All The Way from India to Receive His Medal

Bhaichand Patel travelled all the way from India to receive his Member of the Order of Fiji (MF) medal on Friday. He was one of the 60 Fijians who received
26 Feb 2017 11:48
All The Way from India to Receive His Medal
President Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote (left) awards Bhaichand Dalpat Patel with Member on of the Order of Fiji (MF) during Order of Fiji investiture ceremony at State House yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Bhaichand Patel travelled all the way from India to receive his Member of the Order of Fiji (MF) medal on Friday.

He was one of the 60 Fijians who received awards at the Order of Fiji Investiture Ceremony at State House in Suva.

Mr Patel, 80, a former resident of  Sarava settlement in Ba, where he was born and bred, now lives in retirement with his family in Sujan Singh Park, New Delhi, India.

He received his medal from the President, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote.

Mr Patel said: “I feel really great and humble to receive this medal from the Fijian Government.

“I left this country when I was only a teenager and I have spent all my life and career abroad and getting this recognition from my own Fijian Government is a great pleasure.

“I am the first Fijian to be recruited by the United Nations after Fiji became independent in 1970,” he said.

Mr Patel said his parents came to Fiji after the Indentured System ended in Fiji and started a shop in Sarava, Ba.

After completing his secondary school at the Marist Brothers High School, Suva, Mr Patel applied for a scholarship to study in India.

Mr Patel studied Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) at the University of Delhi in 1959, Bachelor of Laws (LL.M) at the University of Bombay in 1961 and Master of Laws at the London School of Economics (London University) in 1966.

From 1996 to 1970, Mr Patel practised law at the Bombay High Court. He was a barrister.

Mr Patel said he worked for 26 years for the United Nations and retired about 20 years ago.

“I was really surprised at first when I heard the Fijian Government had decided to give me the medal.

“After retirement in 1997, I took up writing and have written about four books,” he said.

Mr Patel’s Career:

             He joined the UN Secretariat at Headquarters in New York on September 1, 1971 in the department of public information. He has the distinction of being first Fijian to be recruited by the UN after the country got its independence in 1970.

             In 1976, he was posted to Cairo as the spokesperson of the UN Peacekeeping Forces in the Middle East.

             In 1979, he was a spokesperson of the UN Security Council’s mission to the Middle East to examine Israeli practices in the occupied territories.

             In 1980 he was transferred to the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs as a Political Affairs officer. He handled media relations and was spokesperson of the two conferences, held in Geneva in 1980 and 1985 of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation on Nuclear Weapons.

             In 1984 was appointed Secretary of the Group if Governmental Experts on Nuclear-Free-Zones.

             From  1980 to 1985 edited the United Nations Disarmament Yearbook.

             In January 1986 Secretary- General appointed him as his UN representative (Political) and director of the UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan, based in New Delhi.

             In March, 1994 the Secretary- General appointed him as UN representative (Political) and director for UN Information Centre for Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Island based in Manila.

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