NRI of the Year


MUMBAI (INDIA): On April 11,  TIMES NOW and ICICI Bank hosted the third annual “NRI of the Year” awards ceremony at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. This year’s star-studded event included Sania Mirza, who was awarded the Global Sports Icon, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, honored with the Global Indian of the Year Award. Among the politicians and celebrities honored at the event, there was also one familiar local name, Riju Agrawal, who was awarded “NRI of the Year” in the North American Professional category.

Riju was born in Gwalior, a city 200 miles south of New Delhi. His family moved to Houston when his father, Devendra Agrawal, and mother, Ruby Agrawal, began careers as engineers at KBR and Exxon, respectively. Raised as a first generation Indian-American, Riju developed strong ties to India as a result of spending his summer vacations in Gwalior, visiting his extended family. After achieving a perfect score on his SAT, Riju attended Harvard University, and graduated Summa Cum Laude (top 5% of his class) and Phi Beta Kappa.


Riju’s first-hand summer experiences with India’s energy scarcity led him to devote his high school and college years to learning about potential solutions to the global energy crisis. In 2011, Riju was selected to serve as a White House Intern, where he developed a white paper for Vice President Joe Biden on the U.S.’s need to accelerate the development of clean energy technologies. Riju is currently a senior analyst on the Energy Private Equity team at The Blackstone Group in New York.  In addition, Riju currently serves on the Board of Advisors of Spark Clean Energy, was selected as a Future Energy Leader by the World Energy Council, is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and serves as a mentor for young entrepreneurs through The Resolution Project.

Riju hopes that such awards will encourage NRIs around the world to continue to excel, and noted that as NRIs, we need to advocate more actively for our community to have more seats at the “decision-making table.” Looking forward, Riju is keen to help solve the energy crisis in India and urged his compatriots to “think global, but remember that they will always be Indian at heart.”