Raveen Arora of The Dhaba Wins National Award for Diversity and Inclusion


The National Diversity Council has selected Tempe restaurateur Raveen Arora as a recipient of the 2017 Arizona Diversity Council’s DiversityFirst Award in recognition of his longtime, selfless outreach to all people across Tempe, the state of Arizona and beyond.

The civic leader and owner of the highly coveted, iconic restaurant The Dhaba, Tempe was selected “for being a true advocacy leader for diversity and inclusion,” said Dennis Kennedy, the founder and chairman of the National Diversity Council.  He said the criteria for the honor are a demonstration of raising issues of diversity, speaking out to protect civil and human rights, and leading the development of innovative or contemporary measures to fight discrimination and its effects, as well as fostering positive communication and actively promoting inter-group relations among people of different backgrounds.

I firmly believe that diversity is not just a feel –good or look good activity, but  a human lens for seeking, identifying and promoting talent.
— Raveen Arora

Arora grew up in his native India and had opportunities, as a young man, to work with Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta where her example of service the “poorest of the poor” profoundly shaped his character of caring for all. He provided help to Tibetan refugees and widespread assistance in refugee camps and mobile clinics during turmoil between Indian and Pakistan in 1971 that resulted in the birth of Bangladesh.

A professional accountant, he held business posts worldwide and has authored several books. He settled in the U.S. about 35 years ago and moved permanently to Tempe in 2002 where he opened his India themed cultural center on Apache Blvd. A widely traveled motivational speaker, Arora is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who has served in countless community roles, including Tempe Sister Cities board and the National Sister Cities Board, Alliance International, the Tempe Community Council, Arizona Restaurant Association, United Food Bank, the Tempe Kiwanis and the Rotary Clubs. 

 Guests dine at The Dhaba in Tempe

Guests dine at The Dhaba in Tempe

Among his many previous awards was the 2015 Tempe Don Carlos Humanitarian Award, 2016 Business of the Year Award, National Restaurant Association’s 2017 Face of Diversity Award, Arizona State Good Neighbor Award, APCA’S Trailblazer Award, the Hope Award from Sister Cities for humanitarian outreach, Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce Sterling Award and the Arizona State University Spirit of Enterprise Award.

Arora commonly says, “I firmly believe that diversity is not just a feel –good or look good activity, but  a human lens for seeking, identifying and promoting talent.” He says his mantra is “listen, talk and connect.”

Raveen will be a keynote speaker at the 2017 SOCENT (Social Entrepreneurship) Summit on Wednesday, October 4, from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. in Phoenix. He will tell more of his story and talk about how he has used his businesses as a force for good and to support his local community. 

The award will be presented at the 2nd Annual Arizona DiversityFirst Awards Luncheon 11:30 a.m. Thursday, October 5 in the Carson Ballroom of Old Main at Arizona State University, 400 E. Tyler Mall, in Tempe. The theme of the luncheon is “Promoting Excellence Through Diversity and Inclusion.” The luncheon will be preceded by two free public “best practices sessions from 9:20 to 11:20 a.m.