DUBAI // Sunny Varkey, the chairman of Global Education Management Systems (Gems), has been awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Award for his work in education. Gems runs 26 schools in the UAE. The award, now in its 11th year, is given in memory of the former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1991. It is awarded to leaders in fields ranging from education to media, entertainment and sport.
"Three generations of my family have been involved in providing quality education to students in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the US over the last 50 years," said Mr Varkey. "The Rajiv Gandhi Award is a great recognition for our efforts, heritage and mission to make Gems further renowned all over the world." Also receiving the award this year were Anna Hazare, a social worker, Darsheel Safary, the child actor, Vir Sanghvi, a journalist, and Dalip Singh Rana, the World Wrestling Entertainment competitor known as "The Great Khali".
The award ceremony was held in Mumbai last month. Gems, which manages 100 schools worldwide and provides an education for more than 85,000 students, is the largest education provider in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Mr Varkey said the award motivated him to continue his efforts to further develop Gems into "an education brand synonymous with quality, global expertise and close association with the community".
Mr Varkey, who went into business with his parents in 1980, wants to see Gems become "the leading provider of education and learning management services" globally. The company recently announced plans to expand further in the UAE, spending Dh1.5 billion (US$41 million) to create 20,000 new school places. @email:email@example.com