PepsiCo chief executive officer Indra Nooyi, journalist and author Fareed Zakaria, and Harman International Industries chairman and CEO Dinesh Paliwal, were among the honorees of the prestigious Ellis Island International Medal of Honor this year. Also awarded medals of honor were Dr. Annapoorna S. Kini, Yashvant Patel, Mohan H. Patel, as well as Pakistani American Dr. Adil Haider. Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai was bestowed the international medal of honor during the May 13 ceremony.
The medals of honor are given annually to individuals whose accomplishments in their field and service to the country are cause for celebration, NECO said. Additionally, the medals of honor embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity. They recognize individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity, all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America, NECO added.
Nooyi has been the CEO at PepsiCo since 2006 and chairman since 2007. She was previously the president and chief financial officer at the company, as well as senior vice president, and senior vice president of corporate strategy and development. Nooyi has also worked at Asea Brown Boveri, Motorola, The Boston Consulting Group, Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell Ltd.
Zakaria is the host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” as well as a columnist for The Washington Post. He has also served as a columnist at Newsweek, an editor at Newsweek International and editor-at-large of Time.
Paliwal has served as the president and CEO at Harman since July 2007 and later became the chairman in 2008. Prior to that, he served as president of ABB, where he worked for 22 years until he was hired at Harman.
Since its founding in 1986, the medal has been officially recognized by both Houses of Congress as one of the nation’s most prestigious awards. Since then, NECO has honored distinguished and diverse Americans, including six presidents of the United States, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as esteemed Americans such as Frank Sinatra, Lee Iacocca, Quincy Jones, Muhammad Ali, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, Louis Zamperini and Rosa Parks, NECO noted.