Global icon, multi-award winning actor, producer and women’s equality advocate, Shah Rukh Khan, will be awarded La Trobe University’s highest accolade during his visit to Australia for the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM).
La Trobe is the first Australian University to award Mr Khan with an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters (honoris causa), in recognition of his efforts to support underprivileged children, his unwavering dedication to the fight for women’s empowerment through MEER Foundation and his unparalleled achievements in the Indian entertainment industry.
Meer Foundation is a philanthropic foundation named after Shah Rukh Khan’s father Meer Taj Mohammed Khan which aims to effect change at ground level and works to build a world that empowers women. One of the key focus areas under female empowerment has been to support the cause of acid attack survivors. The Foundation provides support to female victims of acid attacks and major burn injuries through a 360-degree approach that helps them with their medical treatment, legal aid, vocational training as well as rehabilitation and livelihood support.
The Foundation’s efforts are not limited to helping acid attack victims alone. It has sponsored treatment and surgeries for women and children at several hospitals across the country. In addition, Meer Foundation has also helped organize health camps, movie screenings, and events for disadvantaged women and children.
La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar, said Mr Khan’s philanthropic leadership closely aligns with the University’s values.
“Mr Khan is a champion of societal change whose efforts to support the equality of women in India reflect La Trobe’s values of inclusiveness, equity and social justice,” Professor Dewar said.
As the only Victorian University to teach Hindi language and cinema studies Professor Dewar said it was a natural fit for La Trobe to be the exclusive Learning Partner for the IFFM.
“In the past eight years we have been proud to host India’s iconic film stars including Amitabh Bachchan, Vidya Balan and Rajkumar Hirani with the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne at La Trobe,” Professor Dewar said.
Mr Khan said having his humanitarian endeavours recognised for the first time in Australia was a great honour.
“I’m proud to be conferred with a great University like La Trobe which has a long-standing relationship with Indian culture and impressive track record in advocating for women’s equality,” Mr Khan said.
“I feel truly privileged to receive this Honorary Doctorate and I would like to sincerely thank La Trobe for choosing to recognise my achievements in such a humbling way.”
Festival Director of the IFFM, Mitu Bhowmick, said the festival is lucky to have La Trobe as a partner.
“The University shares our festival’s core values of inclusion, diversity and cultural growth,” Ms Bhowmick said.
“To be a part of this magnificent celebration of Mr Shah Rukh Khan’s amazing work, with La Trobe, is a matter of great joy and pride for the festival.”
La Trobe will present Mr Khan with his Honorary Doctorate on Friday 9 August at its Melbourne campus in Bundoora.
To purchase tickets to La Trobe’s exclusive award ceremony and In Conversation with Shah Rukh Khan, visit www.latrobe.edu.au/srk. Proceeds from all tickets sold will be donated by the University to Mr Khan’s non-profit organisation, Meer Foundation, which aims to build a world that empowers women and supports victims of acid attacks.
· La Trobe University is ranked in the top 1.2 per cent of Universities
* Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019 | Webometrics Ranking Web of Universities 2019
· Dignitaries that La Trobe University has hosted from the Indian subcontinent include, Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi, Kapil Dev, Malaika Arora Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi
· La Trobe University is one of only two universities in Australia teaching Hindi, and the only Australian University to teach a subject on the history, music, and storytelling of popular Hindi cinema
· La Trobe University is one of the founding members of the Australia India Institute
· In 2005, La Trobe’s Melbourne campus in Bundoora was featured in the first major Bollywood blockbuster film to be made entirely in Australia, Salaam Namaste, the film collected close to $10mil US at the box office.
· La Trobe University alumni now hold senior positions on boards across the globe with more than 19,000 graduates with Chinese and Indian heritage. · The La Trobe Library collection houses more than 38,000 volumes of monographs, journals, magazines and government publications from India, one of the largest collections in Australia.