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#Honour: Kailash Satyarthi to receive Harvard Humanitarian of the Year award.

Nobel Peace-prize winning rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi is to receive the Harvard Humanitarian of the Year Award, the first Indian to be selected for the honour.

The annual award by the prestigious Harvard University is given to an individual whose works and deeds have served to improve the quality of lives and have inspired us to greater heights.

The award ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday, at Harvard University.

Previous winners of the honour include former UN Secretary Generals Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros Ghali; South African rights campaigner Desmond Tutu and the Jewish writer and activist Elie Wiesel.

Mr Satyarthi’s charity Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) is credited with rescuing more than 80,000 enslaved children over the past forty years.

His work recently has focussed on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)one of which is to end modern-day slavery.

Although slavery is illegal everywhere, almost 36 million people are believed enslaved worldwide – many of those in India.

Mr Satyarthi took his message to the United Nations in New York last month and this week called on governments to allocate adequate budgets and design suitable policies to achieve the SDG’s.

"Freedom has always been considered a matter of human rights, but for the first time it has been acknowledged that without freedom there can be no development.

"Governments should now prioritise child-centred development goals and devise more holistic policies interlinking education, trafficking, slavery and child labour and violence against children because they are all connected."

The UKAsian spoke to Mr Satyarthi earlier this year to talk about his journey and what remains to be done.

Here’s the video of that encounter:

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#Honour: Jhumpa Lahiri to receive America’s National Medal of Arts.

Acclaimed London-born, Indian-origin author Jhumpa Lahiri is to receive the American National Humanities Medal, which recognizes those who have deepened society’s understanding of the humanities. U.S. President Barack Obama will present the award to the author at a ceremony in Washington next week. Mr Obama, who appointed Ms Lahiri to …

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#Honour: NASA scientist names asteroid after Malala Yousafzai

An asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter has been named after Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. The NASA astronomer who discovered the asteroid in 2010 said she chose the name because she was so inspired by the 17-year-old who had been targeted by the Pakistani Taliban for campaigning …

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#Honour: Suraj Sharma-starrer ‘Umrika’ wins audience award at Sundance

A beautiful little film about an impoverished young Indian boy and his fascination with the apparent utopia of 'Umrika' has won the Audience Award for World Cinema at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

'Umrika' - a play on how 'America' is pronounced in parts of the sub-continent - was written and directed by ad executive-turned-social media-tycoon-turned-filmmaker Prashant Nair, the man behind the delightful 2011 comedy 'Delhi in a Day'.

The film stars 'Life of Pi' and 'Homeland' star Suraj Sharma in his Indian feature debut, as Ramakant. 

As a young boy, Ramakant watches his beloved older brother Udai leave their small Uttar Pradesh village and travel in search of better prospects to 'Umrika'.

Over the years, Udai’s letters inspire Ramakant and breathe new life in to the workings of the brothers' village, encouraging new traditions, sparking community debate and providing the impetus for young men and women to learn. 

However, following a family tragedy, Ramakant discovers a startling deception that sees him embark on a journey of self-discovery.

Critics have raved about the film, describing it as a "warm", "quirky" and "sobering" piece of cinema anchored by the outstanding Sharma. 

Berlin-based Nair has said he was inspired to make the film by the disparity in how different cultures perceive each other as well as the issue of immigration.

The film was developed with funding from the Sundance Mahindra Lab for filmmakers, the same outfit that helped develop 'Margarita With A Straw'.

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