University Belfast honoured the former President of India, Dr A.P.J.
Abdul Kalam, at a special ceremony in the University on Tuesday, 10
June 2009. Dr Kalam was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws for
distinction in public service. Speaking on this occasion Queen’s
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “Through Dr
Kalam’s outstanding abilities as a world statesman, scientist,
educator and visionary, he has inspired millions in his native India
and around the world."
In his acceptance speech Dr Kalam unfolded his vision of a
borderless world - a world in which three billion youth will
hope to live in a peaceful, happy and prosperous and safe world with
full of opportunities...a borderless techno-commercial world,
including the convergence of technologies...'
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APJ Abdul Kalam: A biography
Dr Kalam was President of
India from 2002 to 2007. He is considered among the greatest holders
of this office, topping a poll conducted by news channel CNN-IBN for
India's Best President. During his term of office, he led the
country’s continuing emergence as a developed nation and developed
policies for sustained economic growth.
A former Principal Scientific Adviser
to the Government of India, Dr Kalam is also an award-winning
aerospace engineer who played a leading role in many of India’s
most recent technological breakthroughs, including the landing of
India's first unmanned lunar spacecraft in November last year.
In 2007 he was awarded the
prestigious King Charles II medal of the Royal Society and in April
this year, he became the first Asian to receive the Hoover Medal,
America's top engineering prize, for his outstanding contribution to
Dr Kalam is also a gifted poet and
writer, and has authored a number of inspirational books, including
his autobiography, ‘Wings of Fire’, which is a household name in
India and has been published in many languages, including English.
APJ Abdul Kalam was born in 1931 at
the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He started his career with the
Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation before moving
to the Indian Space Research Organisation where he became Project
Director for India's first Satellite Launch Vehicle SLV-3 which
enabled the launch into orbit of the Rohini satellite in July 1980.
In 1982 he became Director of the Defence Research and Development
Laboratory and later the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Defence
Minister and Secretary, Department of Defence Research and
Development. Before his election as President, he was Professor of
Technology and Societal Transformation at Anna University, Chenai.