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   Profiles -> AWA Awards 2003 - Finalists (Media & Professional)  

UK South Asian Personalities
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The Asian Women of Achievement Awards applaud and celebrate the commitment, dedication and determination of Asian women to their professional and personal achievements within the commercial, professional, artistic and humanitarian sectors. This year 37 finalists have been selected across seven different Award categories:


Unique individuals working in the areas of broadcast, print or electronic media.

Anjana AhujaAnjana has been a feature writer at The Times for eight years, specialising in science, medicine and social issues. A space physicist graduate from Imperial College London, she edits the science page of the newspaper and is called upon to write on topics as diverse as genetics, cloning, alcoholism, the origins of man, the Internet, space travel, parenting and bio-terrorism. From 1998-2002 she organised a series of Times' Science Lectures with the Royal Institute, designed to highlight junior researchers capable of becoming stars in their own field. Many are now professors and outstanding public communicators of science. Anjana serves on two committees that aim to improve science communication with the public - the Royal Society and the British Association for the Advancement of Science. She has also been a judge for the Science Book Prize, and has herself been shortlisted twice for Best Feature Writer in the National Science Writing Awards.

Farah NayeriFarah is senior European economic news writer at Bloomberg TV specialising in European and global economy feature and analysis writing. She has been a reporter at the financial and business channel for over seven years having previously been their banking correspondent in Paris and founder of the Bloomberg News bureau in Rome. She has an International Affairs degree and an MA in International Journalism and her starting point in journalism was as Paris reporter for Time magazine and for news agencies United Press International and Agence France-Presse. In 1990 she became the Time magazine reporter on French politics and foreign policy and went on to contribute to Business Week and the Wall Street Journal Europe on French domestic and foreign policy issues. Her time at Bloomberg has seen her cover landmark events such as the Italian elections in 2001, French elections in 2002 and the G-7 and G-8 summits.

Geeta Gupta & Jas ShetraGeeta and Jas have made a major contribution to the development, achievement and profiling of minorities in the UK. Their idea for a three-day live event showcasing the very best in Asian arts, culture, fashion, sport, education and performance was realised in 1998 with the first Mega Mela. A continuous stage allowed numerous artists to perform in front of thousands with ordinary people being given the same platform as Asian superstars. Over the years mainstream audiences attending the event have increased to a point where Mega Mela is no longer an Asian event, but a British event with Asian influence. Their work with the BBC Asian Programmes Unit as producers of documentaries, news programmes and music and comedy shows, has helped to win over 20 Awards in the last five years. In between Mega Mela Geeta is using her talent to do mainstream programmes such as Housecall and Jas is on attachment with Prince Charles' Timebank project 'Respect', encouraging young people to get more involved with communities.

Nasanine is senior broadcast journalist with BBC Radio 1 news programme, Newsbeat. She has become well known as a voice on the radio covering a range of stories from business to entertainment and terrorism to politics, as well as regularly reading the news on Radio 1. Nasanine started her reporting career at Sunrise Radio as a radio journalist covering Black and Asian news stories and then moved to Bloomberg TV as a broadcast assistant. From there she joined ITN as the Moneydesk Correspondent reporting for the ITV morning and main news, IRN, LBC and News Direct on major stories such as the economic impact of 9/11.

Roohi HasanRoohi was one of the original line-up of staff selected by the ITN team for the launch of Channel Five News in 1997. She started as Newsdesk Assistant but her talent was quickly spotted and she has been consistently promoted through the ranks. As News Editor, Roohi is a member of the senior Editorial Team, responsible for setting the news agenda at the start of each day. She combines a thorough knowledge of international and domestic news with an understanding of all the technical and journalistic aspects of television work. Over a period of six years she has quietly and effectively steered a multi-million pound news gathering operation and is a highly-respected and popular TV professional. Roohi exemplifies how talent, hard work, dedication and flair can lead to great things. Channel Five News won three Awards for innovation and journalism in its first year and was credited with breaking the mould of British television news - Roohi played a significant part in that achievement.


For women who have trained and qualified in their chosen professional practice and have become a leading practitioner - setting an example to other women and having their contribution acknowledged by their peers.

Dr Alba de SouzaAlba has worked consistently over 30 years to promote the advancement of education in developing countries, notably in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her work has been carried out on behalf of governments, international aid agencies and bodies such as UNESCO and UNICEF. Through her work, Alba has had a direct impact on educational opportunities for millions of the world's poorest people, with particular focus on the education of girls and young women. She has successfully linked her initiatives in education to the other major symptoms and causes of poverty - nutrition and healthcare. Her work has been recognised by the Government of Kenya, the United Nations and the Rockerfeller Foundation.

Professor Faraneh Vargha-KhademFaraneh is Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and Head of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at the Institute of Child Health, University College London as well as Consultant in Neuropsychology at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. Her research and clinical work, carried out over 20 years, is directed towards understanding the cognitive and behavioural deficits of brain-injured children as well as inherited disorders of speech and language and childhood amnesia. She recently published ground-breaking research that showed how damage inflicted on a specific area of a child's brain can lead to serious anti-social behaviour in puberty and adulthood. In addition to lecturing around the world, she is also a medical/legal expert on amnesia and the consequences of head injury on cognitive outcome in children and adults.

Leela Kapila OBE FRCSLeela began her surgical career in Bow, London and was the only female surgical trainee in the region. During her appointment at Nottingham she helped to advance care for children in a number of different fields before her retirement in June 2002. She was the Chief Medical Officer's advisor in Paediatric surgery from 1990 to 1997. During her time on the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons she was Chairman of the Heritage Committee, the Lectureship Selection Committee, Women in Surgical Training, the Internal Affairs Committee and the Education Board. She is totally committed to teaching and training and has made a major contribution to generations of surgeons in training. Since her retirement she takes her 'surgical paraphernalia' out to schools to talk to sixth form girls about a career in surgery.

Ziba Mir HosseiniZiba is a social anthropologist with interests in Islamic law, women and rural development. She has over 20 years extensive research and consultancy experience in Iran and Morocco and is currently Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Near and Middle Eastern Studies, SOAS, University of London. She is not just an academic but an activist passionately involved in the issue of women's rights in Iran and has published three books, now used as text books in universities, and over 30 articles. Ziba has also co-produced two high successful and thought provoking documentaries (Divorce Iranian Style and Runaway) in conjunction with Channel 4. She challenges stereotypes about Muslim women, builds bridges between cultures by addressing universal human concerns and has established a dialogue with Islamic scholars on the issue of human rights.


Any woman under 30 who has done something incredible, inspirational or is simply the best at what she does.

Aiysha MalikAiysha, 28, is responsible for Global Diversity at Deutsche Bank in London, She manages and coordinates diversity initiatives focusing on women, minorities, work-life balance and campus recruitment as well managing relationships with partner organisations. Prior to Deutsche Bank Aiysha was with Goldman Sachs International in Diversity Recruitment. She started her career path at the Windsor Fellowship - initially as Student Liaison Officer and then as Director of Operations - an educational charity that operates a national leadership development programme for ethnic minority undergraduates.

Isa GuhaIsa, 18, began playing cricket when she was eight years old and now excels at it. Playing for High Wycombe in an under 14 county cup match a few years ago she bowled out an entire boys team in one over. She first played for England in the Under 19s in the 2001 European Championships and was called up the same year to the full England Squad. She also played in last year's Super Fours tournament that involves the 48 elite women cricketers in the country. She is exceptional in that she juggles her technical training, physical training, academic work (she plans to start a Biochemistry degree next year), part time work, other sports interests such as county level badminton and her social life. She currently features on the BBC Sport Academy website as an ambassador for women's cricket.

Leili MorshedLeili, 24, is a young designer who is catching the eye of the fashion world in the UK. She studied Fashion Design at Central St Martins College of Art & Design and has been invited to take part in a number of shows including the Curvaceous Exhibition and Fashion in Motion at the Victoria & Albert Museum. In addition to rave reviews, she has also been part of a BBC documentary 'Faith in Fashion' that looks at the subject of Muslim women and fashion. Leili is currently working on a project with the Asprey's fashion creative team, and has previously worked with designers such as Christian Dior, Bruce Oldfield and Tristan Webber.

Preeya KhoorbhoorPreeya, 26, started her legal training contract with Cattermoles solicitors, an established firm that has been practising in Welling, Kent for over 80 years. Since she qualified two years ago she has been responsible for running the Matrimonial Department and has tripled its client base and revenue making it one of the leading departments of its kind in the area. She was made a partner at just 25, underlining the fact that she is an excellent solicitor, displaying maturity and an understanding of the law and management of a law firm beyond her years. Her client care skills and overall professionalism have been applauded by fellow lawyers and seasoned barristers alike.

Priya Nair RadhakrishnanPriya, 27, has excelled both academically and socially through school and university and in her final year at Trinity College Dublin, where she was studying bio-chemistry, was elected President of the Students' Union - the first time an Asian had been voted in and the first student from the science faculty to be elected. She is currently working with American investment bank, Citigroup as Vice President in the cutting-edge arena of Credit Derivatives Structuring. Born in India she moved with her parents to Canada at the age of six and then to Limerick in Ireland when she was 12. This diverse background has helped her to maintain her close ties to her Indian roots whilst having an international outlook.


The judging of the Asian Women of Achievement Awards took place on 24th March 2003. The judging panel, headed up by Chairman Baroness Helena Kennedy QC included Angela Lane, director, 3i; Anshu Jain, head of global markets, Deutsche Bank AG London; Professor Azim Nanji, director, Institute of Ismaili Studies; Professor Brian Gazzard, consultant physician, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital; Sir Gulam Noon, chairman, Noon Products; Jonathan Grun, editor, Press Association; John Ormerod, senior partner, Deloitte & Touche; Judith Grahame, chief executive, M & R Saatchi Arts; Baroness Margaret Jay; Marjorie Wallace, chief executive, SANE; Sir Nicholas Montagu, chairman, Inland Revenue; Sir Nicholas Young, chief executive, Red Cross; Sarah Sands, deputy editor, Daily Telegraph; and Stuart Rock, editorial director, Caspian Publishing.


Now in their fourth year the Awards, founded in 1999, were set up by Pinky Lilani and Munir Samji to recognise all levels of achievement made by Asian women in the UK. They acknowledge and celebrate the individual efforts of Asian women from all over the country and from all walks of life - reflecting the wealth of talent amongst women in the Asian community, most of which goes unrecognised and is not in the public arena.

There are eight Award categories: The Arts & Culture Award, The Social & Humanitarian Award, Business Woman of the Year - Corporate, Entrepreneur of the Year, Media Professional of the Year, Professional of the Year, Young Achiever of the Year and The Chairman's Award.

Click here for finalists in the Arts & Culture category.
Click here for finalists in Business categories.
Click here for finalists in the Social & Humanitarian category.

Click here to visit the AWA website.



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