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Oxford honour for Poonawalla


London: Cyrus Poonawalla, Founder and Chairman of the Serum Institute of India, received an honorary degree from the University of Oxford for his work in the field of life-saving vaccines and philanthropy.

Poonawalla was awarded his degree on Wednesday at the world-famous university's annual Encaenia academic ceremony alongside Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan as part of a total 2019 cohort of eight honorary degrees.

With Dr Poonawalla's vision, the Serum Institute has reached the unmatched figure of protecting more than two-thirds of the infant population globally, notes the citation for the Indian businessman.

He is also a generous philanthropist, focusing on public causes and under served communities, it adds.

Founded in 1966, the serum institute is the world's largest manufacturer of life-saving vaccines by number of doses, producing more than 1.5 billion doses a year that are used in over 170 countries.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was awarded the honorary degree for his contribution to music across Bollywood and Hollywood.

His citation reads: Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is a Pakistani singer, primarily of Qawwali, a devotional music of the Muslim Sufis. Born into a family whose name has become synonymous with South Asian musical tradition, he began formal training at the age of seven and has since released more than fifty albums, performed in numerous high-profile concerts across the world, and amassed a global following, achieving over one billion views online.

He has sung more than 50 title tracks of television serials and over one hundred film songs in both Hollywood and Bollywood.

Khan said he was honoured to have been recognised by such a renowned educational institution.

To be presented with this honour is a massive achievement and I am happy that my music has allowed me to reach such incredible heights, said Khan, who is set to perform at Oxford Town Hall on Thursday.

Oxford University has previously recognised the work of the musician by naming one of their music halls after him.

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