An Extraordinary night celebrating South Asian Community
It was a night of achievements, community spirit and excellence. DARPAN’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards 2018 exceeded everyone’s expectations in every aspect. The 9th Annual spectacular event took place at Aria Convention Centre in Surrey on September 14, 2018, and was attended by over 700 guests in attendance.
The successful night was an ode to the flourishing journey of the South Asian community over the years.
The magical Red Carpet, sponsored by Preston GM, was a class apart thanks to all the prominent celebrities and personalities gracing it. At the entrance, attendees were welcomed with champagne and a gorgeous ice sculpture depicting DARPAN’s journey of 14 years in publishing excellence, along with the latest luxury Preston GM models on display. The media centre was abuzz as our red carpet hosts Nisha Khare and Mandeep Patrola interviewed our esteemed guests asking them their expectations for the evening; while photographers captured beautiful, canidid moments. A special celebratory wall showcased the DARPAN Award Winners of the last eight years. Blending with the theme of the awards, it proudly highlighted the progress and achievements of the South Asian community in Canada and DARPAN’s long-lasting tradition of honouring them.
Right from political dignitaries and top businessmen to socialites and established young adults, every individual could feel the electrifying energy on the Red Carpet which stayed throughout the event. Inside, the beautiful cocktail lounge sponsored by Handy Appliances was bustling with life and conversations while guests enjoyed the delicious appetizers and beverages. Guests from within and outside the community added glamour and style to the night with their colourful and fashionable outfits.
Canadian actor and television personality Huse Madhavji was the Master of Ceremonies for the event. This multi-talented host, actor and producer is the former face of Star! Canada and has starred in HBO Canada/Direct-TV’s hit comedy Call Me Fitz starring Jason Priestly, where he received his first Gemini nomination and NBC/CTV hospital drama Saving Hope. MC Madhavji kicked off the festivities, which included musical entertainment by the sensational vocalist, Komal Rizvi. Not only is she the only solo female artist to release multiple international albums, Rizvi has some of the biggest hits on Pakistan’s biggest musical platform, Coke Studio.
The high-energy gig got a huge round of applause and marked the beginning of a successful and memorable evening ahead. Stephen Murphy, Executive Vice President, Banking at Canadian Western Bank, Title Sponsor of DARPAN Awards, shared a few inspiring words with the guests, followed by Serge Corbeil, Director of Government Relations Western Canada for Air Canada; and Tom Gill, Acting Mayor of the City of Surrey.
The Guest of Honour and Keynote Speaker this year was Afroz Shah, a Mumbai-based environmentalist and lawyer who is leading the environmental movement in the city and tackling plastic pollution and other harmful concerns one step at a time. Shah started the biggest beach cleanup project in Mumbai, Maharashtra, all by himself in 2015. His efforts received tremendous attention and worldwide support, along with an increase in volunteers by thousands comprising of youth, slum-dwellers, entrepreneurs, Bollywood celebrities, professionals, and seniors.
A shocking amount of 15 million kilograms of decomposing trash and plastic was collected from the 2.5 kilometre stretch of beach over a period of 21 months. United Nations labelled the campaign the “world’s largest beach clean-up project.” United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) honoured Shah with the Champion of the Earth award for his work in organizing community-led clean-up efforts. Afroz was also CNN-IBN’s Indian of the Year in Public Service in 2017 and has received various accolades for his efforts.
The inspiring environmentalist’s good work is creating a ripple effect. Beside Mumbai, cleanup campaigns are taking place in various parts of India as well. He vows to continue his beach clean-up crusade until people and their governments around the world change their approach to producing, using and discarding plastic and other products that wash up onto beaches all over the world. As Keynote Speaker, Shah shared on stage his passion for environmental work and encouraged every member present at the awards to take care of the planet in their own, simple ways, and do their bit to keep Mother Earth clean.
The key element of the event – the DARPAN Awards – honoured ten amazing individuals from the South Asian community for their extraordinary achievements and for reflecting their heritage in a remarkable way. These 10 South Asians, identified as leaders, who embody the spirit of community and give back to greater Canadian society, were honoured with the prestigious Darpan Extraordinary Achievement Award. The never-ending applause by the guests, along with the inspiring thank you speeches by the winners generated a feeling of pride and unity at the event.
MC Madhavji’s energy and witty sense of humour kept the guests engaged and entertained. Many known figures and celebrities from within the community and British Columbia graced the occasion with their presence. Spotted at the event were NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh; BC Minister of Citizens’ Services Jinny Sims; Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism of BC and MLA Ravi Kahlon; MPs Randeep Sarai and Sukh Dhaliwal; MLAs Andrew Wilkinson, Stephanie Cadieux, Marvin Hunt, and Raj Chohan among others; Surrey Councillors; and Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, Officer in Charge of Surrey RCMP Detachment.
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For the finale, guests enjoyed musical entertainment by Parichay, an Indo-Canadian singer, composer, and music producer. The talented artist is well-known in the Bollywood and Hollywood music circuit and has worked with some talented names, including rapper Kardinal Offishall and pop/urban artist, Sean Kingston.
Lisa Ray is impossible to pigeonhole. Internationally acclaimed actress, model, philanthropist, designer, writer, TV host and social activist – the green-eyed beauty wears all these hats and more. Diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2009, Ray fought back and remains a tireless advocate for cancer survivors worldwide.
Earlier this year, Dr. Gupta was named the 13th president and vice chancellor of the University of British Columbia. Not only is Gupta a “renowned expert in research and innovation policy forging close collaborations between universities, civil society and business,” but he is the first South Asian to hold this coveted position overseeing one of the leading universities in the world.
This humble and modest American-Indian astronaut is no less than a hero for numerous individuals around the world, who look up to her accomplishments with great pride and honour. With 50 hours, 40 minutes; Sunita Williams holds the record for total cumulative spacewalk time by a female astronaut; has spent a total of 322 days in space on two missions; and ranks sixth on the all-time US endurance list, which is the second all-time for a female.
Millions around the world tuned in to watch the annual Miss America 2014 pageant on September 15, 2013. Little did viewers know that they would be witness to history in the making. For the first time, Nina Davuluri, an Indian American was crowned Miss America, not only making Indians around the globe proud of this historical first but breaking the stereotype of the typical girl-next-door in the United States of America.