RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Vivek Wadhwa, the former entrepreneur turned academic and outspoken critic of most things Silicon Valley, is shocked that he is among the four latest tech leaders to be honored by the Silicon Valley Forum.

“As my friends know, I have been merciless in condemning it for sexism and ageism. And of late, I have been calling out tech companies for widening the equity gap, leading us into a jobless future, and stealing our happiness. Yet, what does the Valley do? Give me an award!”

So writes Wadhwa in an email to colleagues around the world.

“These awards are considered to be the ‘Oscars’ of Silicon Valley.”

The ever-outspoken Wadhwa who has taught at Duke University and become an author and a sought-after speaker about entrepreneurship while living in Silicon Valley, is one of four people selected “in celebration of their achievements, work, and contributions to Silicon Valley’s renowned business and technology ecosystem.”

The Forum notes: “The Visionary Awards celebrate leadership in technology, education, venture capital, and entrepreneurship; the caliber of each Honoree’s work—and their presence in their chosen fields—places the Award recipients among the brightest stars of Silicon Valley.”

Wadhwa, who is a regulatr contributor to WRAL TechWire, would never admit to being a “star” of the Valley. But, calling himself a dissident, he notes that speaking out has earned him other recognition.

“A few years ago, I had feared being deported because I was so critical of U.S. immigration policy and repeatedly highlighted the fact that China and India were about to eat America’s lunch. Instead, the government gave me an official recognition — Outstanding American by Choice — for my “commitment to this country and to the common civic values that unite us as Americans.”

“Greatness of America”

He says the awards reflect “the greatness of America, why despite all of its mistakes and the competitive threats, it will continue to lead the world.”

Wadhwa became a naturalized U.S. citizen after moving to this country from India. He is being honored as an “academic, researcher, writer and entrepreneur.”

“Every year at our annual Visionary Awards, we look forward to the opportunity to celebrate the absolute best of the best of Silicon Valley—the leaders whose work is synonymous with what makes this region so magnetic,” said Denyse Cardozo, Silicon Valley Forum CEO, in announcing the winners. “We’re proud to invite the Valley to join us this year as we celebrate the achievements of this extraordinary group.”

The other honorees include:

  • Kimberly Bryant, Founder, Black Girls Code
  • Astro TellerCaptain of Moonshots, Google X
  • Caterina FakeCo-Founder, Flickr / Hunch, Author, Entrepreneur, and Angel Investor

The winners will be honored at a gala on May 17.