Our hearty congratulations to NNEdPro Global Patron, Lord Diljit Singh Rana, who has been made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire), in the Queen's New Year Honours 2021, for his services to business and to the economy in Northern Ireland!
The Lord Rana was born in Sanghol, a small village in the rural region of Punjab, India, but has been a resident of Northern Ireland since 1966. He was appointed to the House of Lords in 2004 by Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in recognition of his contributions to the economic regeneration of the city of Belfast. He became the first ethnic businessman to be elected President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Presently, the Lord Rana serves as India's Honorary Consul in Ireland, where he continues to establish economic and collaborative relationships between India and Ireland, most notably, the establishment of the Lord Rana Charitable Foundation Trust and Cordia College in Sanghol.
Image 1. Cordia College in Sanghol, India
Cordia College benefits from local support of Punjab University, as well as links to Ulster University in Ireland and NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health, in the UK. On several occasions, the Lord Rana and his team have graciously hosted NNEdPro members on visits to the college and this has been a source of tremendous support for the NNEdPro Mobile Teaching Kitchen (MTK) initiative in Kolkata, India.
The NNEdPro Executive Director, Sumantra Ray, serves as Honorary International Dean to the Lord Rana Charitable Foundation Trust, and the NNEdPro Education Director, Pauline Douglas, and Medical Director, Minha Rajput-Ray, serve as Honorary Associate Deans. Additionally, NNEdPro Assistant Director (Medical, Luke Buckner, serves as Lead Project Officer to the Trust.
On one of his visits to Cordia College in 2018, Luke Buckner, recounts his experiences at the college,
"I was met by a member of Lord Rana's team who accompanied me to the college, whilst accommodating my needs along the way. When we reached our journey's end, I met the Lord Rana, one of the humblest, funny and most welcoming person, who made me feel instantly at home on his campus."
"Nothing is too much to ask of Lord Rana or his team. It is this attitude of the staff and students of Cordia College, that I believe reflects so kindly on the Lord Rana. I am very grateful to have stayed a number of times since then with each having an equally positive experience, and look forward to meeting them all again in the future."
The Lord Rana's continued support in fostering international collaboration, hosting and supporting NNEdPro's MTK and through this empowering and enhancing the health of individuals in marginalised sectors of Sanghol is truly admirable.
A huge thank you to Lord Rana for his continued support of the MTK project in particular, and to each member of his team who helped us implement this initiative in Punjab. Yet again, well done Lord Rana, OBE and well deserved.