Sunny Varkey

Sunny Varkey, Founder and Chairman, GEMS Education

Sunny Varkey, GEMS Founder

Sunny Varkey, GEMS Founder

Active in the field of education since 1980, Sunny Varkey is an educational entrepreneur who is bringing a new dimension to education in the U.S. with the development and establishment of Global Partnership Schools. The new education company is committed to connecting classrooms with communities, engaging all students in learning, and raising the aspirations of those who are most in danger of slipping through the cracks.

An out-of-the-box thinker, Mr. Varkey has been a pioneer in developing an enterprising blend of innovation, customer service, and high education standards to create an education brand, GEMS, that has made global headway. It began with his parents, who arrived in Dubai in 1958 and started Our Own English High School for Indian expatriate children. Mr. Varkey took over this school from his parents and, today, through his visionary leadership and business acumen, he has developed a growing international network of GEMS schools spanning nine countries.

Mr. Varkey has dedicated a lifetime to improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals and enhancing communities through the provision of quality education, essential healthcare services, and a commitment to social responsibility. In his ongoing mission to effect qualitative change in society, his commitments have included a number of socially responsible initiatives and charitable donations that have helped improve the lives of those in need and in particular, children in need. Mr. Varkey provides free and subsidized education to thousands of students every year through GEMS Cares for students from economically challenged families.

His social and charitable donations have earned him formal recognition through a number of awards. Mr. Varkey was awarded the coveted Padmashri Award by the Government of India. The award, which is one of the highest honors bestowed on a civilian, marks his contributions to the development of the education and to social entrepreneurship.

Mr. Varkey is also the recipient of several additional awards. A few of these include:

  • In the UAE, he received Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Welfare Prize in 2001 and in 2002 was named one of the top 50 Non-Resident Indians in the world.
  • The CEO Middle East Award for Corporate Social Responsibility awarded in 2007 in recognition for his considerable achievements in supporting charities over the last 30 years.
  • The Global Indian Business Award presented at the Global Indian Business Summit in Singapore in 2007 recognizing his achievements and contributions as an outstanding NRI and Indian entrepreneur.

For more information on GEMS Education, visit