Global Unity Dinner and Dance - 2023

Emilia Bland

This year’s Global Unity Dinner (GUD) saw 200 friends, family, colleagues, business leaders, politicians and community representatives join in the celebrations at the prestigious Dorchester Hotel in central London.

The event, held on 28 June, was hosted by Regent Group founders, Dr Selva Pankaj (CEO) and Mrs Tharshiny Pankaj (Global Managing Director and Academic Registrar). Regent Group is a global technology-enabled education, economic development and investment management organisation that has helped thousands of students from around the world achieve academic and professional success.

Promoting Worldwide Harmony

The annual dinner and dance promotes worldwide harmony, unity and commonality in recognition of the importance of peace among all nations and communities.

The black-tie celebrations included a three-course dinner, dancing and speeches. To kick off the event, guests were greeted with a champagne reception before making their way to the main event – a fabulous selection of culinary delights which concluded with a choice of two mouthwatering desserts - tiramisu or blood orange panna cotta.

Tharshiny kicked off the evening with a video about the need for nations to work together in harmony and peace, featuring former US President, Barack Obama, Dr Rami Ranger and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

A one-minute silence was then held for all those who had lost their lives in conflict.

Support from the Prime Minister

Selva then thanked the guests for giving up their time to attend the event and introduced a video message of support by British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who thanked the Pankaj family for hosting an event in the name of global peace and unity. He also praised their dedication in giving back through education before welcoming their initiative to create a new British university. Mr Sunak concluded his message of support by wishing everyone a pleasant evening.

Selva then spoke about his experience of growing up in Sri Lanka during the Civil War and being conscripted by a Tamil militant group before his parents managed to get him out of the country by sending him to study in the UK which he now calls home. He went on to talk about how to solve the problem of conflict which, through research and his own belief, is achieved by looking inside oneself and making the decision to change things.

His wife, Tharshiny, addressed the audience with a heartfelt account of childhood memories of war, terror and learning how to hide under her school desk to avoid being shot. She urged every person present to do something positive to promote unity around the world by reflecting upon something they could change about themselves in an effort to become a better human being.

Selva and Tharshiny’s two daughters, Sharanie and Dharanie, also gave a short speech in which they shared their experience of growing up as second-generation immigrants. They appealed to the next generation to grow and foster unity before thanking everyone for attending the dinner.

Tharshiny ended the speech giving by thanking all those who had helped organize and participate in the event, including smash-hit singer, Navin Kundra, and his angel dancers who performed in English, Hindi and Punjabi as the celebrations continued well into the night.

Watch a video of the event


Watch a video from the event on YouTube.

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About the author
Emilia Bland

Emilia is the Head of Marketing at Regent College London, where she leads the strategic direction of marketing and recruitment campaigns. Prior to joining Regent, Emilia developed her marketing expertise at the University of Warwick and played a pivotal role in digital communications and sustainability and PR initiatives at Carlsberg Group. Her experience is underpinned by a solid foundation in corporate affairs and public relations, demonstrating a strong ability to foster partnerships and execute impactful campaigns. Emilia’s strategic vision and comprehensive skills in marketing, communications, and project management drive Regent College London’s marketing efforts forward, ensuring its continued prominence in the education sector.