Lord Diljit RanaBritish Politician & Member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom, Founding Chairman of Andras House Limited
Lord Diljit Rana is a successful businessman in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is Chairman and Chief Executive of Andras House Group, Northern Ireland’s biggest hotels and hospitality organisation. Born at Sanghol in Punjab (INDIA), Lord Rana has lived in Northern Ireland since 1966.
His achievements are listed below:-
- He was appointed to the House of Lords in 2004 by the then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair in recognition of his work in driving the successful regeneration of Belfast city centre and his efforts to encourage political dialogue which led to peace talks in Northern Ireland.
- During the darkest days of the “Troubles” he hosted peace talks in his plush Belfast home, where he invited key political and religious leaders and encouraged a dialogue. This dialogue ended 30 years’ of terrorism. This was perhaps the most turbulent periods in the recent Irish History.
- He was appointed by Government of India as Honorary Consul for India to Northern Ireland from 2004-2012 and then reappointed in 2014. He is currently serving.
- In March 2003 he was invited to the Buckingham Palace to have Lunch with her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen of England.
- He was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1996.
- He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on the 1st Jan 2021.
- He was elected President of GOPIO (Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin) International in 2009 and is currently the Chairman of GOPIO International, headquartered in Mauritius.
- He is the first ethnic businessman to be elected President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, the region’s biggest business organisation.
- He has actively promoted business, education, political and cultural links between India and Northern Ireland, leading a series of business missions from Northern Ireland to India. Due to his efforts, India is the 2nd biggest investor in Northern Ireland next to USA and many Northern Ireland companies have set up businesses in India and vice versa.
- He holds honorary degrees from the region’s two universities, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, as well as the Bengal Engineering and Science University.
- He was awarded Pravasi Bharti Samman Award by Dr Abdul Kalam, then President of India, in 2007 for his work in promoting links between U.K. and India, and outstanding service in peace efforts and charitable causes.
- He also holds awards for enterprise from the Confederation of British Industry in the UK and from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board for his work to promote tourism.
- He was awarded LCN life time achievement award as “Beacon of Tourism” for his contribution to Northern Ireland Hospitality and Tourism in 2016.
- He has been given various awards in recognition of his work in economic regeneration of Belfast, peace efforts, towards business and for developing educational and cultural links between Northern Ireland and India. He is one of the top N.R.I philanthropists in the United Kingdom.
At a time when business investors were afraid to invest in Belfast because of the terrorist attacks, Lord Rana developed a range of commercial properties for offices, shops and restaurants. This confidence in the future of Belfast particularly in the eighties was crucially important in reviving business activity and economic regeneration in the city and he still continues to do so.
He was the driving force in what became known as ‘The Golden Mile’, the entertainment heart of Belfast. He was also instrumental in the development of ‘Harmony’, an iconic statue of peace and reconciliation which is at the core of the city’s Thanksgiving Square
When the troubles in Northern Ireland were at their peak, Lord Rana made some significant and timely contributions in peace building. He used a softly approach to work for peace, through facilitating dialogue in his own home over dinners between people from opposing sides (Republicans & Unionists) especially when it was considered impossible or too dangerous to do this. These dinners provided an opportunity for people to meet with each other and discuss matters. This facilitated dialogue and eventually led to the peace settlement and the Good Friday agreement in 1998.This was perhaps the most turbulent periods in the recent Irish History.
He is the founder of The Lord Rana Education Campus (www.cordia.edu.in) which is funded by his foundation charitable trust in the UK. The institution provides university level education in disciplines such as Humanities, ICT, Business Management, Hotel and Hospitality Management, Teacher Training and Hair & Beauty vocational skills training. An Institute of Conflict Studies and Resolution Practice is slated to open soon, which will have links with the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland (UK). The campus also includes an Indian Heritage Institute. A total of 3000 students study at the education campus.
The Lord Rana Education City is being developed in consultation with the village community.