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Newcastle University awards Honorary Degrees to Sunil Bharti Mittal and Rakesh Bharti Mittal for their philanthropic initiatives in the area of education

London / New Delhi, December 4, 2012: Newcastle University, UK, a major research-intensive university today announced that it has awarded Honorary Doctor of Civil Law Degrees to Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Foundation and Rakesh Mittal, Co-Chairman, Bharti Foundation for their outstanding contribution to the economic and social renewal of India. Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti group, through its Satya Bharti School Program provides free quality education to over 38,000 underprivileged children through 254 village schools across India. The children are also provided free uniform, books and mid-day meals and the program has special focus on the girl child.

To commemorate the launch of the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal, the University is recognizing individuals whose interests and achievements embody the spirit and values of social renewal. Sunil and Rakesh have been honoured for their philanthropic work in the field of education and their passion towards growth and development of communities across India.

The Foundation also focuses on higher education and has solely sponsored the Bharti School of Telecommunications in IIT Delhi and the school offers M.Tech, MBA, M.S (Research) and PhD in Telecommunications. It has also supported the establishment of the Bharti Centre for Communication in IIT Mumbai and under the Bharti Scholarship and Mentorship program supports academically bright students from financial weak backgrounds. The group has recently sponsored the Bharti Institute of Public Policy at the Indian School of Business (ISB) Mohali in partnership with The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA.

Professor Chris Brink, Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University, UK said: “Honorary degrees are a way for Newcastle University to recognize those figures from industry, academia, education and politics who have made a major contribution to people’s lives and the world we live in. It is a great pleasure to acknowledge Sunil and Rakesh Mittal in this way. Through their Bharti Foundation they have succeeded in transforming the lives of thousands of the most disadvantaged children in India by making education accessible to them and to future generations.”

The honorary degrees were awarded at a Congregation ceremony on 4th December at Newcastle University, UK.

Newcastle University is renowned for its expertise in the humanities and social. Its focus on social renewal will see Newcastle academics examining how communities across the globe survive and thrive in the face of economic, environmental or health inequalities.

Two more individuals were awarded honorary degrees for their contributions to the society at the ceremony: Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty the human rights organisation and Lord WG (Garry) Runciman, one of the UK's leading sociological theorists.

About Newcastle University, UK:

Newcastle University is a major research-intensive university, located in Newcastle upon Tyne in the north-east of England. It strives for world-class academic excellence- but excellence with a purpose.

The University is ranked in the Top 20 of UK universities in The Sunday Times 2013.

  • Amongst our peers Newcastle is:

    - 10th in the UK for student satisfaction

    - In the UK’s top 12 for research power in Science and Engineering

  • 93% of our students are in a job or further training within six months of graduating (HEFCE 2012)
  • It has a world-class reputation for research excellence and is spearheading three major societal challenges that have significant impact on global society. These themes are: Ageing, Sustainability and Social Renewal.

About Bharti Foundation:

Bharti Foundation was set up in 2000 as the philanthropic arm of the Bharti Group of Companies to help bridge the education divide between urban and rural India. Towards achieving this intent, the Foundation launched its flagship initiative, the Satya Bharti School Program in 2006. The program delivers quality education, free of cost, to underprivileged children in the villages of India, focusing primarily on the girl child, and is helping transform students into well educated, confident, employable and socially responsible citizens. Currently, more than 38,000 children are enrolled in 254 Satya Bharti Schools (including 187 primary, 12 elementary and five senior secondary schools) across six Indian states. The intent of the program is to develop scalable, sustainable and replicable components of quality education to make a large scale impact on the education sector as a whole.

About Bharti Enterprises:

Bharti Enterprises is one of India’s leading business groups with interests in telecom, agri business, financial services, retail and manufacturing. Bharti has been a pioneering force in the Indian telecom sector with many firsts and innovations to its credit. Bharti Airtel Limited, the group's flagship company, is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. The Company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers.

Other business ventures of the group include Bharti Softbank - a JV between Bharti Enterprises and Softbank Corp - for mobile internet. Beetel Teletech, a group company, is India’s India’s leading manufacturer and distributor of telecom and allied products. The group has a JV –FieldFresh Foods – with Del Monte Pacific Ltd, to offer fresh and processed fruits and vegetables in the domestic as well as international markets. Bharti has JVs with AXA, world leader in financial protection and wealth management, for Life Insurance and General Insurance. The group has presence in the retail sector through Bharti Retail that operates stores in multiple formats. It also has a JV - Bharti Wal-Mart - with Wal-Mart for wholesale cash-and-carry and back-end supply chain management operations in India.