Multiple awards for the world famous Kanga family

Dr. Zubin Kanga in concert

The Kanga family achievements defy gravity. Spanning three generations, they have shone in multiple fields – music, science, engineering, city planning, cricket and artificial intelligence.

The family in Sydney include Zubin Kanga, an internationally renowned pianist, his brother, Jehan who is a young high tech entrepreneur, his mother Marlene, the immediate past president of the World Federation of Engineering Organisation representing 100 nations and almost 30 million engineers father Rustom, an entrepreneur and a pioneer in Artificial Intelligence, and their late grand-father Adi, the visionary who designed and laid the foundations for Navi Mumbai. But wait there is more.

In the early 20th century they produced three internationally recognized test cricketers; PD, MD and HD Kanga. PD captained the 2nd Indian Test Team that toured England. They were the brothers of Rustom’s grandfather, who was a co-founder and board member (until it was nationalized) of the BEST company which still plies its buses across Mumbai. Their legacy is the Kanga League for cricket which even today attracts Test and first-class cricketers to Mumbai each year.

Coming to the present. Adi’s son Dr Rustom Kanga,who studied at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, the leading engineering education institution in India, and did his Masters in Business and Doctorate at the London School of Economics , University of London, was a Vice President of the then Digital Equipment Corporation and later of the then Compaq Corporation.  He founded iOmniscient Pty Ltd. in Sydney in 2001 which has developed artificial intelligence for computer vision systems. In 2021, he was awarded the World Zarathustri Chamber of Commerce prize for Entrepreneur of the Year.

Dr Rustom Kanga PhD

His wife, Dr Marlene Kanga, is an internationally respected chemical engineer.

She is a board member and non-executive director of some of the largest organisations in Australia in water services, utilities and new technologies. She was national president of Engineers Australia in 2013, a professional association for engineers with 100,000 members. 

In 2014 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia, a national Australian honour, for her leadership in engineering, and as a role model.  

During 2017-2019, Marlene was the President of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) the peak body internationally for professional engineering institutions, with members from some 100 nations representing more than 30 million engineers.

During her term as president of WFEO, she led the initiative for UNESCO to declare 4th March, the founding day of the Federation as World Engineering Day, the first international day for engineering. This Day is now celebrated around the world with a wide range of events.  In 2020 there were 90 events in 50 countries, reaching more than 17 million engineers. These numbers are expected to be exceeded in 2021.
Marlene and Rustom’s son, Dr. Zubin Kanga, who has a PhD in music, is a concert pianist and composer of international fame. Currently resident in London, he performs regularly as a soloist across Europe, the USA and Australia. He recently won a major grant of several million dollars from the United Kingdom (UK) Government for a research program for developing ways of combining new music and new digital technologies, based at Royal Holloway College, University of London, where he is also the Lecturer in Musical Performance and Digital Arts. These Future Leaders Fellowships were set up to support world-class research and innovation leaders in every field including science, engineering, medicine and the arts. He was the only one to be awarded the grant in music.  A huge honour indeed.

Jehan Kanga at his laboratory

Zubin’s younger brother, Jehan, has a PhD in Chemistry and is also a fine a musician and a conductor. He has developed a nano-material which is a new kind of a Metal-Organic Framework which has unique properties for gas absorption and as a battery. The material has been recognised as unique and is being patented internationally. This ground breaking material is also being considered for the safe storage of hydrogen for future hydrogen fuelled vehicles. Jehan was nominated among Australia’s 40 leaders under 40 by Asialink (Australia) in 2019.

All current members of the family have doctorates. What a family! Encore!

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