Alumni Stories: Keshav Suri

Key information

5:30 pm
Alumni Lecture Theatre

About this event

To round off Pride month at SOAS, hear from alumnus Keshav Suri as he returns to campus. 

Mr Suri has generously agreed to participate in a Q&A to talk about his experience as a student and alum of SOAS and his achievements since. Mr Suri will be interviewed by Professor Eddie Bruce-Jones, Head of the School of Law, and Dr Mayur Suresh, Senior Lecturer in Law.

Keshav Suri is a prominent Indian activist and entrepreneur and completed an LLM at SOAS in 2007. He played a crucial role in the movement to decriminalise homosexuality in India, leading to an historic decision by the Indian High Court in 2018 ruling that the application of Section 377 to homosexuality was unconstitutional, “indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.”

As Executive Director at The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, Mr Suri operates a chain of luxury hotels across India and in London. Across the business he is dedicated to, and demonstrably successful in, creating opportunities for marginalised communities.

We are so thrilled to welcome Mr Suri back to campus to meet our students, alumni and other members of the SOAS community.

Image credit: Ross Sneddon via Unsplash

Executive Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group

Founder, The Keshav Suri Foundation

Chair, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce

Honorary Chair, International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) India Initiative

Mr Keshav Suri serves as the Executive Director at The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group. His hands-on approach and innovative mindset have propelled the group’s ascent as a leading hospitality chain, with a reputation for luxurious experiences, exceptional service and its essence of inclusion.

An alumnus of St. Columbus School, New Delhi, Mr Suri is a distinguished scholar, holding degrees in Law and Business from the University of Warwick, a Master’s Degree in International Management from King’s College London and an LLM Master’s in Law from SOAS University of London.

With a keen business sense and an eye for untapped potential, Mr Suri is celebrated for expanding the group’s portfolio. His leadership has not only diversified offerings but introduced ground-breaking food and beverage concepts, tailored for the sophisticated palate. Notably, his brainchild, Kitty Su – the Group’s nightclub at the Lalit New Delhi – marked twelve successful years in August 2023, solidifying its status as one of the longest-running and most inclusive LGBTQIA+ nightclubs in the country.

Beyond corporate triumphs, Mr Suri is a prominent LGBTQ+ activist, and played a pivotal role in the movement to decriminalize Section 377 in India. As a petitioner himself, he champions the cause of building an inclusive nation, culminating in the establishment of the Keshav Suri Foundation. This non-profit organisation is dedicated to embracing, empowering and mainstreaming marginalised communities, particularly the LGBTQIA+ community. The Foundation, the official affiliate for the It Gets Better Project in India, has contributed to The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group’s global recognition as one of the most inclusive hotel chains.

Mr Suri’s unwavering dedication has garnered numerous accolades, including being named a Top 100 LGBT+ Executive for three consecutive years by Yahoo Finance & Outstanding List, the Pioneer Award by IGLTA, Attitude Pride Award and 15 national honours. These include Change Maker by Hindu Businessline, Culture Icon of NewHood by Mens XP, Agent of Social Change by GQ and Tycoons of Tomorrow by Forbes India.

A sought-after speaker, Mr Suri actively engages in public forums, conferences and events utilising his engaging and articulate presence to passionately advocate for diversity, inclusion and LGBTQ+ rights. His impact extends far beyond the hospitality industry, establishing him as a compelling force for positive social change.