Newcastle University, UK, a major research-intensive university today announced that it has awarded Honorary Doctor of Civil Law Degrees to Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Foundation and Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Co-Chairman, Bharti Foundation for their outstanding contribution to the economic and social renewal of India. Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti group, through its Satya Bharti School Program provides free quality education to over 38,000 underprivileged children through 254 village schools across India. The children are also provided free uniform, books and mid-day meals and the program has special focus on the girl child.
To mark the launch of the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal, the University is recognizing individuals whose interests and achievements embody the spirit and values of social renewal. Sunil and Rakesh have been honoured for their philanthropic work in the field of education and their passion towards growth and development of communities across India.
The Foundation also focuses on higher education and has solely sponsored the Bharti School of Telecommunications in IIT Delhi and the school offers M.Tech, MBA, M.S (Research) and PhD in Telecommunications. It has also supported the establishment of the Bharti Centre for Communication in IIT Mumbai and under the Bharti Scholarship and Mentorship program supports academically bright students from financial weak backgrounds. The group has recently sponsored the Bharti Institute of Public Policy at the Mohali Campus of Indian School of Business (ISB) in partnership with The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA.
Professor Chris Brink, Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University, UK said: “Honorary degrees are a way for Newcastle University to recognize those figures from industry, academia, education and politics who have made a major contribution to people’s lives and the world we live in. It is a great pleasure to acknowledge Sunil and Rakesh Mittal in this way. Through their Bharti Foundation they have succeeded in transforming the lives of thousands of the most disadvantaged children in India by making education accessible to them and to future generations.”
Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti Foundation said: “I am very honoured to visit Newcastle and to be welcomed here. The work the University is doing is extremely, extremely important. I think it’s work in social renewal, and before that in ageing and in sustainability are the big issues facing the world today.
“In India, we believe education is the most important factor which is why we set up our Bharti Foundation. Our Satya Bharti schools educate 38,000 children – to me that’s 38,000 smiles. We provide their education and give them a midday meal. We believe if you educate India’s children they can become agents for change. We particularly focus on the girl child - 49% of our students are girls. We believe if you educate a girl, you educate a family.”
The honorary degrees were awarded at a Congregation ceremony on 4th December at Newcastle University, UK.
Newcastle University is renowned for its expertise in the humanities and social sciences.. Its focus on social renewal will see Newcastle academics examining how communities across the globe survive and thrive in the face of economic, environmental or health inequalities.
Two more individuals were awarded honorary degrees for their contributions to the society at the ceremony: Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty the human rights organisation and Lord WG (Garry) Runciman, one of the UK's leading sociological theorists.