Islamabad (Agencies): A Pakistani-origin author and philanthropist, Arif Anis, has received his royal honours from Britain’s Prince of Wales, Prince William, in a state ceremony held at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom.
Arif Anis’s name was announced in June this year when Buckingham Palace released King Charles’ first Official Birthday Honours List, with a wide variety of celebrities and outstanding individuals who have been honoured by the British monarch for their meritorious services.
Celebrated Pakistani author and leadership expert Arif Anis has received the medal of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for humanitarian services. He is among the first Pakistani-origin authors to have received the coveted royal honours.
Anis, during March 2020 when the world was gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, started One Million Meals to support those on the frontlines of the pandemic. The initiative was started by Anis and his two friends, Suleman Raza and Bilal Saqib.
“The National Health Service UK was fighting a war! Restaurants shut, and staff were running on empty. I was gobsmacked seeing ambulance crews without food. I knew I had to do something, and my close friends’ collaborations and partnership and stimulation of the British compassion made it possible,” recalls Anis.
Celebrities including David Beckham, Amir Khan, and music band The Proclaimers rallied behind the One Million Meals campaign.
Between April and July 2020, the initiative provided hundreds of thousands of meals to the vulnerable and key workers.
Restaurants of every stripe – Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Afro-Caribbean – hopped on the gravy train. Even Boris Johnson tipped his hat to One Million Meals with the Points of Light Award in May 2021.
Anis is a best-selling author of 10 books on leadership, purpose and excellence, a leadership guru, and a coach to Fortune 500 big shots. He’s a sought-after keynote speaker on the global stage, working with a few of the most influential people in the world, and speaking on crisis leadership.
“During our investiture meeting, Prince William thoroughly appreciated our services during these testing times. I mentioned my recent book ‘Made In Crises’ and how the Covid crisis got the best out of us during these chaotic times. Prince William expressed his interest and I promised to send him a signed copy,” Anis said.
“Prince was intrigued by how we prepared the meals and jokingly asked me whether I was a good cook. I mentioned that my mother spoiled me and did not know much about cooking, mentioning my wife and friends who cooked and donated during those turbulent times, while I led the operations and strategy of the campaign,” Anis stated.
“Prince of Wales also refreshed his memories of Pakistan when he visited Pakistan in 2019 along with the Duchess of Cambridge Princess Kate. I invited the Prince of Wales to Akhuwat University of Kasur and he expressed his interest of visiting this inspirational humanitarian project in the future. I commended Prince William’s ‘Homewards’ homelessness initiative and offered to work together and he cherished the offer, saying his office would get in touch with me,” Anis shared.
Anis dedicates his medal and royal honours to his mother, his wife and the unflinching spirit of being a Pakistani against all odds.
“I dedicate my honours to Pakistan and the spirit of being a Pakistani. We could be down but not out. We are in the 148 countries of the world making our presence felt. The current crisis of confidence, leadership, economy and governance will not last but our spirits shall last. From cricket to leadership, we will be back. Pakistan Zindabad,” Anis concluded.