The Best Speakers for South Asian Heritage Month
Celebrated each year from 18th July-17th August, South Asian Heritage Month presents a unique opportunity for organisations to embrace cultural diversity, foster inclusion, and celebrate the invaluable contributions of South Asian communities. By recognising the importance of this month, businesses can showcase their commitment to embracing global perspectives, fostering an inclusive work environment, and tapping into the rich heritage that has shaped the South Asian diaspora.
The Speakers Agency has curated a list of exceptional individuals and speakers whose expertise and insights can help promote dialogue, understanding, and appreciation for South Asian heritage. Here are some of our favourites:
Meera Syal is the acclaimed BAFTA nominated actor, screenwriter and author. West Midlands born, Meera grew up in a small Black Country mining community. After her parents emigrated from New Delhi in 1960, Meera’s childhood was defined by being “The Only Asians in the Village.” This experience subsequently became the backdrop to her first novel, Anita and Me, which was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize and was adapted by Meera into a screenplay for a BBC film of the novel.
Mohsin Zaidi is an accomplished author, commentator, and lawyer, who has inspired many with his work. His memoir, A Dutiful Boy, has received critical acclaim, winning prestigious awards and being named Book of the Year by several publications. In his book and his speeches, Mohsin shares his personal experiences of being raised in a devout Pakistani Muslim household and coming to terms with his identity as a gay man, and how he was able to reconcile his heritage with his true self.
Preethi Nair was born in Kerala, South India in 1971 and came to England as a child. Jobless and having been rejected by most publishers, Preethi took the deposit out of the flat she was about to buy and set up her own publishing company to self-publish her book ‘Gypsy Masala’. Not having enough money for a PR agency, she set up her multinational in the bedroom and appointed a feisty director, Pru Menon (her alter ego) to shamelessly hype the book. After two years of a roller coaster of a journey, she signed a three-book deal with HarperCollins. Preethi won the Asian Woman of Achievement award for her endeavours and ‘Pru’ was shortlisted as Publicist of the Year for the PPC awards.
Raj Adgopul started his working career in Mumbai, where he was living in a room shared with 23 other people in a railway quarter. For four years all his belongings fitted into a plastic bag: a toothbrush and some toothpaste, one spare set of clothes and one pair of shoes. Raj arrived in England in 2002 with £5 in pocket but went onto complete a degree and postgraduate in early years child Psychology, start a family and more recently, through his desire to share his learnings, work his way up to the O2 stage in London where he gave his hugely popular Tedx Talk.
Shamim Chowdhury is an international journalist and writer. She has co-authored two books on journalism and is a judge at the Asian Media Awards. Born to working-class immigrant parents and growing up in inner city London, never for a minute did she imagine she would one day become the world’s first British-Bangladeshi foreign correspondent at an international news station.
Nina Nannar is the Arts Editor for ITV News. Nina covers stories in the world of arts and entertainment and interviews the industry’s big names. Nina’s interviewees have included Daniel Craig, Karl Lagerfeld and Dame Helen Mirren. As a working-class daughter of Indian immigrants, Nina joined the television industry very much in the minority, and her long and distinguished career makes her an important voice today.
Harnaam Kaur is a body positivity warrior, motivational speaker, model, world record holder and activist. Drawing upon her battle scars and struggles as a bullied teenager, Harnaam inspires people across the globe to embrace their beauty, whatever form it comes in.
Azeem Rafiq is a former professional cricket player. In 2020, following a successful 10-year professional cricketing career, Azeem’s life would change forever. In an act that required significant courage and resilience, he blew the whistle on racism and bullying at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and found himself in a globally recognised legal battle, which saw charges brought by the England and Wales Cricket board (ECB) bringing the 160 year old sporting institution into disrepute.