" --IANS"
New Delhi, March 21 - Recognising the exemplary contribution towards the promotion of understanding, enhancing goodwill and friendship between India and their country on various international fora, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) gave away the Distinguished Alumni Award 2016 here on Monday.

Organised at the JawaharLal Nehru Bhawan, the event was attended by Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh who gave away the awards to the five winners - Galina Rousseva of Bulgaria, I. Ketut Widnya of Indonesia, Laura G. Yerekesheva of Kazakhstan, Soe Win of Myanmar and Sarita Boodhoo of Mauritius.

India and Indonesia have cultural collaboration that goes over centuries. Sagas like Ramayana and Mahabharata are authentic proof of Indian influence in Indonesia, I. Ketut Widnya, Director General of Hindu Community Guidance, Ministry of Religious Affairs in Indonesia told IANS.

The Indian culture, especially spirituality and Yoga are extremely popular across the world. The culture of India is unique and this should be more highlighted, Galina Sokolova, Professor, Sofia College in Bulgaria mentioned.

Mauritius and India shares deep cultural ties. And I think that both the governments should review the existing cultural schemes and improve the cultural connection, Sarita Boodhoo, Chairperson, Bhojpuri Speaking Union, Ministry of Arts and Culture commented.

The Distinguished Alumni Award was instituted to recognise foreign students who have studied in various Indian universities under the ICCR sponsored or supported scholarship schemes. We are happy to give away the awards to those whose contribution helped to develop inter cultural terms, said Amarendra Khatua, Director General, ICCR.

ICCR also announced two prominent initiatives a creating database of alumni and instituting a Distinguished Alumni Award, to be undertaken this year during the event.



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