Six outstanding Indian-Americans have been listed for the Ellis Island Medal of Honor 2017 by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organisations (NECO) out of a list of 88 awardees.
The medals of honor are given annually to individuals whose accomplishments in their field and service to the country are cause for celebration, NECO said.
They recognise individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity, all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America, NECO added.
Additionally, the medals of honor embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity.
The Indian-American recipients named in 2017 include PepsiCo chief executive officer Indra Nooyi, journalist and author Fareed Zakaria, and Harman International Industries chairman and CEO Dinesh Paliwal.
Also awarded medals of honor were Dr Annapoorna S Kini, Yashvant Patel, Mohan H Patel, as well as Pakistani-American Dr Adil Haider.
Nooyi has been the CEO at PepsiCo since 2006 and chairman since 2007. She was previously the president and chief financial officer at the company, as well as senior vice president, and senior vice president of corporate strategy and development.
Nooyi has also worked at Asea Brown Boveri, Motorola, The Boston Consulting Group, Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell Ltd.
She earned a Bachelor's from Madras Christian College, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Kolkata and a Master's from Yale University.
Zakaria is the host of CNN’s ‘Fareed Zakaria GPS’ as well as a columnist for The Washington Post. He has also served as a columnist at Newsweek, an editor at Newsweek International and editor-at-large of Time.
The Indian American has authored five books, three of which have been international bestsellers. He earned a Bachelor’s from Yale University and a doctorate from Harvard University. He has also received honorary degrees from numerous universities including Johns Hopkins, Brown, the University of Miami and Oberlin College.
Paliwal has served as the president and CEO at Harman since July 2007 and later became the chairman in 2008. Prior to that, he served as president of ABB, where he worked for 22 years until he was hired at Harman.
He also serves on the boards of directors of Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Raytheon Company. He is a member of the CEO Business Roundtable, the US-India CEO Forum, and serves on the board of the US-India Business Council.
Paliwal earned a Master’s degree at the Indian Institute of Engineering in Roorkee and later earned a Master’s in engineering and MBA. from Miami University in Ohio.
Since its founding in 1986, the medal has been officially recognised by both Houses of Congress as one of the nation’s most prestigious awards.
The 2017 recipients will be honoured at a May 13 event on Ellis Island in New York.