London, July 1 (IANS) Racing driver Lewis Hamilton and Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty have been awarded Britain’s Global Diversity award for 2008 for their contribution to the diversity agenda. Shetty became famous in Britain last year after she was subjected to alleged bullying and racism in the television reality show “Celebrity Big Brother”. Her treatment – by some other participants in the popular show – became the subject of a heated row in India.
Hamilton was also subjected to racial abuse. On Feb 4 this year, he was racially abused by spectators during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile FIA) warned the Spanish authorities about such behaviour and announced it would launch a ‘Race Against Racism’ campaign.
The awards are to presented Tuesday night at an event to be attended by British Foreign Minister David Miliband MP and Culture Minister Andy Burnham among others. The event is being hosted by the Next Steps Foundation, an organisation established 10 years ago by MPs Bernie Grant and Keith Vaz to encourage diversity in both the public and private sectors.
The evening will also highlight the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue that invites European nations to celebrate diversity in Europe. Vaz, who has been made British ambassador for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, said both Shetty and Hamilton â€œfaced adversity in their careers but have dealt with it with grace and dignityâ€.