A very "mysterious" word-of-mouth message was passed on to members of staff at Leeds Met on Thursday morning: there would be a meeting in the James Graham Building at noon, with an event and important announcements. Nobody who told me about this, knew what the exact nature of that event would be - we suspected that it would be related to Leeds Met getting the "Greenest Uni of UK" award, which just had made the news on our website.
As we went to the James Graham Building, there was first a kind of buffet dinner in the Acre room. Then we were ushered into the "Great Hall". This is a central piece of the James Graham Building - it had been used as a part of the library during the past years, with a "false ceiling", so that none of its former glory could be seen. Now it has been renovated, and this was the first time for me to be in that hall. High ceiling, large windows, quite a festive and representative facility for Leeds Met! Unfortunately I had not taken my camera with me... so I have no pictures from it.
The event turned out to be a Honorary Award ceremony for India's Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel who received a Honorary Doctorate of business administration - the secrecy of this award probably had to do with security concerns. Amazing, what the event organisers were able to pull out on such a short notice! The Black Dyke band provided the musical frame, the senior administration was in official Uni gowns. A bit more on the story is on the Leeds Met website.
This event is in conjunction with the "Bollywood Oscars": in the next days, Leeds is this year the venue for the annual award ceremony of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA). In the past days, Bollywood celebrities have flown into Yorkshire, and there has been quite a media buzz.
And of course, Leeds Met is prominently involved in this, as the official education partner of IIFA and Wizcraft, the Indian event organiser.