Nobel Peace Prize nominee Arora leads with humility from the heart
Updated: Sep 10, 2022
Hackberry Creek in Irving, Texas, prides itself on its diversity, as well as its reputation as a community of achievers.
Now, it can count among its residents Raveen Arora, a man who is the very essence of the practices fundamental to diversity and whose life's work has been recognized by dozens of local, national, and international honors and awards for his humanitarian efforts, including the ultimate: a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Before the Nobel Peace nomination came these: the Mother Teresa International Service Award; the Martin Luther King Jr Diversity Award; National Restaurant Association Face of Diversity – American Dream Award; Global Citizen Peace Award; and countless others. As fate would have it, he met Mother Teresa when he was 6 years old, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr at the age of 11.
Raveen Arora and his wife Clara recently moved to Hackberry from Tempe, Arizona, joining their daughter Priyanka and grandchildren who have lived here since 2011. Arora is the founder and CEO of Think Human, an organization that leads global conversations designed to demonstrate the practices of empathy, dignity, inclusion, and humane thinking to humanize communications in the workplace, social settings, and relationships around the globe.
“I am human. Nothing human is alien to me!” That sum’s up his belief.
Arora is a professional accountant, author, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, philanthropist, and mentor. He and his wife Clara left an extremely successful business operation in Tempe--an Indian Cultural Center called India Plaza, which includes a famous and highly rated restaurant--The Dhaba—and a community that loved them, and moved to Dallas expressly to be with family, like many other Hackberry residents.
“We only get one choice, one chance and one heart,” he said. “How you use this during your lifetime is up to you! For us it was a clear choice--to help our daughter and grandkids while we could, to provide the love, care, values that we know to make them the citizens of tomorrow.”
“I remember Mother Teresa saying, if you want to make a difference, then go home and love your family.”
His exemplary humanitarian work in the local community and globally, the kind of endeavors he had been engaged in for most of his life, resulted in all those awards, as well as the notice and accolades from the famous and the not so famous. Community leaders, Mayors, Governors, U.S. Senators, even U.S. Presidents have all heaped much deserved praise on him for his work to feed the hungry, provide water to the thirsty, reach out to young people to stem the tide of those getting in criminal mischief, the list is long.
But at the forefront right now is hunger.
“Alleviating the fear of hunger—remember, food is most basic human need—is the most important to me right now,” he said. “Reducing poverty is that one thing that can create peace, that can help improve society in many ways. Here is why:
Poverty leads to hunger; hunger leads to starvation.
Starvation leads to health issues.
Health issues lead to social ills like lack of education, stealing, crimes, inequities; whereas inclusion equals peace and prosperity.”
He knows these things because he lived them.
Arora was born in a refugee camp in India in 1948. His family had fled the war and tumult of the Punjab region on one of the last refugee trains that took them into the newly formed India. He grew up in the strict class system with the lingering effects of the British colonialism that kept Indians out of certain places—and opportunities.
“My life started around the slums of Kolkata, and that’s where I grew up. We had nothing, and I have many memories of severe poverty and the impact it had on all my family.
"I consider myself blessed to be of Indian origin and the values that it gave me,” he said. “But my entire focus in on raising the profile of the community at large, removing stereotypes and facilitate their immersion into their adopted country, the USA, which is giving them the opportunities to grow and prosper.
If you were to ask me what I am today, it is because of Indian values, British regimentation, and American opportunities. I always remember what Mark Twain said about India: “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition.”
Arora’s message for all of us is simple: “Lead with humility because what we do for ourselves dies with us, but what we do for others will outlive us. That is what drives me every day. Not the honors and awards. Somebody may just need compassion or kindness because kindness is the only language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
(Reprinted by permission, Hackberry Creek Living Magazine, August-September, 2021)