Times Now, India’s leading English news channel from the Times Network, and ICICI Bank hosted the Fifth Edition of NRI of the Year Awards on July 11 in Mumbai. The awards salute the spirit of global Indians who have been an inspiration to others, and made a mark for themselves worldwide. From 11,500 entries, a total of 23 awards were presented including five in academics, four in art and culture, four in entrepreneur, three in philanthropy, four in professional, one in start-up, one for India’s Global Icon – Sports, and one Special Jury Award. Illinois Tech alumnus Manu K. Vora (M.S. CHE ’70, Ph.D. ’75) received the 2018 NRI of the Year Award in the Philanthropy category from North America for his 30 years of dedicated service to Blind Foundation for India (BFI) and five years of free gift of knowledge transfer project using technology to empower youth and professionals in India with soft skills and quality management knowledge.
Hon. Shri Kiren Rijiju, union minister of State for Home Affairs of India was the chief guest of the evening. The event was hosted by Mandira Bedi and Samir Kochhar. The evening included a mesmerizing dance performance by Terrence Lewis Dance Institute. NRI of the Year is India’s most distinctive award recognizing the outstanding achievements of the Indian diaspora globally. With their grit and perseverance, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) have achieved tremendous success in various fields in the countries they have chosen to adopt as their homes. This year, the awards covered the top four regions across the globe – North America, UK and Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific. The NRI of the Year Awards capture the journey of global Indians who have kept the Indian flag flying high globally and continue to inspire other Indians.
Vora, BFI‘s founder, director and president, established the organization 1989. Since then, his team has raised more than $4 million to help more than one million visually impaired individuals in India. The BFI mission is to prevent and cure blindness, and educate and rehabilitate the permanently blind in India. So far, the program – called ‘Chakshu Daan’ – has supported more than 200,000 cataract operations, donated 128 mobile vans for transport of eye doctors and patients, checked the eye sight of 900,000 school children, distributed 10,000 Braille kits to blind children and provided necessary interventions such as eye drops, Vitamin A and prescription eye glasses at no cost to participants.
Since 2013, Vora has shared his Leadership Excellence Series to more than 675,000 people at 50 colleges/universities across 14 states throughout India. The free series focuses on life-long transferable knowledge of soft skills and quality management.