Keith Vaz MP Nominated for Diabetes Charity Silver Star

Keith Vaz MP

Keith Vaz MP

London, UK – April 20, 2016 – Keith Vaz MP for Leicester East has been shortlisted from over 100 politicians this year for the 4th Annual Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award. The award recognises outstanding politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business overall. Mr Vaz has been nominated for the founding of diabetes charity, Silver Star.

Silver Star seeks to raise awareness of diabetes through advocacy and delivery of free diabetes testing and lifestyle advice to the general public. Diabetes can be a killer when undiagnosed, and can lead to devastating complications including lower limb amputation, blindness and cardiovascular disease.

The charity was founded by Mr Vaz in April 2007 following his diagnosis for type-2 diabetes and is currently operating in 3 continents through the support of corporate funding and individual donations. The charity runs Mobile Diabetes Units, which carry out important diabetes testing in the community and promotes culturally sensitive healthcare. During these visits, staff have discovered thousands of people who have a propensity for diabetes who did not know about it. The charity has tested over 40,000 people and attended over 750 separate venues in major towns and cities of Britain, India and Tunisia.

Following the first successful Silver Star international diabetes conference held in Hammamet, Tunisia in May 2014, the Tunisian government approved the Silver Star initiative in Tunisia with the encouragement and support of Tunisian Ambassador HE Nabil Ammar. Approval was given to commence the scheme on 1 October 2015 at a meeting between Mr Vaz and the Minister for Health Said Aida, who highlighted how serious a problem diabetes has become in Tunisia. During that first week, 118 people were tested for diabetes.

The charity has begun to work in partnership with local hospitals, which will provide nurses and testing equipment for the initiative. Silver Star is producing leaflets and education materials in Arabic for those who are tested, and continues to make life-changing differences to the health of over 100 people every week. This has created a strong partnership between the United Kingdom and Tunisia on health which the charity hopes to build on, including by involving other partners as the project develops.

Mr Vaz has also launched the UK-Tunisian Parliamentary Friendship Group on 29 October 2015 during a ceremony held at the House of Commons with the participation of the Heads of the two Tunisian Parliamentary Groups and members of the Tunisian Diaspora, and plans to extend his charitable programme to Morocco and Algeria over the coming years.

Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Executive Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “All too often, we hear stories of our governments not representing our needs but Grassroot Diplomat looks upon selfless individuals in a position of power, who work tirelessly for their communities. The award seeks to create a culture of positive role models within our governments which encourages others like them to follow suit. Grassroot Diplomat winners go beyond their job descriptions and those shortlisted for the award should be proud to be recognised this far.”

Mr Vaz is well known for his commitment to social projects, and is currently Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Diabetes.

Join Keith Vaz MP and other government nominees for the gala dinner at The May Fair Hotel, London on Wednesday 20th April, 2016. For ticket information please visit: or call 07511 816689.

Further details about the awards can be found on:


About Grassroot Diplomat

Grassroot Diplomat is a non-profit diplomatic consultancy with the mission to build trust and strengthen relationships between governments and civil society. As an independent agency, Grassroot Diplomat shows no allegiance to a solitary government but will act in the interest of the people, no matter where they are or what state their country is in. We focus on improving public diplomacy activities by engaging government officials on sustainable social campaigns and investment projects that offers a positive rate of return for their people.

Nina Maxwell
Grassroot Diplomat
Voice Message: +44 (0) 207 608 5532

Rafael Saraiva
Office of Keith Vaz MP
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 219 5743