Businessman, peer and former international student, Lord Karan Bilimoria will speak at StudyWorld’s welcome reception on Monday evening.
The life peer, who founded the Cobra beer company, is a keen supporter of international education. He is president of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Students.
“Lord Bilimoria is a real friend of international education, and a great speaker, so we are really delighted that he will with us on Monday night,” said Sarah Cooper, chief executive of English UK, which organises StudyWorld.
During debates in the House of Lords, Lord Bilimoria – who is a crossbench peer – has spoken in support of encouraging students to come to the UK and removing them from the migration figures. In a speech last autumn, he spoke about how he came to the UK from India as a 19-year-old student, following in the footsteps of two generations of his family. He said: “Our higher education is, of course, vital to our economy. It is one of our biggest exports. International students contribute directly and indirectly £14 billion to our economy and support 137,000 full-time equivalent jobs [and] they also enrich the experience of our domestic students. Our international students go on to become world leaders. At any time there are 30 world leaders from British universities, including former US presidents.
“What is more, a study carried out in the United States found that of all patents registered at the country’s top 10 patent-generating universities, 76 per cent had a foreign-born inventor. Google, after all, was created by an immigrant. Silicon Valley is littered with foreign student success stories. What chance do we have of emulating that here? Higher education has always been a thoroughly international affair.”
Lord Bilimoria, who is also Chancellor of Birmingham University and a former Chancellor of the University of West London (the youngest chancellor in the UK at the time), built his business empire by creating Cobra beer with a friend. When studying at Cambridge, Lord Bilimoria had often eaten out in Indian restaurants and felt there was a gap in the market for a beer which would go well with the food without being either too gassy or bitter. Cobra was created, to be as “refreshing” as a lager with the “smoothness and drinkability” of ale, to go with food.
To hear what he has to say, make sure you’re at the StudyWorld welcome reception in the QEII Centre at 6pm on Monday 4 September.
You can also hear one of the UK’s most respected and well-known journalists and broadcasters, Gavin Esler, deliver the keynote address on Tuesday 5 September, as well as many industry experts across the StudyWorld seminar programme.