Lord Karan Bilimoria and Bahram S. Bekhradnia, two distinguished Zoroastrians in the United Kingdom were awarded honorary Doctorates from the University of East Anglia.
In an announcement congratulation the duo, Malcolm Deboo, President of the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe writes:
Dear ZTFE Members & Well-wishers
You will agree with me that the probability of 2 Zoroastrians receiving Honorary Doctorates at the same time is extremely slim, but it did happen today at the University of East Anglia!
ZTFE congratulates Life Members Lord Karan F Bilimoria CBE DL and Bahram S Bekhradnia for receiving their Honorary Doctorates at the same time earlier today by the University of East Anglia. Photo attached below.
Bahram S Bekhradnia is the elder brother of Shahin. Their parents Shariar and Laal were amongst the first Iranian Zoroastrians to settle in the UK in the 1960s. Shariar set up the ‘Shirmand K Bekhradnia Fund’ in the ZTFE in the memory of his brother, from which the ZTFE organises the ‘Bekhradnia Sports Day’ every two years.
Bahram S Bekhradnia is a contemporary of Bill Clinton at University College Oxford. He became the first Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) on its creation on 1st November 2002, and on 1st January 2014 became HEPI’s first President. During his time as Director, he established HEPI as a respected and highly referenced higher education think-tank, advising governments in more than 25 different countries. Before establishing HEPI, Bahram had been Director of Policy for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) since its formation in 1992. Before joining the Funding Council, he spent his career in the Department of Education and Science (as it then was).
Malcolm M Deboo
TWO UK ZOROASTRIANS AWARDED HONORARY DOCTORATES ON SAME DAY
Given the tiny number of Zoroastrians in the UK, whether of Parsee or Iranian origin, it is a matter of pride and significance that two Zoroastrians should both be awarded a Doctorate of Civil Law by the same institution on the same day. The two had not met untl the ceremony earllier today.
Bahram Bekhradnia & Karan Billamoria have both been recognised by the prestigious University of East Anglia for their services to Higher Education. They were honoured on Tuesday 19th May at a ceremony by UEA which is reputed to be one of the most dynamic in the country.
For Bahram Bekhradnia, born in Iran, of Zoroastrian parents who arrived in UK from Iran over 60 years ago, this was his 4th honorary doctorate awarded in recognition of his expertise in advising universities about their long term development policies. After his education at Wellington College, and Oxford University where he read Greats (Greek & Latin Ancient History and Philosophy) he was recruited into the Dept of Education. From there he was seconded to the Higher Education Funding Council where he was Director of Policy, and went on to establish and direct the Higher Education Policy Institute, based in Oxford. He has also advised outside the UK in 24 countries on all continents. He has commissioned several important research projects some of which have radically influenced university recruitment and funding policies.
Karan Bilimoria is best known as a Parsi businessman, and the founder of Cobra Beer which he launched after his degree taken at Cambridge University. Having left India as a student, he has made his home in the UK where his business acumen and other qualities brought him into the House of Lords. There, he regularly participates in discussions on racial integration, societal cohesion and business development in the UK. He is a founder member of the APPG on Zoroastrianism, and apart from the many accolades received and committees which he sits on, he is Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, a position that allows him to apply his experience and insights to benefit the policies of that institution. He is also Chairman of a number of national bodies concerned with Higher Education.