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The Asian Awards 2011

The Asian Awards 2011

May 18, 2011

How to decide the very best in South Asian achievement. 

This year will see the return of the Annual Asian Awards in association with Lebara. Launched last year, the Awards showcased the very best in South Asian cultural and professional achievement – celebrating individuals in fields of business, politics, sports, media, arts and technology. The winning individuals are themselves chosen from a series of world-class leaders, best described as their peers. Previous participants have included cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and composer A R Rahman. Spearheaded by Paul Sagoo of the Lemon Group consultancy and executed by Caroline Jackson Levy of UBM Awards – the awards are soon to take centre stage at The Grosvenor House Hotel on the 18th October. Before then, we spoke to Paul Sagoo about the complexities of an awards ceremony so ambitious in its scale. 

What inspired you to create an awards ceremony so vast in its scope?

I came up with the idea of the Asian Awards having been to many Asian events previously and noting that they were below par in many ways. For instance, the judging process was not rigid enough, the quality of the event itself was not up to scratch, the winners tended to be questionable to some degree and issues like nepotism and paid awards were common place. So, The Asian Awards was born out of a thought to correct all of these issues but more importantly honour the most amazing Asians on the planet and give them the event to support that honour.  It is in honouring the greatest that we Asians made the world stand up and take notice.

Were you ever concerned that there so many disciplines, or 'spheres of activity' that the awards could become too big?

Not really, the whole point is to differentiate ourselves and offer something that honours Asians irrespective of their field of excellence. Besides there are plenty of niche awards covering Asians in Business, media, sports and Cinema, but nothing covering the lot. I hope these awards do become big in terms of coverage but not in terms of management.

What awards do you feel most closest to?

Great question, I suppose the ones I feel a personal affinity towards are the Lifetime Achievement, Entrepreneur, Business Leader and Philanthropist. They are all awards whose winners I believe I probably resonate the most with.

How difficult a challenge was it to pull together all the judges for 2011?

It was more of a logistical issue than that of actually getting the judges to agree to take part. Many of them attended last year so they saw what we achieved and hopefully that gave them a good impression and a desire to take part in it this year.

From last year's awards, what will you want to carry forward and what have been the key learning points?

I think most of our issues were logistical. We were overwhelmed with the attendance so we did not plan to need extra security or that some of the winners would turn up a few hours before the event. So this year we will plan much better and expect the unexpected.

What will you most be looking forward to on the 18th October?

Last year the best part for me was the actual ceremony itself as I stood to the side of the stage and hugged all of our winners before they went to the press-room. At that moment I know that most of the issues are dealt with, the winners are in the room and we are about to have a great show. It really is a great moment and truly inspiring. I encourage all that can attend should and witness history in the making. 

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