Statistics show that Gujaratis comprise around 33 pc of the Indian diasporas worldwide. Drifted for work, they are present in almost all countries that offer good business opportunities. Below are the famous five who not just made it to a foreign land but also to hearts of millions around the world.
A NASA astronaut and United States Naval Officer, Sunita Lyn Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio in the year 1965. An alumni of the US Naval Academy and Florida Institute of Technology, she was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1998. A veteran of two space missions, she has established four spacewalks totalling 29 hours and 17 minutes and holds a record for most amount of time spent on space walks by a woman. She has spent a total of 322 days in space on two missions, now ranks sixth on the all-time US endurance list and second all-time for a female astronaut. She is the recipient of Navy Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and various other service awards.
She is the Secretary of State for International Development in the UK since July 14, 2016. She was elected Conservative MP for Witham in May 2010. In November 2013, she became the first ever UK Indian Diaspora Champion elected by the British Prime Minister. An alumnus of a comprehensive school in Watford, Keele University and University of Essex, Patel has served as the Minister of State for Employment from May 2015 until July 2016. She was Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury from July 2014 to May 2015. Besides having a career in politics, Patel has worked in consultancy and has also worked internationally.
An actor of Indian origin, Manji has appeared in Hollywood blockbusters such as ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, ‘Transformers’ and ‘The Dictator’. He also became a famous face through his role in the TV series titled, ‘Outsourced’. He was born in Toronto, Canada, to parents of Indian origin who moved there from Tanzania. Manji, also known for his roles in ‘American Desi’, ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’, ‘Morning Glory’, ‘Don Jon’ and TV shows, ‘Glee’ and ‘24’, had one of the busiest years in 2013. The actor is a Bollywood fan and has often expressed his desire to work with Indian actor, Aamir Khan.
Ishu Patel is an animation film director/producer and educator whose films have received theatrical and television distribution worldwide. His works have garnered him international awards such as two Oscar Nominations, the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, the British Academy Award and the Grand Prix at both Annecy and the Montreal World Film Festival. Born in Gujarat, Patel is an alumnus of MS University in Baroda, the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, and the Basel School of Design, Switzerland. A Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship brought him to the National Film Board of Canada. He is known for the development of animation techniques to enhance his stories and visuals, and has produced and directed award-winning films, ‘The Bead Game’, ‘Afterlife’, ‘Top Priority’, ‘Divine Fate’ and ‘Paradise’. He is also a keen photographer and often travels the world with his camera.
With a family lineage from Gujarat, it was this South African cricketer’s grandparents that moved out of India. A batsman, Amla is often regarded as a stroke-master. He started writing his success story from the age of 21 when he was appointed as the captain of the Nashua Dolphins, a franchise cricket team representing the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa. Amla has led the South African side at the 2002 Under-19 World Cup and made his test debut against India in 2004-05. He has proved his potential time and again at various forms and arenas of the game.