly people in the community providing relevant information and activities and a bridge between the elderly and the Health Agencies; SAHYOG (Sweet Partnership), a partnership of different community organisations involved with the elderly; Birmingham Empowerment Training Initiative (BETI) a group to support the empowerment of excluded women. In addition to her voluntary work she still cares for her family, looks after her disabled mother-in-law and works for a living as the family's breadwinner. As her nominator stated "she is living proof that the strength which is so often buried inside women can be brought out and blossom in spite of internal and external barriers".

Other Women involved in social and humanitarian work who were also nominated:

  • Adele Tasker: Community liaison and equal rights trade union member.
  • Usha Sood: Barrister and head of human rights chambers.
  • Vijey Rattan: Housing officer turned community leader.
  • Dr Pramilla Senanayake: Assistant Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
  • Hosne Ara Begum: A multi skilled mother-tongue teacher.

Young Achiever of the Year

Dr Bela Arora, Research Fellow - Corporate Citizenship Unit at Warwick Business School.
Bela Arora, Research Fellow Warwick Business SchoolBela has achieved immense success in both her professional life and through the activities she is involved with in her spare time. She currently holds a post in the Corporate Citizenship Unit at Warwick Business School examining the area of social responsibility, human rights and the role that companies play in zones of conflict. Her research has involved working with the United Nations on the Global Compact initiative, directly commissioned by the office of the Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The initiative aims to re-establish the partnership between the private sector and the United Nations in order to address issues of human rights, labour rights and environmental degradation. Bela has also recently joined the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, where she is lecturing on Masters in International Political Economy program and completing two books, due to be published in 2003 - looking a the arms control process and corporate citizenship. At only 29, Bela has worked on a multitude of community projects and promotes development through voluntary work with the Birmingham Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Other nominated women under 30 in March 2002, who have done something incredible, inspirational or were quite simply the best at what they do:

  • Aileen Gonsalves: Award winning professional script writer
  • Dr Jyoti Kanwar: Research Consultant at executive search organisation Odgers Ray & Bernston.
  • Ruchika Mandhyan: Performer and filmmaker.
  • Shysta Habib: Legal Advisor at The Accident Group.
  • Tazeen Dhunna: Bloomberg TV Money Desk technology and telecom reporter.

Chairman's Award

Baroness Prashar of Runnymede
Currently a Member of the House of Lords and on the Joint Committee on Human Rights Baroness Prashar has spent her life involved in community, race relations and human rights issues. She was formerly Director of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations and Chair of the Parole Board of England and Wales. In 2000 she was appointed as one of the first Civil Service Commissioners.

The Judges
The judging panel for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards, headed up by Chairman Baroness Helena Kennedy QC included Lisa Aziz, news presenter, Sky One News; Dr Ian Bogle, chairman, British Medical Association; Sir Peter Davis, chairman, Sainsbury's; Vernon Ellis, international chairman, Accenture; Ian Harley, chief executive, Abbey National plc; Lord Robin Inchyra, past director general, British Bankers' Association; Clive Jones, chief executive officer, Carlton TV; Sir Nicholas Montagu, chairman, The Inland Revenue; Richard Morrison, writer, The Times; Tom Shebbeare, chief executive, The Prince's Trust; Rumi Verjee, chairman, Thomas Goode & Co; Parminder Vir, producer and adviser for cultural diversity, Carlton TV.

The Asian Women of Achievement Awards
Founder of the AWA Awards, Pinky LilaniFounded in 1999, the Awards were the brainchild of Pinky Lilani, a successful businesswoman and author. "At the heart of these Awards are some extraordinary women, who have set themselves apart with their strong sense of purpose and commitment, often in the face of insurmountable obstacles", says Pinky, Chairman of the Asian Women of Achievement Awards.

Cherie Booth Commenting on the Awards and past winners, Patron Cherie Booth said "these women deserve to be recognised and rewarded for the invaluable contributions they are making to the fabric of British society. Asian women are injecting energy into communities, bringing new qualities to the world of business, introducing fresh thinking to the arts".

The AWA Awards Ceremony

Nina WadiaThe Awards ceremony has become established as the benchmark of excellence for Asian women in the UK. Over the past years this star-studded evening has attracted guests such as Jemima Khan, Her Highness Begum Inaara Aga Khan, Diana Hayden, Shakira Caine, Clive Anderson, Dr Raj Persaud and Seeta Indrani. This year's presentation ceremony at the London Hilton on Park Lane was hosted by comedienne and actress Nina Wadia, best known for her performances in hit comedy show Goodness Gracious Me.

Click here to visit the AWA website

Click here to read about AWA Winners 2001.


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