The Asian Awards 2011, in partnership with Lebara, has launched into its second year of celebrating the best in South Asian achievement.

The House of Lords played host to 20 world-class leaders from the worlds of politics, business, sport, media, arts and technology who gathered to choose winners from a shortlist of inspirational luminaries and pioneers who have carved out their own places in history.

“With so many exceptional people from the South Asian community short-listed for only 12 honours, it۪s vitally important that they are not only judged by a panel of their peers but that the process is robust, transparent and intellectually rigorous,۝ said Chair of Judges Baroness Verma. It۪s exciting to have 20 esteemed judges from such a variety of fields in one room, and to see such lively debate.”

The Asian Awards were an ambitious idea conceived by Paul Sagoo, founder of consultancy Lemon Group, and realised by co-founder Caroline Jackson Levy, Managing Director of UBM Awards. “Our goal was to celebrate the highest calibre of individuals from the Asian community across all spheres of activity,” said Sagoo.

“Last year۪s inaugural event was spectacular, and set the bar high for 2011. This year, we will take it a notch higher,” added Jackson Levy.

In 2010, the Asian Awards honoured some of the most inspiring people in the South Asian community from record breaking cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to world famous composer A R Rahman to legendary business leader Ratan Tata.

Among the judges for the media and arts categories were Sonny Takhar, Head of Marketing at SYCO Entertainment and Sony award-winning DJ and broadcaster Nihal Athanayake.

“There aren۪t enough opportunities to celebrate Asian talent at this level in this country in such a mainstream way,” said Takhar, who praised The Asian Awards as a major platform for showcasing talent to a wider audience.

Winners of the 2011 Asian Awards will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony at The Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London on Tuesday 18th October.