Consul General of India in Birmingham, Chief Patron World Music Conference
Dr Shashank Vikram, Consul General of India, Birmingham is Diplomat from the 2004 Batch of Indian Foreign Service(IFS). Dr Vikram is a medical graduate. He did his MBBS from GSVM Medical College, Kanpur. Before assuming the charge of CG, Birmingham, he has served in various capacities in Government of India, in Indian embassies abroad and in the State Government of Uttar Pradesh. He has worked in Embassy of India, Lisbon, Embassy of India, Brasilia and also as Consul General of India, Durban, South Africa. In Ministry of External Affairs he has served in PAI and OIA Divisions. In Uttar Pradesh, Dr Vikram has served as Special Secretary (Health & Family Welfare) & Additional Mission Director for National Urban Health Mission and as Special Secretary(Tourism) & Managing Director, UP State Tourism Development Corporation (UPSTDC).
Minister (Culture), Indian High Commission, UK & Director, Nehru Centre, London
Amish is a diplomat, author and columnist. He has taken over as the Director of The Nehru Centre in London in October 2019. Amish has been listed among the 50 most powerful Indians by India Today magazine in 2019. Forbes India has regularly ranked Amish among the top 100 most influential celebrities in India. Amish was also selected as an Eisenhower Fellow, a prestigious American programme for outstanding leaders from around the world, in 2014. Amish published his first book in 2010, and has written 8 books till date. His books have sold 5.5 million copies, and have been translated into 10 Indian and 9 international languages. Amish is an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta. He worked for 14 years in the financial services industry before turning to writing.
Combined Mayor of the West Midlands
Andy Street – Mayor of the West Midlands
Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands on May 4 2017. The primary function of the role is to chair the West Midlands Combined Authority and brings with it significant powers over transport, housing, skills and jobs. Before becoming Mayor, Andy combined a career with John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with a host of high-profile economic development roles, working with local and national government. Starting on the John Lewis graduate scheme, Andy rose through the ranks to become Managing Director, overseeing one of the most successful periods in the company’s history. He was the Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership between 2011 and 2016, helping to build the relationships that have underpinned the economic growth of the region. Additionally, he has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group. Outside of work, Andy is passionate about the arts, particularly in the West Midlands, having previously served as Vice Chairman of Performances Birmingham Limited, which is responsible for running the City’s Symphony and Town Halls. In June 2015, Andy was awarded the CBE for services to the national economy. He was named the ‘Most Admired Leader’ of the year by business magazine, Management Today in 2014. He received the ‘President’s award’ from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in for his work in the region. He holds three honorary degrees, from Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Birmingham.
Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor Mohammed Azim
The Lord Mayor Elect was born in Pakistan (Azad Jammue in Kashmir). His early life was spent learning, removing barriers, helping the community and trying to improve circumstances for them. Whilst in Pakistan the Lord Mayor Elect met and married his wife. They had four children; and, coming from a humble background, they are especially proud of their children’s’ achievements. After arriving in the UK his first employment was at a metal engineering firm based in Aston. He worked tirelessly there and was soon promoted to Shift Foreman. In this position he trained a large number of people and as a result ended up being elected as a Shop Steward. He was very committed to this role and worked to improve conditions and safety in the work place. Councillor Azim quickly learned about the severe deprivation and inequality across Inner-city Birmingham in the 1980’s and volunteered to support many campaigns to promote social justice and equality for all. At this point he understood the importance of secure employment, which in turn provided stability and resilience for families and communities. As a result he spent many hours helping the people of Birmingham to find employment and achieve stability and independence. In 1992 the Lord Mayor Elect took his first steps into politics to see if he could create change and influence decision-making processes to improve his local neighbourhoods and communities. This period taught him the value of building relationships and mobilising communities to take the lead on local issues, creating a movement or a voice on issues such as health, education and the barriers faced by those living in extreme deprivation. In 2000 Councillor Azim opened a restaurant which provided a platform to work more closely with the local community and over time this became a place for people to bring their problems; and for him to try and resolve them. This began the process of gaining experience, knowledge and understanding on many issues in the community, which allowed him to become a voice for others and to becoming a Councillor in Sparkbrook in 2004. He believes lessons are learnt by sharing experiences; so when on 28th July 2005 the area was struck by a tornado causing millions pounds of damage, the community rallied together in the face of adversity to rebuild and improve the area known as ‘The Balti Triangle’. He considered it a privilege to be part of the community at this time and to be involved in the eventual transformation of this area. In 2012 Councillor Azim was re-elected as Councillor for the Sparkbrook Ward and worked passionately, campaigning on local issues and working with residents to improve the local area. One example was the creation of the Sparkbrook Health and Community Centre, which was a £14 million investment and part of a project to improve health inequalities. It was made possible by the hard work of local residents and now leaves a legacy for future generations. The Lord Mayor Elect lives to serve others in the community; he has been doing this for the last 50 years and wants to continue with the same passion and dedication for all citizens of this great City. As Lord Mayor he wants to follow in the same steps as the first Lord Mayor back in 1838, William Scholefield and the 249 Lord Mayors since; to uphold and carry out the office of Lord Mayor with dignity and honour.
Patron - British Carnatic Choir Chairman - World Music Conference
Dr Paul Sabapathy CVO CBE was born in Chennai in India, in 1942 and completed his schooling at the famous public school, Lawrence School Lovedale. He then did his first degree at one of India’s oldest and leading Colleges Madras Christian College. He moved to the UK in 1964. He completed a Masters Degree from Aston University and qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant, becoming a British citizen in 1984. He joined IMI plc in 1968 as its first non white Management Trainee and after 6 years was the youngest Finance Director at the age of 31 at one of the largest subsidiaries IMI Refiners in Walsall producing 200,000 tonnes of copper a year. After a 28-year career in industry holding senior positions with IMI plc, and retiring as Assistant Managing Director of IMI Titanium in 1996, one of IMI plc largest companies he became the Chief Executive of North Birmingham Community NHS Trust, serving until 2000. He also served on the Boards of National Blood Authority and Standards Board for England, Chairing their Finance Committees. He was Chairman of Birmingham East and North NHS Primary Care Trust for 8 years. The PCT was judged one of the best PCTs in the country. He served on the Boards of both Black Country and Birmingham Heartlands Development Corporations Chairing their Finance Committees. He was a Governor of The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and a former Trustee of the world famous Bournville Village Trust. He was awarded the OBE for services to urban regeneration in 1995. In 2004 he was awarded a CBE for services to business and education in the West Midlands. He was awarded the prestigious Lunar Society Medal for his outstanding contribution to public life. He has received Honorary Doctorates f rom Aston University, where he graduated as first batch of Aston Business School , Birmingham City University where he was the first ever non white Chairman of a British University and University of Birmingham. Paul was appointed as the first non-white Lord- Lieutenant in 2007 and held this post until September 2015. In October 2017 in recognition of his outstanding services as Lord-Lieutenant of West Midlands Her Majesty the Queen bestowed her personal recognition by conferring on him the prestigious and rare Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. He is the Patron of the British Carnatic Choir and ShruthiUK, a South Asian organisation based in Birmingham. cal Enterprise Partnership, as well as, a Non-Executive Director of Birmingham Tech; member of the Innovation Birmingham Advisory Board and a former CBI Council member for the Midlands as well as President for the Transatlantic Chamber of Commerce. Julian was awarded in 2018, the Chamber of Commerce Presidents Medal for impact in the West Midlands business community. Julian works closely with government departments and agencies and has represented both the Midlands and the UK on international partnership and trade missions.
Deputy Vice Chancellor Birmingham City University
Julian is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Enterprise) at Birmingham City University (BCU). He is a Professor at BCU, an Emeritus Professor at Plymouth University, Visiting Professor at BML Munjal University, and a Visiting Professor at LP University in India. He has an extensive track record in designing, developing and leading flagship programmes, projects and partnerships. He has founded and led several Research Centre’s and Institutes as well as led numerous national and international initiatives including, the Munjal/BCU Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in India and co – founded the world’s first Centre for Brexit Studies (CBS) and leads the flagship Arts Council and government backed STEAMHouse (circa £75 million) initiative. Julian was recently appointed to the Governments Strategic Trade Advisory Group (STAG 20/22) as the UKs academic member informing HM Governments Trade strategy and policies. He has worked with and advised a number of Government departments and agencies including, Cabinet Office - where he was an advisor for Wave 2 City Deals. He is a non – executive Director and Chairman of several private sector companies and public sector Boards and committees. He is a Trustee of the Millennium Point Trust, Creative Industries Federation UK Council; Director of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology; Advisory Board member for Innovation Birmingham and a member of the West Midlands REDI Advisory Board, Innovation Board member and West Midlands India Partnership Board member and an Advisory Board Member of Amity University – India. He is a Sector Champion for Emerging Technologies and Innovation Sub - Board member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, as well as, a Non-Executive Director of Birmingham Tech; member of the Innovation Birmingham Advisory Board and a former CBI Council member for the Midlands as well as President for the Transatlantic Chamber of Commerce. Julian was awarded in 2018, the Chamber of Commerce Presidents Medal for impact in the West Midlands business community. Julian works closely with government departments and agencies and has represented both the Midlands and the UK on international partnership and trade missions.
Julian Lloyd Webber enjoys one of the most creative careers in music today. As a solo cellist he has performed with many of the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and every leading symphony and chamber orchestra in the UK in partnership with such conductors as Sir Georg Solti, Lorin Maazel, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Neville Marriner, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Mark Elder and Sir Andrew Davis. He has also collaborated with a wide range of legendary musicians from pianists Sir Clifford Curzon and Murray Perahia to jazz artists Stephane Grappelli and Dame Cleo Laine and rock musician Sir Elton John. Julian’s many recordings include his BRIT Award-winning Elgar Cello Concerto conducted by Yehudi Menuhin – chosen as the ‘finest ever version’ by BBC Music Magazine, the Dvorak Cello Concerto with Vaclav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the London Symphony Orchestra under Maxim Shostakovich, a coupling of Britten’s Cello Symphony and Walton’s Cello Concerto with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields which was described as ‘beyond any rival’ in Gramophone magazine and ‘Variations’, famous as the theme to ITV’s long running ‘South Bank Show’. Julian has also inspired more than fifty new works for cello from composers as varied as Malcolm. Julian Lloyd Webber enjoys one of the most creative careers in music today. As a solo cellist he has performed with many of the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and every leading symphony and chamber orchestra in the UK in partnership with such conductors as Sir Georg Solti, Lorin Maazel, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Neville Marriner, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Mark Elder and Sir Andrew Davis. He has also collaborated with a wide range of legendary musicians from pianists Sir Clifford Curzon and Murray Perahia to jazz artists Stephane Grappelli and Dame Cleo Laine and rock musician Sir Elton John. Julian’s many recordings include his BRIT Award-winning Elgar Cello Concerto conducted by Yehudi Menuhin – chosen as the ‘finest ever version’ by BBC Music Magazine, the Dvorak Cello Concerto with Vaclav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the London Symphony Orchestra under Maxim Shostakovich, a coupling of Britten’s Cello Symphony and Walton’s Cello Concerto with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields which was described as ‘beyond any rival’ in Gramophone magazine and ‘Variations’, famous as the theme to ITV’s long running ‘South Bank Show’. Julian has also inspired more than fifty new works for cello from composers as varied as Malcolm
Chief Executive Officer Awan Marketing PLC
Dr Nasir Awan MBE DL is Chief Executive Officer, Awan Marketing Plc; Director of Awan Marketing International Limited; and Director of Awan Property Investments Limited. Nasir started in the retail business in 1978, joining his late father. In 1980 he set up a consumer electronics wholesale operation, becoming one of UK’s major distributors. Awan Marketing is now one of the largest wholesalers in the UK. He is a Director of The Greater Birmingham Chamber Of Commerce group, Chair of Asian Business Chamber Of Commerce and Chair of Trustees Inspire Education Academy at Yew Tree School, Aston. He is a Trustee of Euro Charity Trust; Birmingham Ethnic Education Services; and Sutton Coldfield Muslim Association. He is also a Director of the National Asian Business Association.
Deputy Medical Director Birmingham Women's and Children's Hospital
Prof. Raja is a passionate educator, entrepreneur, researcher and mentor with 15+ years of experience. His areas of interest span from Skill Development, Workforce Management, Healthcare Management and Waste Management. He is also well versed in the designing, delivering, and aligning of global business strategy with established and emerging technologies and management paradigms to optimise business performance. He received the prestigious John Flood Telecommunications Prize in 2005 and Aston 50th Anniversary Scholarship Award in 2016. He is one of the judges in QS Reimagine Awards 2020 (the Oscars of Education) and was a shortlist judges in QS Reimagine Awards - 2018. He co-founded multiple UK businesses and has mentored many successful start-ups in the past. He was also the part of the Trade missions led by ex-British Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Theresa May and Sir Malcolm Grant, Chairman of NHS. Academically he holds a B.Eng degree from Nagpur University, MSc in Telecommunications from Aston University, UK, PhD from Aston University, UK and MBA from Aston University, UK. He is currently pursuing his second PhD in Social Entrepreneurship at Loughborough University, UK. He is currently working as Professor & Director - Research & Consultancy, GITAM University, India, where his main responsibility is to build sustainable research and innovation ecosystem.
Director Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
Alison Ohta has been the Director of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland since 2003. The Royal Asiatic Society, which was founded in 1823, is actively engaged in the promotion of knowledge of the arts and cultures of Asia through lectures, seminars, and publication of its Journal and books Alison completed her Ph.D at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and is an Islamic art historian with a particular interest in the arts of the book of the Mamluk period. She has lectured and published widely on the topic.
Lead Scientist & Faculty Partners Healthcare & Harvard Medical School
Ramya Palacholla is a Primary Care Physician and a faculty member of the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Palacholla’s is interested in the intersection of health care delivery and technology. Her research projects are focused on understanding the impact of novel smartphone applications, medical devices, clinical decision support systems, predictive analytics-based population health management tools and AI- based health technology interventions on patients with chronic diseases and cancer. Dr. Palacholla presented her research on innovative technologies at the World Economic Forum. Dr. Palacholla’s research on an “Innovative Tumor Response Forecasting Model in Breast Cancer Patients" was awarded the first position in the Harvard Ideation Challenge and was also selected as one of the top six finalists for the Boston Scientific and Google Connected Patient Challenge, 2018, a renowned platform that showcases healthcare innovations across the globe. She is the co-author of one of the first books to be written for clinicians on novel treatment methods for the management of Military Sexual Trauma in war veterans. She was also honored with the "Woman of the Year" award in 2019 by the INE News for her contributions to health care innovation in the U.S and was featured as one of the “Women to Watch in Health IT” by Beckers Hospital Review.
Grammy award winning composer and Lap Steel Guitarist
Prakash Sontakke is a multifaceted musician, innovator and Director, based in Bengaluru (India) with international awards – he won a Grammy for his path-breaking music composed and rendered with musicians from abroad (album 'Winds of samsara'). He is also a well-known slide guitar artiste, broadcasting Indian classical music. a film maker and a motivational speaker.
Regional business leader and Charity Ambassador, Birmingham City University.
Professor Paul Cadman, regional business leader and Charity Ambassador, Birmingham City University.Cadman, who spent his early years in Birmingham Market where he says he honed his networking skills and went on to have a successful career in the fire service and then onto senior leadership in international brands and the automotive industry, manufacturing and Skills. He currently has senior trustee and ambassadorial, Patron roles for Acorns Hospice, Employability WASUP ‘World against single use plastic’ and Steps to Work, some of the region’s leading charities. While sitting on a number of company boards and running a range of small ventures in automotive, design and consultancy. Paul has also been a judge & ambassador for some of the regions key events such as the Birmingham Awards & the Midlands Food Drink & Hospitality Awards.