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Nobel Winner Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is India Abroad Person of the Year 2009
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Nobel Winner Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is India Abroad Person of the Year 2009

New York, United States

Rediff.com India Limited (NASDAQ: REDF).

Indian-American structural biologist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on the structure and function of the ribosome, was named the India Abroad Person of the Year 2009 at an impressive ceremony in New York City on March 5.

The who’s who of the Indian-American community attended the event held at the National Museum of the American Indian in the magnificent Alexander Hamilton US Customs House, a stone's throw from the financial district's famed Wall Street Bull.

It was the seventh annual India Abroad Person of the Year Awards gala, a marquee event on the Indian-American community calendar hosted by India Abroad, the oldest and most widely circulated weekly newspaper serving the Indian Diaspora, published from New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Toronto.

India Abroad, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, is owned by Indian Internet leader Rediff.com

Past winners of the coveted India Abroad Person of the Year award are Iowa state legislator Swati Dandekar (2002), Indicorps co-founder Sonal Shah (2003), captain of the silver medal-winning US gymnastic team at the Athens Olympics Mohini Bhardwaj (2004), then US Congressman and current Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (2005), PepsiCo Chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi (2006), acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair (2007), and Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek International Editor and host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS (2008).

This year, a total of nine awards were presented in seven categories.
The first to be honoured was the India Abroad Young Achiever 2009, Kavya Shivashankar, winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee 2009.

The India Abroad Gopal Raju Award for Community Service 2009 went to the South Asian Council for Social Services and its Executive Director Sudha Acharya, for the decade-old SACSS’s support and empowerment of South Asian immigrants in America.

Dr Priyamvada Natarajan, professor of astronomy and physics at Yale University, was named the India Abroad Face of the Future 2009, an award which recognizes the promise of glittering future achievement. Mathematician Dr Manjul Bhargava, the youngest full professor at Princeton University and the inaugural India Abroad Face of the Future 2008, was also present.

Investment banker, community leader and philanthropist Sreedhar Menon was awarded the India Abroad Award for Lifetime Service to the Community 2009.

After a lavish dinner, the nearly 250 guests learned that, for the first time, there would be more than one winner of the India Abroad Publisher's Special Awards for Excellence.

India Abroad Publisher and Rediff.com Chairman and CEO Ajit Balakrishnan presented the Special Awards for Excellence to National Public Radio's Morning Edition Executive Producer Madhulika Sikka, The Washington Post Managing Editor Raju Narisetti, and Otterbein College Professor Abhijat Joshi, best known as the co-writer of Bollywood blockbusters 3 Idiots and Lage Raho Munnabhai. In the past, the Publisher’s Special Award has been won by the likes of astronaut Sunita Williams (2006) and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jhumpa Lahiri (2008).

Next, Lahiri's publisher Ajai Singh ‘Sonny’ Mehta, a titan in the world of books and the publisher and editor-in-chief of Alfred A Knopf, was given the India Abroad Award for Lifetime Achievement 2009. Fittingly, writer Suketu Mehta - whose book on Mumbai, Maximum City, was edited by Sonny Mehta -- and actress and legendary food writer Madhur Jaffrey presented the award to Mehta whose wife writer Gita Mehta, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s elder sister, was present.

Via a video-address, former US President Bill Clinton congratulated India Abroad on 40 years of publishing and congratulated Sonny Mehta, who published Clinton's bestselling memoir, My Life, and all the other winners.

Next, also speaking via video, was the India Abroad Person of the Year 2008, Fareed Zakaria, who revealed Dr Ramakrishnan as the India Abroad Person of the Year 2009 and congratulated the Nobel Laureate.

The evening ended fittingly, with Dr Ramakrishnan winning over everyone with a speech marked by the astounding humility he is famous for.

The India Abroad Person of the Year 2009 awards ceremony, emceed by Columbia University Journalism School Professor Sreenath Sreenivasan, was attended by, among others, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, Indian diplomats Ambassadors Prabhu Dayal and Manjeev Singh Puri, The Huffington Post Managing Editor Jai Singh, CNBC Managing Editor Nik Deogun, human rights attorney Vanita Gupta, the first winner of the India Abroad Publisher's Special Award for Excellence, actors Madhur Jaffrey and Aasif Mandvi, oncologist Dr Dattatreyudu Nori.

The awardees at a glance:

-- India Abroad Person of the Year 2009: Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan.

-- India Abroad Award for Lifetime Achievement 2009: Sonny Mehta.

-- India Abroad Publisher's Special Awards for Excellence: Madhulika Sikka, Raju Narisetti, Abhijat Joshi.

-- India Abroad Award for Lifetime Service to the Community 2009: Sreedhar Menon.

-- India Abroad Face of the Future 2009: Dr Priyamvada Natarajan.

-- India Abroad Gopal Raju Award for Community Service 2009: South Asian Council for Social Services, Sudha Acharya.

-- India Abroad Young Achiever 2009: Kavya Shivashankar.

The event was presented by Vonage. Other event partners include the University of Antigua, Continental Airlines, Applecore Hotels, TV Asia, Sahara Filmy and Ada.

Safe Harbor

Except for historical information and discussions contained herein, statements included in this release may constitute "forward-looking statements." These statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those that may be projected by these forward looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to the slowdown in the economies worldwide and in the sectors in which our clients are based, the slowdown in the Internet and IT sectors world-wide, competition, success of our past and future acquisitions, attracting, recruiting and retaining highly skilled employees, technology, legal and regulatory policies, managing risks associated with customer products, the wide spread acceptance of the Internet as well as other risks detailed in the reports filed by Rediff.com India Limited with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Rediff.com India Limited and its subsidiaries may, from time to time, make additional written and oral forward looking statements, including statements contained in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and our reports to shareholders. Rediff.com India Limited does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement that may be made from time to time by or on behalf of the Company.

mandarn@rediff.co.in

Source:Rediff.com (India) Ltd. (Business Wire India)

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