New Delhi: Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, Curacao Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath and New Zealand minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan were among 30 NRIs, and Indian-origin people and organizations that were conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award on Saturday.
President Ram Nath Kovind, who delivered the valedictory address on the third and final day of the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations, presented the awards at a virtual event.
The award is the highest honor conferred by the President of India as part of the PBD Conventions on an NRI, PIO, and organization or institution established and run by NRIs or PIOs.
Rhuggenaath, Santokhi and Radhakrishnan were awarded for their public service.
Mukhesh Aghi, president and CEO of US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, was also among the awardees.
In an acceptance speech on behalf of all awardees, Aghi said this award represented the very best of India from all over the world linking our ‘janambhumi’ with our ‘karambhumi’.
“The Indian diaspora is changing the world in a gentle way. From Sciences to Academia, Arts, Politics, Philanthropy and even Hollywood, the range of contribution for the diaspora community has been immense.
“This community is crucial to building people-to-people ties across the world. They promote a better understanding of India, its rich culture and diversity,” he said.
From the US, the awardees included AAPI President Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, Arvind Phukan and Nilu Gupta, as well as Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which was awarded for community service and their work for promoting cultural ties