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The Centennial Foundation of Toronto honours individuals who's accomplishments live up to the best of Sikh ideals.

Toronto, April 01, 2006
J. Gill

The Centennial Foundation celebrated the “Vaisakhi 2006 Gala", on April 01 at The Carlu, 444 Yonge St. in the heart of downtown Toronto. The 2006 Awards recognizes and honours both Sikhs and Non-Sikhs alike with respect to excellence achieved in all aspects of civil, social, and cultural life.

NRI, Mohanbir Singh Sawhney was Keynote Speaker of Gala. He is professor of Technology, the Director of the Center for Research in Technology & Innovation at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and a Fellow of the World Economic Forum. He is known as a thought leader and has been named one of the 25 most influential people in e-business (Business Week) as well as a member of the “Top 40 under 40,” a select group of young business leaders in the Chicago area (Crain’s Chicago Business).

NRI, Karansher Singh's brain behind Ryan, winner of the Best Short Film (Animated) award at the Academy Awards this year. He is now associate professor, computer science, at the University of Toronto. He is also the software R&D director for Ryan - this year's Academy Award winner in the Best Short Film (Animated) category. He graduated from IIT Chennai, did his Masters from Ohio State University and went on to do his Phd. Specialising in computer graphics and animation. He is one of the designers of Maya, 3-D graphics software that has been used by filmmakers from Steven Spielberg to George Lucas and Peter Jackson.

Singh spurned several lucrative U.S. offers to join Toronto's Alias company, where he and his team designed Maya — meaning "illusion" in Sanskrit. Used in numerous special-effects blockbusters, it later earned Alias one of the few Academy Awards given to a corporation. Singh went to New Zealand to take part in technical production for The Lord of The Rings

Maya is a high-end 3D computer graphics software package by Alias but now owned by Autodesk Media & Entertainment used in the film and TV industry, as well as for computer and video games. Autodesk Media & Entertainment acquired the software in October 2005 upon purchasing Alias Systems Corporation...Read More

NRI, Shonali Bose, Los Angeles-based filmmaker, a Hindu, was raised in Calcutta, Bombay and Delhi. She received her B.A. in history from Delhi University before earning her M.A. in political science at Columbia University and her M.F.A. in directing at the University of California at Los Angeles. Her films include the shorts The Gendarme Is Here (93) and Undocumented (95) and the documentary Lifting the Veil (97). She is being honoured for her movie Amu--which documents the pain of the 1984 riots against Sikhs in India when more than four thousand Sikhs were killed in a matter of three days. Shonali was a student in New Delhi when the riots occurred and worked in the camps after the massacres occurred and wrote the stories of those who survived.

NRI, Dr. Birinder Singh Ahluwalia hails from Amritsar, where he completed his medical degree in 1982 before immigrated to Canada in 1986. He is the President of BSA Diagnostic Ltd, one of the largest Radiological Diagnostic Centres of its kind in Canada. Dr Ahluwalia is widely known as a philanthropist and a patron of education, arts and culture in the Sikh-Canadian community, especially in his role as founder and patron of many of its institutions including Khalsa School in Malton and the Spinning Wheel Film Festival to name a few.

NRI, Shaminder Grewal-Philanthropist, Canada

Shaminder and his family immigrated to Canada in 1969. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary, Alberta, eventually moving to Toronto to pursue studies and a career in business management. Graduating with an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, and from the advanced management program at the Rotman School of Management. Putting his business management education to good use and with hard work Shaminder worked his way up through positions of increasing responsibility with CIBC. Today he serves as the President of FirstLine Mortgages, a division of CIBC with over $26 billion of assets under his management. He is well known as a supporter of various arts and cultural endeavors, and as a patron of many community institutions.

NRI, Nikki Randhawa
State Legislature Republican in the United States.

Ms. Nimrata Kaur Randhawa-Haley is the first South Asian in the South Carolina State Legislature and one of only five South Asians serving in state legislatures in the United States. Ms. Randhawa-Haley was born in Bamberg, South Carolina before moving to Lexington, South Carolina. She attended Clemson University majoring in Finance and worked as an accounting supervisor before joining her mother and sister as controller of the family business selling upscale clothing. As she became involved in her community, she served on the board of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce, and as president-elect of the National Association of Women Business Owners. In 2004, she entered politics and was elected to the South Carolina State Assembly beating out a 30-year incumbent. Most recently, in January 2006, she was named as the majority whip for the House Republican Caucus in the South Carolina General Assembly.....Read More

Khushwant Singh -India
Khushwant Singh, one of the best -known Indian writers of all times, was born in 1915 in Hadali (now in Pakistan). He was educated at the Government College, Lahore and at King's College, Cambridge University, and the Inner Temple in London. He practiced law at the Lahore High Court for several years before joining the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in 1947. He began a distinguished career as a journalist with the All India Radio in 1951....Read More

Judge Mota Singh - UK

Mota Singh, QC, was the first Sikh judge in the United Kingdom. Judge Mota Singh was raised and educated in Nairobi, Kenya. In Kenya, he held the positions of city councilor and alderman, secretary of the Kenya Law Society and vice chairman of Kenya Justice. He migrated to the United Kingdom following Kenya’s independence. In 1978 he was appointed as a Queens Counsel. In 1982, when he was appointed a Circuit Judge he made world headlines for opting to wear a white turban in court instead of the customary wig. As a result, he came to be seen as a sign of an evolving, multicultural Britain.










Mohanbir Singh Sawhney

Karansher Singh's brain behind Ryan, winner of the Best Short Film (Animated) award at the Academy Awards

NRI, Shonali Bose, Los Angeles-based filmmaker. She was
honoured for her movie Amu--which documents the pain of the 1984 riots against Sikhs in India

Dr. Birinder Singh Ahluwalia

Shaminder (Paul) Singh Grewal

Nikki Randhawa
Nikki Randhawa Haley,a Republican from District 87, became the first Indian American to hold elected office in South Carolina

Khushwant Singh

Britain's First Asian Judge
Mota Singh