LONDON: Racing driver Lewis Hamilton and Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty have been awarded Britain’s Global Diversity award for 2008 for their contribution to the diversity agenda.

Shetty became famous in Britain last year after she was subjected to alleged bullying and racism in the television reality show Celebrity Big Brother. She was universally praised by British commentators for showing restraint.

Hamilton was also subjected to racial abuse. On February 4 this year, he was racially abused by spectators during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) warned the Spanish authorities about such behaviour and announced it would launch a ‘Race Against Racism’ campaign.

The awards are to presented on July 1 night at an event to be attended by British Foreign Minister David Miliband, MP and Culture Minister Andy Burnham among others. The evening will also highlight the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue that invites European nations to celebrate diversity in Europe.

UK MP Keith Vaz, who has been made British ambassador for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, said both Shetty and Hamilton “faced adversity in their careers but have dealt with it with grace and dignity”.