A former mayor and life peer in the House of Lords, has been recognised with an international honorary award.

Wajid Khan, Baron Khan of Burnley, was Mayor of Burnley in 2020 and 2021, and has received the University of Gujrat’s first Honorary Doctorate.

The honour was bestowed on him by Pervez Ellahi, the Chief Minister of Punjab, at a special ceremony in front of 4,000 in Pakistan.

Wajid, 43, who was the youngest Mayor of Burnley, said: “I’m so delighted that I was chosen to be the first ever recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Gujrat.

“I felt so much pride, not only for me but my entire family, when I stood on that stage to accept my doctorate.

"My mum and dad emigrated from Gujrat, in Pakistan, in the late 1960s and arrived in Lancashire to make Burnley their home.

"That was a major, life-changing moment in their lives so for me to be awarded this prestigious award from their district really made the occasion even more special.”

Asian Image: Lord Wajid Khan receiving his Honorary Doctorate from the University of GujratLord Wajid Khan receiving his Honorary Doctorate from the University of Gujrat (Image: UCLan)

Throughout his career to date, the dad-of-two has combined his academic work with politics.

Alongside being a Councillor and MEP, Baron Khan was appointed to the House of Lords in 2021 when he was just 41, making him one of the youngest Life Peers in the upper chamber.

In addition to his position within the House of Lords, he has served as a local councillor for Daneshouse and Stoneyholme ward in Burnley, was the town’s Mayor in 2020-2021, and was an MEP for the North West from 2017 to 2019 until the UK left the European Union.

While in the European Parliament, he was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Human Rights Subcommittee.

Wajid is also a senior lecturer and course Leader for the MA in Community Leadership and has co-authored both UCLan’s undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes in community leadership and his interest in empowering South Asian female mature students to re-engage in Higher Education led him to start working with the University of Gujrat in 2007.

With his centre for volunteering and community leadership colleague Professor Alethea Melling MBE by his side, the duo created a Memorandum of Understanding between both universities.

A global youth leadership programme was set up in Gujrat and exchange visits of students now regularly take place between the students from both institutions.

During his time as a UCLan academic, he was awarded the Sitara-i-Qaide Azam Award by the President of Pakistan for his work on International Human Rights, is also a fellow of the prestigious Higher Education Academy.