Shah Rukh Khan conferred with honorary doctorate by Australia's La Trobe University

Melbourne: Superstar Shah Rukh Khan has been conferred with an honorary degree, Doctor of Letters, by the prestigious La Trobe University here.

The honour, which was presented to 53-year-old actor on Friday, aims to recognise his efforts to support underprivileged children, his dedication to the fight for women empowerment through his MEER foundation as well as his achievement in the Indian entertainment industry by former premier and chancellor of the university John brumby.

"This award is not an award which Meer foundation might have done or achieved, it is an award for courage of every women who faces brutally of injustice, inequality and inhumanity.

"More often the society are tending to reward anger and hatred rather than nurture compassion and love. To have flown across oceans to another continent and be received in the name of compassion and sharing is a testimony to the fact that despite all the ugliness that we see in this world that persist in the fabric of humanity, a deep conviction of love and cooperation," Shah Rukh told the audience during a ceremony here.

He said that with such conviction, the world will be able to sustain its beauty and reject the false barriers created by man.

Shah Rukh is in the city as the chief guest of Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) which is celebrating its tenth edition this year. John Brumby, chancellor of La Trobe University, said the institute shares a "special and unique" relationship with India.

Shah Rukh was also presented with Kookaburra cricket bat by the university.

On the occasion, the university also announced a 'Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University (PhD) Research Scholarship', a four year scholarship programme for a female Indian candidate to investigate a research theme in health, sport, information technology, cyber security or engineering.

John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University, said, "The Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship recognises Khan's extraordinary altruism, demonstrated in his work to advocate for women's empowerment." Shah Rukh said, "As a passionate advocate for women's empowerment, I am delighted that this scholarship will give an Indian woman a chance to pursue research in a field which is likely to lead her towards an exciting and successful career. I thank La Trobe University wholeheartedly for giving someone this wonderful opportunity." The recipient of the scholarship will be entitled to receive a sum of 200,000 Aus dollars.

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Earlier on Thursday at a press conference, the actor said the Indian cinema is increasingly becoming more global, courtesy the number of Indian diaspora residing in foreign countries, "As diverse as the Indian film industry is, we feel it may have been localised but because of the diaspora, because of the second generations and third generations which have settled in Australia, Indian cinema has been taken all over the world.

"It is extremely gratifying and also it makes every Indian proud," he added.

On Friday, Shah Rukh will attend the opening night of IFFM, which is organised by the Victorian government. The festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary with 'Courage' as the central theme.

Over the next nine days, the festival will feature 60 films in 21 languages.