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December 2007 - January 2008


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Dispatches & Reports

Premier City law firm celebrates Diwali

In a demonstration of its growing links with the Indian sub-continent, premier City law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) celebrated the festival of Diwali with over 100 guests at its London Bridge offices.

Lord Bilimoria, CBE, DL, the Chairman of both Cobra Beer Limited and the UK India Business Council, was the guest of honour at the event, which was also attended by leading figures from across the City and prominent Indian businessmen and women.

BLP’s international strategy, which involves establishing actively managed, non-exclusive relationships with two or more leading independent firms in major jurisdictions across the world, is proving particularly successful in relation to India, where the policy of not competing for local work fits well with the market conditions. Through its India Focus Group, BLP undertakes a broad range of work for Indian clients and international clients doing business in India including Apeejay Surrendra, Air Deccan and Lavasa Corporation.

Another strong link to India is BLP’s support for the Lawrence Homan Girls School near Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, which was founded by Hugh Homan, a consultant at BLP, in 1984. The school provides an education to over 800 pupils, specialising in the education of girls aged 11-18. BLP is funding a new skills room for the senior girls and paying for lessons that will provide those not going to university with the skills to earn their own money, enabling them to be more independent in later life.

Jonathan Morris, Head of BLP’s India Focus Group, said: “We were delighted to host a Diwali reception and were honoured that Lord Bilimoria agreed to be our guest of honour. The event emphasised our commitment to the Indian market and the work we have been doing in the community through our involvement with the Lawrence Homan Girls School.”

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is a premier, full service law firm with over 600 lawyers based in offices in London and Brussels and representative offices in Paris and Singapore. We have pro-actively managed relationships with preferred firms in over 50 countries around the world. Clients include FTSE 100 companies and financial institutions, major multinationals, the public sector, entrepreneurial private businesses and individuals. The firm was Chambers’ ‘UK Law Firm of the Year’ in 2005 and The Lawyer’s ‘Law Firm of the Year’ in 2004.

BLP’s India Focus Group is dedicated to providing a comprehensive service to both its Indian and international clients doing business in India.


POSITIVE ROLE MODELS MAKE A DIFFERENCE RESEARCH SHOWS

‘Macho, bullying, and unfriendly workplace cultures’ are a common experience of ethnic minority women in the UK labour market and workplace, according to a major new study published today, (Thursday, 5 July 2007) yet good management and positive role models make a difference. Conducted by researchers from Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Bristol on behalf of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC); ‘Workplace cultures: what does and does not work,’ explores the impact of workplace culture on women from three ethnic minority groups; Bangladeshi; Black Caribbean, and Pakistani.

The report reveals that although organisations have adopted often extensive equality and diversity policies, there exists an implementation gap between those policies and practice. Women in the three ethnic groups featured reported hierarchies in their organisations with respect to gender and race; considered lack of opportunities for promotion, alongside the devaluation of qualifications and experience, a major point of concern, and saw racism as being a regular characteristic of their employment. The role of line managers was seen as critical in this respect: a good line manager capable of ensuring harmonious and fair workplace relations, a bad line manager of reinforcing bad practice and driving ethnic minority women from the workplace

Many employers are aware that they cannot afford to overlook well-qualified young women from any ethnic group and recognise that a multi-ethnic and multilingual workforce will better serve the needs of customers in a multi-cultural world. Yet, despite a skills shortage, there is an under-utilisation of existing talent; Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are more heavily concentrated than white women in a ‘restricted’ range of occupations (including retail, clerical and educational support work), whilst Black Caribbean women are concentrated in the public sector, frequently in lower level occupations than their qualifications and experience merit.

Ethnic minority women placed great importance on positive role models, and the research reveals a number of areas where strategies for change have been successfully implemented. Based on these, the report offers a set of guidelines (see notes to editors) to help organisations work towards a more diversity friendly culture. Crucially, it recommends that to make policies for promoting equality and diversity effective they need to be embedded throughout all levels of organisations and become part of both informal as well as formal cultures.

Professor Harriet Bradley, University of Bristol, said; “There is an implementation gap between policy and practice, but our research demonstrates a number of examples of good practices which could be more widely adopted and make a difference to the working lives ethnic minority ethnic women.”

Professor Geraldine Healy, Queen Mary, University of London, added: “Organisations need to be alert to the complex and insidious ways that workplace cultures may act to the detriment of Bangladeshi, Caribbean and Pakistani women. Stereotypes persist and continue to influence decisions on recruitment and promotion. The value of role models was immense and provided evidence of what could be achieved.”

Caroline Slocock, Chief Executive of the EOC, said: “EOC research shows that young Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Black Caribbean women are striding ahead in schools and university and are ambitious to combine a career with a family. Yet many employers are missing out on their skills and women from these backgrounds still find it difficult to get a job or to get promoted and many end up in certain types of work which is often low paid. As this research shows, there is much that employers can do to create a culture in the workplace that welcomes ethnic minority women and doesn’t put barriers in their way. Simple things can help to develop what we call “cultural intelligence,” such as reaching out to schools to demonstrate that all applications are welcome, ensuring work based social events are not always based around alcohol, which can exclude some people, and opening up flexible working at all levels to make it easier to combine work with family.”


International Conference
Indian Muslim Federation (UK)


To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Independence of India, the Indian Muslim Federation (UK) had organised an International Conference in London on 21st & 22nd October 2007.

Presentations and discussions at the conference was focussed mainly on: the contribution of Indian Muslims in the UK and the West; the plight of Indian Muslims since independence and their future In the light of the Govt. of India’s Sachar Committee Report 2006.

A full day conference was held on Sunday, 21st October 2007, 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. at The Council Chamber, Waltham Forest Town Hall, Forest Road, London E17 4JA and the final day was held on Monday, 22nd October 2007 7.00p.m. To 10.00pm at the Grand Committee Room, House of Commons, Parliament Square, London SW1A.

Speakers attending the conference from India were Mr Asghar Ali Engineer, director, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, Mrs Teesta Setalvad, editor,” Combat Communalism”, Professor Ram Puniyani of“Ekta”, Mumbai and Mr Ghayasuddin Kidwai, chairman UP State Minorities Commission.

Speakers from the UK included the former ITN and BBC Panorama correspondent Alan Hart and Mr Vipool Kalyani, editor, “Opinions”.

The conference was also addressed by Ms Hazel Blair, MP, . Mr. Stephen Timms MP, . Mr. Shahid Malik,MP, Sadiq Khan, MP, Ms Dawn Butler MP, Harry Cohen who also hosted the event and Sir Gulam Noon. The MC for the evening was Mr. Asad Ahmad, BBC TV London News Broadcaster. It was a complete success.


UNITED KINGDOM INDIA BUSINESS COUNCIL

NEXT GENERATION INDIA

UKIBC to sponsor entrepreneurial programme in India


The UK India Business Council (UKIBC), the lead organisation supporting the promotion of bilateral trade, business and investment opportunities between the two countries, is to sponsor two young Indian entrepreneurs who are focusing on socially-responsible enterprises, as part of the Next Generation India initiative, to be unveiled tonight at an event at the House of Lords.

As part of Next Generation India, UKIBC is hosting a discussion with Stephen Timms MP, Dr Shai Vyakarnam, Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, Judge Business School and Alpesh Patel, Praefinium Group. This event will focus on Next Generation Entrepreneurs – creating economic and social wealth in the 21st century.

Sharon Bamford, UK India Business Council chief executive, said:

“This sponsorship deal will showcase 21st century entrepreneurship in India. Entrepreneurship can be used as a power to deliver economic and social benefit to both markets. Young entrepreneurs are tomorrow’s business leaders and networks between UK and India must be fostered to ensure bilateral trade between these two countries continues into the future. We are delighted that UKIBC is committed to developing the next generation of business leaders and we will encourage all young entrepreneurs to join the Next Generation Network.”

To address these issues of perception and inform both markets, the UKIBC has created a programme of activities under the brand, Next Generation India. The first initiative, Next Generation Network, is aimed at engaging young entrepreneurs of both countries to build their own networks and gain a new insight into the UK and Indian markets.

Under UKIBC’s sponsorship deal, two India-based entrepreneurs will each receive £1,500 in funding to support business set up, marketing and recruitment costs. Each entrepreneur will also be assigned a British entrepreneur, based in India, to work beside the winners and continue building India, UK business ties. The mentoring programme is a key element to the sponsorship and will give winners access to the UKIBC’s extensive network of contacts and knowledge to build a successful business.

To be considered for the sponsorship, entrepreneurs will have to demonstrate the business will provide social and economic benefit as well as sustainability.

The sponsorship is being undertaken in conjunction with UnLtd India, a new organisation that will identify, fund and support India’s next generation of social entrepreneurs. UnLtd India has been inspired by the work of UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, which has supported more than 6,000 social entrepreneurs in the UK.

UnLtd India will announce the sponsorship criteria and call for entries from entrepreneurs in November 2007with the winners selected in the first quarter of 2008. UKIBC chief executive Sharon Bamford and Director at the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at Judge Business School, Dr Shai Vyakarnam, will sit on the selection panel.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, UK India Business Council chairman, said:

“I am delighted that one of the UKIBC’s first initiatives focuses on entrepreneurship – a subject very dear to my heart. The UKIBC has got off to a flying start since the re-branding of its predecessor, the Indo British Partnership Network, I am confident that we will continue to go from strength to strength with initiatives like this one. Through the Next Generation India programme, entrepreneurs both in the UK and India will be able benefit from the free flow of ideas and information – something that is a cornerstone of the UKIBC’s work in bringing our two countries even closer together. Even more importantly, I’m sure our winners will learn an enormous amount by experiencing first-hand the challenges and thrills of building a business.”

The UKIBC, which is Chaired by Lord Karan Bilimoria and whose Chief Executive is Sharon Bamford, operates under the Indo British Partnership, created in 1993 by the then British and Indian prime ministers.

The UK is currently the third largest foreign direct investor in India in terms of value of investment, and is also India’s fourth largest trading partner.

For more information on UK India Business Council please visit www.ukibc.com

Next Generation India

UKIBC research has indicated that Indians regard the UK as having outdated views of business opportunities. Generations of Indian talent is turning to countries, other than the UK, as business partners of choice.

To address the issues of perception and inform both markets, the UKIBC has created a programme of activities under the brand, Next Generation India. These programmes will foster networks between young professionals with an India connection, to inform, inspire and gain a new insight of both markets which can be fed through to governments and business leaders.

For more information on Next Generation India please visit www.ukibc.com

UnLtd India

UnLtd India’s mission is to create long-lasting change through incubating India’s next generation of social entrepreneurs.

Whilst certain sectors in India are booming, poverty, lack of education and health issues remain for hundreds of millions of people across the country. UnLtd India is built on a belief that it is individuals working at the grassroots – not necessarily the government, nor the established NGO sector – that can bring the critical new ideas, energy and resources that are needed to solve these problems.

UnLtd India works with start-up social entrepreneurs to help them grow as leaders and create high-impact, sustainable organisations ready for scaling and further investment. It does this through providing:

· Seed funding, to pay for critical early start-up costs and to support the entrepreneur as they take their organization to a sustainable level

· Hands-on coaching and training, covering business and financial planning, fundraising, legal structures, governance, marketing and human resource management

· High-value connection, linking our entrepreneurs with other like them, mentors, subject-matter experts, and further funders or investors

UnLtd India has been inspired by the work of UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, which has supported more than 6,000 social entrepreneurs in the UK.

For more information on UnLtd India please visit www.unltdindia.org


Ken Livingstone visits India

The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and a delegation of London ‘ambassadors’ visited India from 18th-23rd November 2007 to promote closer ties between the capital and India in business, tourism, education and the creative industries.

The Mayor took part in a series of meetings, seminars and conferences on the theme of ‘London and India: Partners in Globalisation’.

The high level delegation included Lord Sebastian Coe and Paul Deighton, Chairman and Chief Executive of London 2012 Organising Committee; Peter Hendy, Commissioner for Transport for London; Michael Charlton, Chief Executive of Think London; James Bidwell, Chief Executive of Visit London; and Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London.

The Mayor Ken Livingstone said: “India is a rising economic superpower. It has a growth rate of over nine per cent a year, 1.2 billion people and it already accounts for the second highest number of inward investment projects into London after the US. Last year, India was one of the three countries accounting for the majority of world economic growth.

“The Indian community is already the largest minority ethnic community in London and London’s strength as the most globalised city is helped immensely by its Indian community - there are already 10,000 Indian-owned businesses in the capital. Cultural interaction between India and London is already strong and is going to increase even further.

The delegation of London ‘ambassadors’ included a cross section of its talent from business, creative industries, sport, culture, tourism, education and science. They included Christopher Rees, Partner and Co- Head of the TMT Group, Peter Kenyon, Chief Executive of Chelsea Football Club and Graeme Le Saux, Former Chelsea Football Club and England international player; Jitesh Gadhia, Managing Director, ABN AMRO; Phillip Bouverat, Director of Major Accounts, JCB; Wally Olins, Chairman, Saffron Brand Consultants; Raj Loomba, Chairman, Rinku Group Plc and The Loomba Trust; Lord Desai, London School of Economics; Prof Peter Jenner; Kings College, London; and TV presenter and singer Myleene Klass.

The Mayor’s trip involved visits to Delhi and Mumbai and included:

 Signing a city to city partnership agreement with the Chief Minister of Delhi.

 Signing a tourism agreement in Delhi.

 Meetings with key Indian businesses including Tata, ICICI Bank, BCCI and the CII.

 Hosting education seminars exploring stem cell research and the implications of international flows of financial capital for India’s economy.

 Signing a film agreement between Film London and the Film and Television Guild of India.

 Hosting a showcase of London and Indian creative industries with special guest Amitabh Bachchan - one of India’s most renowned screen idols.

 Opening two offices - The London India Office - Delhi and The London India Office - Mumbai, to promote business, trade, culture and tourism between London and India.

The Mayor also visited Amritsar to meet the Chief Minister of the Punjab.


FIVE MILLION WAR VETERANS REMEMBERED AT MEMORIAL GATES

War heroes from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Africa and Caribbean honoured at fifth annual Memorial Gates remembrance event

London UK - The Memorial Gates Committee held its fifth annual wreath laying ceremony on Friday 9th November 2007 at the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill. The ceremony was attended by over 200 people and saw dignitaries like Lord Karan Bilimoria, Lady Thatcher and The Bishop of London lay wreaths to pay special tribute to the five million men and women from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Africa and the Caribbean who volunteered to serve with the Armed Forces of Britain during the First and Second World Wars.

Sadly, Baroness Shreela Flather, JP DL, Patron of the Memorial Gates Committee, was unable to attend, for the first time in the five years since the gates were erected, due to health problems. Her husband spoke on her behalf and expressed gratitude at having Lady Thatcher and her husband, Dennis Thatcher pay tribute to the veterans.

Lord Karan Bilimoria Chairman Cobra Beer and Chairman of the Memorial Gates Committee, in his speech, said: “We are gathered here today five years after the inauguration of the Memorial Gates by Her Majesty the Queen to remember the sacrifice, the courage and the contribution of remarkable men and women. In the name of freedom, in the name of our freedom, they made the ultimate and most selfless sacrifice. For that we join today in remembrance and in gratitude.”

The Bishop of London also spoke about remembering those who served over the last century. “Some died for the people they loved and for their beliefs, which they trusted, and we honour them and we give thanks for their example. They did their duty and in doing so, they entered the realm of the undying spirit.”

Also present were: Lieutenant Tulbahadur Pun VC; Johnson Bakari VC; Lord Inge; Mr Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner in London; H.E. Mr Basil O’Brien CMG, High Commissioner of the Bahamas; Brigadier General Belal Uddin Mahmood, Defence Adviser, Bangladesh High Commission; Viscount Slim; Brigadier General Lindile Yam, Defence Adviser High Commission for the Republic of South Africa; Field Marshal Sir John Chapple, GCB CBE DL; The Rt. Hon. Bob Ainsworth MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces; The Rt. Revd. & Rt. Hon. Richard Chartres DD FSA; The Rt. Hon. Baroness Amos; Baroness Uddin, as well as veterans and cadets.


Raleigh International Bridging the gap

Gone is the time when taking a gap year meant bumming about on a beach for 365 days, with nothing more to worry about than catching the eye of the opposite sex and wondering where the next beer is coming from. Today’s savvy students, with their crumpled set of A’ Level results in their back pocket, are looking to get more from their year out than a suntan and a suspicious itch before heading off to university.

With rising student debt and fiercely competitive careers looming in the not too distant future, British teenagers are demanding a worthwhile, CV-enhancing year out that doesn’t cost the earth, not to mention an off-the-beaten-track adventure, which is exactly what youth charity Raleigh International has given more than 30,000 young people over the past 22 years.

After finishing his A’ Levels last summer, 19-year-old Rob Curran said: ‘I wanted to do something more significant with my gap year than just travelling around and getting drunk. I wanted to be productive and achieve something worthwhile, not just for myself but to help others too. Raleigh International was the obvious choice and going on expedition to Malaysia was the best decision I have ever made.’

A true pioneer of gap year experiences, Raleigh International has been offering 17 to 24 year olds, from all walks of life, the chance to participate in unique, meaningful and challenging expeditions to awe-inspiring locations around the world since 1984. Current expeditions to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Malaysia are proving more popular than ever, while an eagerly-anticipated new expedition to India will add to the line-up of far flung destinations from February 2008.

Each ten-week expedition incorporates three distinct phases – the community phase includes projects such as installing a gravity-feed water system in remote Nicaraguan villages; the environmental phase could include working to transform a former prison island into a wildlife refuge; and the adventure phase can see participants climbing to the top of South East Asia’s highest mountain, Mount Kinabalu, in Borneo.

Raleigh International’s structured expeditions offer their young participants a diverse, safe and supportive experience which could not be achieved by travelling independently. Working in small groups comprised of young people from the UK, around the world and the host country, Raleigh’s expeditions offer a rare chance to discover new cultures, develop indispensable skills and make friends for life.

University admissions staff and employers from a wide range of industries see Raleigh International as a valuable, life-enhancing experience, which sets participants head and shoulders above their peers. Cecile Walton, Human Performance Manager at Accenture, said: ‘I have seen a large number of job applicants in an interview situation. Those who have been away with Raleigh really stand out from the crowd. They can offer concrete examples of the sorts of skills that Accenture values highly – leadership qualities, team work, analytical skills and the ability to think on your feet.’

As well as the popular ten-week expeditions departing throughout the year, Raleigh International also offers a series of five-week expeditions for those short on time, but not on enthusiasm. What’s more, the opportunity to fundraise is fundamental to the entire experience, which can help young people achieve their dream gap year without forking out a fortune. For a ten-week expedition participants are asked to raise £2,995 or £1,750 for a five week expedition – achievable sums which pay dividends in terms of building a sense of self-achievement before Raleigh’s volunteers have even strapped on their rucksack and boarded a plane.

After this year’s A’ Level results are published in August, it is easy to see why this newest generation of gappers will be ditching the beach bum options in favour of an all-together more worthwhile year out with Raleigh International.

Young people interested in making the most of their gap year can visit www.raleighinternational.org or call Raleigh International on 020 7371 8585 for more information.

Youth organisation Raleigh International was established in 1984 as Operation Raleigh, before changing its name to Raleigh International in 1992 to reflect its increasing number of volunteers from all over the world. It is a leading expert in structured gap year expeditions and one of the very first organisations to adhere to the new British Standard for overseas expedition safety (BS 8848).

Prince William helped Raleigh International hit the international headlines in 2001 when he took part in an expedition to Chile with the youth charity. The royal is just one of more than 30,000 to have taken part in an expedition, including young people from around the world and ‘at risk’ youths from the UK.

Hundreds of case studies are readily-available on every type of gap year scenario – including

pre-university, post-university and career gap year participants from all walks of life. Past volunteers and senior members of Raleigh’s staff are available for interview, and high-resolution images of Raleigh International’s volunteers and work around the globe are available in a variety of scenarios and locations.

For more information about Raleigh International please contact Michelle Byrne on 01452 381 654 or email michelle@fyrne.com

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