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Garavi Gujarat 2 (GG2), Tuesday 15 October 2002 at the London Hilton Hotel

The Garavi Gujarat 2 (GG2) Leadership and Diversity Awards, considered a premier award for diversity in UK, were presented Tuesday by British Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoon.

David Michael, Detective Chief Inspector, received the Achievement Through Adversity Award

Expressing his best wishes for the awards, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "I am proud to be the Prime Minister of a country of many cultures and many faiths. Events like this recognise the many achievements of Britain's ethnic community and help strengthen the role that its members are increasingly playing in a wide range of fields, including business, the arts and sciences."

"I appreciate the increasing involvement of the community in public life and look forward to building on this in the future," he said.

Geoff Hoon said the government had removed "unnecessary barriers" that come in the way of recruitment of Hindus and Sikhs in the armed forces.
He said the ethnic minorities currently constituted 4 per cent of the forces and they would be increased by one more per cent in 2003.

"The aim of the GG2 Leadership and Diversity Awards is to break down the walls that divide us," said award organiser Ramniklal Solanki, OBE, Editor-in-Chief of the leading English-Gujarati weeklies Garavi Gujarat
and GG2 . "We hope that by highlighting the achievements of members of the ethnic communities, our award winners can act as role models to the community as a whole," he said.

Solanki said racial intolerance and mistrust come in many guises. "At times, openly hostile; at others, lurking insidiously below the surface. Whether open or hidden, there is no doubting the effects."

"The diversity of modern Britain is something to be celebrated. Its rich foliage of cultures has its roots in the common seeds of mankind, its growth in the common bond of nationhood," Solanki said.

Diversity at the workforce helped companies to show better results, said Indra Nooyi, President and Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo Inc USA, who was the guest of honour.