10th Sikh Awards ceremony held in the Middle East for the First time
Dubai, February 2020
In a first, the 10th Sikh Awards were held in Dubai and recognized and celebrated the achievements of individuals and organizations throughout the world. The awards were initiated in response to public demand in 2010 and have since been held in London, Delhi, Toronto and Nairobi.
Recognition is given to the special contribution Sikhs have made in the fields of business, sport, charity, media, entertainment, education, selfless voluntary service, lifetime achievement and the prestigious special recognition award, which is given to someone from another faith promoting multiculturalism. The Sikh Awards have continued to grow from strength to strength each year, continuing to honour excellence throughout the world.
The event was organized by the UK based global organization ‘The Sikh Group’ in partnership with UAE based the ‘Plan b Group’ at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel on February 21, 2020.
Navdeep Singh, founder of ‘The Sikh Group’, which consists of ‘The Sikh Directory,’ ‘The Sikh 100,’ ‘The Sikh Charity,’ and ‘The Sikh Awards,’ said “The Sikh Awards have continued to grow, honoring global excellence since its inception in 2010. Every year the winners are selected from across the globe, by an independent judging panel of esteemed experts from different faiths.”
“This multi-cultural global event aims to honor and celebrate the enormous achievements of the Sikh community, who continue to contribute immensely to the social, cultural and economic fabric of today’s global village. We are celebrating two major anniversaries, Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 500th birth anniversary and our 10th anniversary” he said.
Harmeek Singh, founder of ‘Plan b Group’, said “the association with The Sikh Group for The Sikh Awards is an ideal platform under the year of tolerance and a true representation of UAE and humanity. We are delighted to join hands for the 10th edition of Sikh awards.”
This event was attended by over 400 guests of all faiths, from elite international dignitaries to public figures, community heroes, sports stars, celebrities and elite businessmen from India, Canada, Kenya, UK and USA.
The 10th Sikh Awards winners were:
SIKH VOLUNTEERS AUSTRALIA (AUSTRALIA)
Sikhs in Charity
Sikh Volunteers Australia is a non-profit volunteer organization. The aim of the organization is “Well being & prosperity of everyone”. They provide free food to the less fortunate and needy. Sikh volunteers Australia have recently been providing free food for bushfire victims in Victoria have been hailed as “legends” by national main stream media. They have crisscrossed the fire-affected regions, serving hundreds of people who were affected by recent bushfires. Undeterred by the smoke and panic they travelled to fire-threatened communities and helped feed anxious locals and travelers until they were evacuated. Sikh Volunteers Australia was founded by the burgeoning Sikh community in Melbourne’s south east about six years ago.
GURINDERPAL SINGH JOSAN (USA)
Sikhs in Education
Gurinderpal Singh was born in Amritsar in 1968 and currently resides in New York. In India he completed a master’s in World History in Punjab University and holds a gold medal from the Khalsa College Amritsar in computer applications. To give back to his community back home in India, he financially adopted 24 children from 6th grade to 12th grade to sponsor their education. He started work on the Saragarhi project in 1987 by finding 19 out of the 21 families of the Saragarhi Shaheeds. He published ‘The Epic Battle of Saragarhi’. Gurinerpal Singh visited the site of the battle and performed an Ardaas and hoisted a Nishan Sahib in July 2019. The book was recently used to produce the movie “KESARI” – starring Akshay Kumar.
RISHI RICH (INDIA)
Sikhs in Entertainment
Rishpal Singh Rekhi, better known by his stage name Rishi Rich is arguably the most successful Asian music producer our generation has seen. His unique and creative beats are synonymous with fans and artists alike. Recognized from a young age for his innate love of music, the rising star signed his first album at the age of fifteen under the production of ‘2 Kool’. Rishi went on to co-produce ten Asian music albums before working on his first solo album entitled ‘Simply Rich’. It debuted at No.1 in the Asian charts. The Project with 2point9 Records and his produced songs have appeared in a number of Bollywood films. He now runs Rishi Rich Productions with contracts with a number of British Asian artists. Currently based in Mumbai Rishi continues to produce music for many Bollywood blockbusters including Gullyboy which was nominated for a Oscar earlier this year.
CHARDIKLA TIME TV (INDIA)
Sikhs in Media
Chardikla Time TV is run and owned by the Chardikala Group under the far sighted and dynamic leadership of Mr Jagjit Singh Dardi, the Chairman of this group. Chardikla Time TV is one of the top ranking satellite channels and has acquired immense popularity around the globe. It is the fastest growing channel available on most media platforms around the world. The group publishes newspapers and magazines namely ‘Daily Chardikala’, ‘Daily Bharat Desh Hamara’, ‘Monthly Chardikala’ from the capital city of Delhi and Patiala. The ‘Daily Chardikala’ has been published for the last 45 years and ‘Monthly Chardikala’ is a No1 Punjabi family magazine certified around the globe and the only Punjabi Magazine certified by Audit Bureau of Circulations, India. Social reform through education is a passion with Jagjit Singh as he is the founder and Chairman of Shri Guru Harkrishan Group of Public Schools and Colleges, Patiala.
DALVINDER SINGH DARROCH (UK)
Sikhs in Sports
Dalvinder Singh is Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at The English Football Association (‘The FA’). The FA is a not-for-profit governing body of football in England. It promotes participation and regulates the sport for all to enjoy. He is the first ever Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at The FA. His ‘Asian Inclusion in football’ programme aims to impact 8% of England’s entire population – around 4 millions Asians which have received widespread attention. Where possible, Dalvinder is an active promoter of Sikh principles and has recently further developed The FA’s ‘Faith and Football’ programme. His work extends beyond the Sikh community in his efforts to make football ‘FOR ALL’. He arranged the first ever ‘Iftaar’ in Wembley Stadium where 400+ Muslims celebrated the holy month of Ramadan. Dalvinder has also been instrumental in developing The FA’s first Asian Women’s Football National Working Party.
SURINDER PAL SINGH OBEROI (UAE)
Sikhs in Seva
Businessman and Philanthropist Dr Surinder Pal Singh is the chairman of Apex Group of companies based in his prestigious offices within the Burj Kalifa. Surinder Pal Singh has received more than 850 awards from famous personalities of India and throughout the World. He is the Managing Trustee of ‘Sarbat Da Bhala Charitable Trust’. He is most well known for saving lives of 94 boys from the death penalty and life imprisonment in Arab Jails. Out of them, 66 Punjabi boys, 1 Haryanvi, 3 Hyderabadi, 1 Gujrati, 1 Bihari, 2 Maharashtrian, 14 Pakistani, 1 Pilipino and 5 Bangladeshi all have reached their home countries. 17 Indian boys returned home in February 2013. More than 860 Airline tickets were provided to the prisoners. Surinder Pal Singh took the initiative of arranging an air ambulance to fly the critically injured LPU Student Yannic Nihangaza to his native country and also donated $1000 to his father.
SAGARJEET SINGH AHUJA (PAKISTAN)
Sikh People’s Choice Award
Sagarjeet Singh is a young polio eradication officer and the first Sikh Doctor in Pakistan to work for the World Health Organization and United Nations. His role required the supervision of 34 monitors, planning and supervision to strengthen the implementation system at district level against Vaccine Preventable Disease cases, Partnership establishment among Public and Private Organizations to integrate health interventions and specially interrupting Polio Virus Circulation. He is also a senior member of the Pakistani Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, a Sikh religious organization which was formed by the Government of Pakistan to over-sea the general day to day running of Gurudwara’s throughout the country.
VARINDER KAUR VIRDY (KENYA)
Sikhs in Business – Business Women
Varinder Kaur is the Director of Save Lives Foundation. She runs a number of companies and one of them is ‘Training Women to be Self Sustainable’ which helps orphan girls, widows and vulnerable women who have no source of income that can use their creativity skills to make hand-made objects and crafts. Varinder empowers women to make themselves Independent in all aspects of life including their mind, thoughts and decisions making. She says that empowerment is necessary for every family’s future. Orphan girls normally struggle to continue their education and these projects make a big difference. She also thinks working with ‘Save Lives Foundation’ gave her the opportunity to do good for society and encourages others to support such causes.
JOGINDER SINGH SUNNER (CANADA)
Sikhs in Business – Entrepreneur
Joginder Singh, CEO at Durabuilt Windows & Doors made a choice in his late 40s from England, to take a chance and risk all they had beyond the ambiguity, hoping for a positive change in their lives when he purchased the inexperienced Edmonton based Durabuilt Windows & Doors Co in 1995. It took vision and fortitude to invest precious capital into an uncertain industry, but the investment paid-off. An analytical dad, he and his visionary son, Harry are unequivocally brilliant to propel their window business to success. As they are nine-time Consumers’ Choice Award recipients and a recognized Top 100 Window & Door Manufacturer and preferred supplier of multiple builders in the Canadian prairies. Joginder Singh is an active marathon participant in his community and constantly promotes healthy habits and encourages his team to be earnestly active and to look after themselves.
BALVINDER SAINI (UAE)
Sikhs in Business – Businessman
Raj Sahni was born in Kuwait and is the owner of RSG Group of Companies spanning across the Middle East, USA and South Asia. The family started their humble business in the 70’s selling Automotive Spare Parts but soon grew into a progressive organization dealing with different sectors such as Automotive, Real Estate, Industrial Equipment, Investments and Property Development. The group takes pride in exemplary relationships with its customers, stakeholders and business partners. Sahni started investing in Dubai’s real estate and later relocated to Dubai, considering it the ‘best city in the world’. His family and grandfather were known for their wealth but an earthquake in 1935 destroyed everything and family were left without food or support. After the partition Sahni’s parents settled in Delhi but moved to Kuwait in 1952 and with family support have rebuilt fortunes. Sahni family are known for buying the second highest auction sale of Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s number plate code O number 9, bought for $6.5 million (Dh23.9 million)
SARDAR DR MANMOHAN SINGH JI (INDIA)
Sikh Lifetime Achievement Award
Manmohan Singh Ji is an Indian economist, academic and politician who served as the 13th Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014, becoming a first Sikh in office who served two consecutive terms as prime minister. Born on the 26th September 1932 in Gah, now in Punjab, Pakistan, Manmohan Singh’s family migrated to Amritsar in India during partition in1947. In his early education he studied at the Hindu college and later at the Punjab University. After obtaining his doctorate in economics from Oxford, he worked for the United Nations during 1966–69. Before his political career began, Manmohan Singh was an advisor to the Foreign Trade Ministry, Chief Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance (India) and Governor of Reserve Bank of India and Head of the Planning Commission.
HARWANT SINGH SAHNI (UAE)
Special Faith Award
Harwant Singh is a business leader who started as a salesman in a German company in 1973. He was promoted to Managing Director and in 1984 he moved to Dubai and established his own food company – HK Group of Companies with only 4 members of staff. Over the years HK Group grew into one of the leading foodstuff companies. Currently the company has four cold stores with a capacity of 10000 tons and supplies to more than 3000 outlets with a fleet of 100 trucks. From their humble beginnings, the number has now grown to more than 250 people and Harwant Singh encourages his Sikh employees to follow the Sikh faith and wear a turban. HK Group has branches and associates in many countries including USA and United Kingdom. He has been awarded the Jewel Award, Hind Ratan Award and the Leaders Award in India.
KHALSA AID INDIA (INDIA)
Khalsa Aid is an international NGO with the aim to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones around the world. The organization is based upon the Sikh principle of “Recognize the whole human race as one”.
Special Guests –
His Excellency Suhail Mohammad Al Zarooni – Emirati businessman and business man based in Dubai
Mr. Ramdas Athawale – Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India
Ms Ruby Dhalla – Canada’s first female Sikh politician
Mr. Ravi Singh –Founder of the international non-profit aid and relief organization Khalsa Aid.
For further information please contact:
UK – +44 7932 907 666
Notes to Editors
Sikhism is a religion founded by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and has over 26 million followers worldwide. It is ranked as the world’s fifth largest religion.
With over 15 years sales and marketing experience within various fields, founder of ‘The Sikh Group’, Navdeep Singh, is dedicated to serving and connecting businesses and communities around the world. The group, consists of ‘The Sikh Directory,’ ‘The Sikh Awards,’ ‘The Sikh 100,’ and ‘The Sikh Charity,’
Sardar Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, has honored him for his services to the global Sikh community. In 2015 he was selected to form a part of the delegation that attended The Vibrant Gujarat Summit, led by Lord Livingston, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, UK. Navdeep Singh’s collaborations with governments and influential dignitaries have seen him attract support from major brands across the world. His personal ethos centers on promoting the values of excellence, ethics, loyalty and spirituality, embodied by the Sikh faith and practiced holistically through his various business and charitable ventures.
‘The Sikh Directory’ is currently the world’s largest and most comprehensive directory of Sikh businesses and services. The first edition was published in 2006 and continues to be updated and published annually. As an established and trusted brand, ‘The Sikh Directory,’ stimulates community networking and connects buyers with sellers. It is regarded as a powerful voice and platform for the global Sikh community. 2019 will see the launch of the first international edition in print, online and via a mobile application.
‘The Sikh Awards’ were created in response to public demand, the 2010 inaugural annual awards ceremony took place at The Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London. This was a world’s first, to celebrate and highlight the achievements of individuals and organizations on global scale. Since 2010, the event has been held in London, Delhi, Toronto and Nairobi. Recognition is given to the special contribution Sikhs have made in the fields of business, sport, charity, media, entertainment, education, selfless voluntary service, lifetime achievement and the special recognition award, which is given to someone from another faith promoting multiculturalism. The Sikh Awards have continued to grow from strength to strength each year, honoring excellence throughout the world.
‘The Sikh 100’ first compiled and released in 2012, annually profiles 100 of the most powerful and influential contemporary individuals out of 26 million Sikhs worldwide, traversing all sectors, including business, education, politics, media, entertainment, sport and charity. One of the main aims of this venture is to share inspirational, real life success stories, to encourage individuals to aim high, be passionate, excel and to draw upon the strength of their faith and heritage, to do this. Esteemed experts, including a dedicated panel that examines the contributions made by these individuals and organizations, screen applicants extensively.
‘The Sikh Charity’, launching later this year, is a global non-profit organization with the primary objectives of practicing philanthropy and serving public interest for the greater good. We are creating a unique platform that will help provide financial support and resources to the most vulnerable members of society, due to poverty, illness or marginalization. ‘The Sikh Charity,’ does not discriminate on any basis. It was founded to serve people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, gender, sexual orientation, ages and physical and mental abilities. ‘The Sikh Charity,’ actively promotes equality, compassion and spirituality. We recognize we live in a multi faith society, and for the betterment of humanity we must all help one another to live a good and spiritually fulfilled life.