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Australia to honour Ravi Shankar for commitment to music and humanity

Melbourne: World-renowned sitar player, composer, teacher and writer Ravi Shankar will receive the University of Melbourne’s highest honour – the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) – at a special conferring ceremony at the University tomorrow.

With the awarding of this degree, the University of Melbourne recognises Ravi Shankar’s outstanding commitment to music and humanity. The degree will be conferred by University of Melbourne Chancellor and Chairman of the Australia India Institute, the Honourable Alex Chernov, AO QC.

The honorary degree of Doctor of Laws is awarded by the University of Melbourne to recognise people who are distinguished by eminent public service or outstanding cultural achievement. A proposal for the award of the degree must be supported by a majority of the members of the University’s Academic Board.

Regarded as a ‘singular phenomenon in the classical music world of East and West’, Ravi Shankar is credited with the concept for the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh with the Beatles’ George Harrison – to raise money for refugees flowing into India – that paved the way for today’s high-profile benefit concerts.

Ravi Shankar joins an international group of eminent people who have been honoured by the University of Melbourne with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

They include Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi; former president of Ireland Mary Robinson and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; art critic and author Robert Hughes; Australian Indigenous rights activist, Lowitja O’Donoghue; the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama; academic and commentator on public issues, Germaine Greer; and distinguished Australian scientist Professor Sir Gustav Nossal.

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