The Ellis Island Medal of Honour founded by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organisations (NECO) is given annually to individuals whose accomplishments in their field and service to the country are cause for celebration.

Among 88 named recipients for the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honour 2017 – the highest civilian award in the US for immigrants, the six Indian-Americans include PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, author Fareed Zakaria, Harman International Industries chairman CEO Dinesh Paliwal, Dr Annapoorna S Kini, Yashvant Patel, Mohan H Patel, as well as Pakistani-American Dr Adil Haider.

Ms. Nooyi has been the CEO at PepsiCo since 2006 and chairman since 2007. She was previously the president and chief financial officer at the company, as well as senior vice-president, and senior vice-president of corporate strategy and development. She has also worked at Asea Brown Boveri, Motorola, The Boston Consulting Group, Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell Ltd.

The well-known journalist-author Mr. Zakaria is the host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” as well as a columnist for The Washington Post. He has also served as a columnist at Newsweek, an editor at Newsweek International and editor-at-large of Time. He has also authored five books, three of which have been international bestsellers. The Harman International Industries chairman CEO Mr. Paliwal has served as the president and CEO at Harman since July 2007 and later became the chairman in 2008.

Importantly, the NECO was created in 1986, on the conviction of its founders that the diversity of the American people is what makes this nation great.  Its mission is to honor and preserve this diversity and to foster tolerance, respect and understanding among religious and ethnic groups. NECO sponsors the Ellis Island Medals of Honor which are presented annually to American citizens who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the US way of life.

The Past Medalists include seven US Presidents, several world leaders, two Nobel Prize winners and countless leaders of industry, education, the arts, sports and government.

The 2017 recipients will be honoured at a May 13 event on Ellis Island in New York.

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