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Swiss award for Bunker Roy

By Our Special Correspondent

JAIPUR SEPT. 21. The Geneva-based Schwab Foundation has selected Bunker Roy, the founder director of the Barefoot College, Tilonia in Rajasthan as one of this year's outstanding individuals. Mr. Roy, who started his college for rural technology some 30 years ago, to promote traditional knowledge and practical skills, is among 20 others chosen by the foundation as the top Social Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2003.

``The Schwab Foundation identifies and supports a global community of stellar social entrepreneurs because they have a practical, simple and powerful vision that can be shared with others seeking to solve similar basic problems elsewhere. The foundation uses its leverage to attract the notice of Governments and business leaders so that the scalable solutions of social entrepreneurs can be replicated, improved and expanded,'' a communique from the foundation said.

``This selection is important because it recognises and endorses the capacity and competence of very simple people to do extraordinary work. They have demonstrated through barefoot approach that they do not need to depend and be controlled by an urban expert from outside. To be a social entrepreneur means taking risks and showing courage because they are fighting a rigid mindset,'' Mr. Roy said responding to the selection.

Mr. Roy was in news recently when he decided to return the Aga Khan Foundation award for architecture, bestowed on the Barefoot architects of Tilonia the previous year, following the foundation changing the citation of the award at the insistence of a professional architect of Delhi.

Mr. Roy has also been invited by the Schwab Foundation to participate in the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum being held from January 23 to 28 next year in Davos.

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