Following prestigious national awarding ceremonies hosted by the British Ambassador/High Commissioner in more than ten countries, and high-profile digital campaigns to celebrate 63 regional finalists, and 21 regional winners, the British Council has announced the names of three outstanding global award winners of the Study UK Alumni Awards. All are alumni of UK universities, representing three countries and four UK higher education institutions across the UK. They have been recognised for their outstanding achievements as professionals, entrepreneurs and social change makers.
Winner of the Global Alumni Award for the Professional Achievement category, is Asha de Vos, a marine biologist from Sri Lanka who is passionate about conserving the world’s oceans, and blue whale research in the Northern Indian Ocean. Asha is the founder of Sri Lanka’s first marine conservation research and education organisation, Oceanswell, which works to change the trajectory of the world’s oceans by empowering and inspiring people to be custodians of the oceans. Asha studied for her BSc in Marine and Environmental Biology at the University of St Andrews, and her MSc in Integrative Biosciences at the University of Oxford.
José Ignacio Valenzuela was awarded the Global Alumni Award for Entrepreneurialism for his ground-breaking work in Health Informatics in Colombia and across Latin America. José Ignacio's work is changing the way Spanish-speaking communities around the world can access the vital healthcare that they need, and the Ministry of Education have just approved a Master’s programme in Biomedical Infomatics – the first of its kind in Latin America. José Ignacio has a MSc in Health Informatics from City, University of London.
The Global Alumni Award for Social Impact was awarded to Baby Ruth Villarama, an award-winning film maker from the Philippines. Baby Ruth’s films are generating national conversations and raising international awareness of modern day issues such as human trafficking and slavery. Baby Ruth co-founded Voyage Studios, an organisation that collaborates with local and international filmmakers to produce stories that inspire audiences around the world to open their eyes to social issues. Baby Ruth studied a MA in Film Distribution and Marketing at Birmingham City University, and is a Chevening Alumna.
The three global award winners were announced on Study UK social media on 24 May, following a 21-day campaign to celebrate and promote the stories of 21 regional winners. The global winners will be invited to the UK for a professional networking visit.
Now in its fourth year, the Alumni Awards 2018 received more than 1,700 applications from international UK alumni in a record 123 countries, representing more than 140 UK Higher Education Institutions across the UK. Following several rounds of judging panels, award winners were selected for the three award categories: Professional Achievement, Entrepreneurial, and Social Impact.