Aston University awards Nishkam Chairman Honorary Doctorate of Science

2014 04 16 Baba Ji Aston -®SandeepVirdee-3375In a graduation ceremony held in the magnificent surrounds of Birmingham Town Hall on Tuesday, 15th April 2014 three leaders joined more than 520 postgraduate students from across Aston’s four Schools to receive recognition. 

During the 2014 graduation ceremony, the University awarded three honorary degrees to leading religious and business figures. They were Sue Noffke, an equity fund manager; Bhai Sahib, Dr Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Chairman of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) and the Nishkam Civic Association and The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham. The Senate is empowered to award degrees ‘honoris causa’ as a means of honouring individuals who have distinguished themselves in a particular field or profession, or who have given meritorious service to the University.

The Honorary Degrees are the University’s public recognition of an individual’s outstanding achievements or service at a local, national or international level. It is particularly appropriate if the achievements or service are directly related to Aston University and / or Birmingham and the West Midlands, or to the principles for which Aston University stands: the advancement, dissemination and application of learning and knowledge, by teaching, and research, for the benefit of industry and commerce, and of the community generally.

Bhai Sahib Dr Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia is the Spiritual Leader and Chairman of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, UK – a charitable 2014 04 16 Baba Ji Aston -®SandeepVirdee-3424organisation with its Headquarters in Birmingham and two sister organisations in Leeds and London with branches in India and Kenya.  He is also Chairman of the Nishkam Civic Association which engages in a plethora of civic activities. He has previously been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Central England in 2002 and from the University of Birmingham in 2006. Bhai Sahib is the first British Sikh to be awarded the official title of ‘Bhai Sahib’ by the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (the Sikh ‘apex’ organisation representing some 26 million Sikhs globally) for his selfless service in propagating the Sikh faith, engagement in interfaith work and heritage conservation.


Bhai Sahib said ”It is indeed a privilege and an honour to be recognised by such a prestigious University well known for its world-class teaching, and strong links to industry, government and commerce”.

Within the interfaith context, Bhai Sahib is a senior member of the Elijah Board of World’s Religious Leaders and the European Council of Religious Leaders.  He is Co-President and Trustee of Religions for Peace International, New York, and President of Religions for Peace UK.  He supports the Council for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chicago.  Bhai Sahib is Patron of the Divine Onkar Mission, Anon Care (UK), the Nishkam Healthcare Trust and the Nishkam School Trust which has pioneered a multi-faith ethos in values-based education at its Nishkam Nursery, Primary, High School and Sixth Form.  He is currently working on two landmark projects; an ‘International Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation’ and a Museum of World’s Religions to be located in Birmingham.

During his address to the gathered graduates and their families he said, “While this is a day of celebration for those who are graduating, it is also an occasion that represents departure from studying at Aston University to a new world stage where graduates have the opportunity to make their mark in the wider community, whether that is at a local, regional or indeed at global level. The true value of your education lies in how you transfer the knowledge you have gained for the greater good of communities and humanity at large”.

2014 04 16 Baba Ji Aston -®SandeepVirdee-3331He concluded his address “I strongly believe that it is imperative to fuse the sacred and the secular in order for humanity to share the bounty of our common good. I was honoured, privileged and humbled to be asked to address the UN General Assembly on the occasion of UN World Interfaith Harmony Week in 2012. I stated the following:

‘The whole of the human race is but one large family’ states Guru Gobind Singh Ji our tenth Guru. With this universality of the Almighty, we humans have common origins, common destiny and common goals. Pain, suffering, grief and tears are all common to us. We inhabit the same planet and share the same common environment.

We all aspire to be better human beings wishing for happiness, prosperity, success and peace which unfortunately deludes us mainly due to our negative values of lust, vengeance, greed, possessiveness, and arrogance. ‘The world is burning with the fire of these’ states Guru Nanak Dev Ji our first Guru and pleads to God, ‘save us, wherever and with whatever means possible.’

“Once again, I am deeply humbled by this honour and I trust that as graduates you will take advantage of the rich legacy of our great city“.2014 04 16 Baba Ji Aston -®SandeepVirdee-3419


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