Renowned Indian filmmaker Yash Chopra, actress Shabana Azmi and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel will be conferred honorary doctorates by the Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU) during the IIFA weekend in Yorkshire next week.
LMU, which calls itself "India's favourite British university", is closely involved with the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) event. Many of its students have volunteered to work at the various IIFA events planned across the five Yorkshire towns of Leeds, York, Bradford, Hull and Sheffield from June 7 to 10.
The honorary doctorates will be presented to Chopra, Patel and Azmi at the University Convocation Hall June 7.
On the occasion of India celebrating 60 years of its independence, the university wishes to commemorate India's freedom struggle by honouring prominent Indian personalities who have contributed to the emergence of India as a fast developing, economically strong and cinema-proud nation.
Expressing delight at being selected for the honorary doctorate, Patel said: "It is a matter of great pride for me to accept this doctorate from such a prestigious institution. India and the UK go back a long way and have very close political, economic and education ties. In the UK, 1.3 million Indians live and our cultural and social ties are only growing. To be recognised for such an honour makes me extremely proud."
Simon Lee, vice-chancellor of the university, said: "We wish to honour the people of India by recognizing champions of culture, enterprise and public service and as IIFA comes to Yorkshire to celebrate 60 years of Independence fostering mutual respect."
LMU has launched a pioneering new partnership with IIFA, which it believes will strengthen educational, business, arts and sporting links with India and offer Leeds Met scholarships to winners of global competitions.
Two academic chairs, the IIFA Chair for Global Cinema and an India Chair celebrating 60 years of Indian independence, will be established, and it is intended that the partnership will also provide numerous opportunities for students to get involved with Indian Cinema, raising the profile of Leeds Met's Northern Film School.
A formal partnership agreement was signed earlier this year by global ambassador for the IIFA, Amitabh Bachchan, and the director of student-centred change management at Leeds Met, Joy Kumar.
Leeds Met students and staff are playing an active role in the planning and delivery of the IIFA Weekend in Yorkshire, including the charity cricket match at Headingley Carnegie Stadium where a host of Indian stars will compete in front of an anticipated crowd of 18,000.
Lee added: "We have many students from India and we would like our whole university to become better students of India.
"We will give what we can to this special partnership and we know we have much to learn. From the inspirational heritage of the struggle for Indian independence through to the grace and artistry of the contemporary Indian film industry, this partnership will take us all beyond boundaries."