Thursday 04 April 2019

Three exceptional winners have secured the top prizes in the British Council’s global Study UK Alumni Awards.

The awards recognise outstanding achievements from those who have studied in UK universities and who have taken those learnings to other countries to showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education through exceptional projects.

Now in its fifth year, the Alumni Awards 2019 received more than 1,200 applications from international UK alumni in more than 100 countries, representing more than 85 per cent UK Higher Education Institutions across the UK.

There will be a five-month campaign to celebrate and promote the stories of three winners and 18 finalists. The global winners will also come to the UK for a professional networking visit in the Autumn.

Réjane Woodroffe won the Social Impact Award for her work as the Director and co-founder of the award-winning Bulungula Incubator. This project challenges rural poverty by improving education, health and sustainable livelihoods. For over a decade, Rejane has worked in the some of the most marginalised communities in South Africa, leading a team to reduce child mortality rates, improve access to education, and develop the local economy. Réjane’s work has a direct impact on 6,000 people with thousands more helped through contributions to the South African government’s development interventions. Réjane previously had a successful career in Finance. Her decision to study an MSc in Development Economics at the University of Sussex proved life-changing as she changed paths and returned to her earlier work on poverty alleviation, with a broader understanding of the context. Réjane won the prestigious John P. McNulty Award for her work at the Bulungula Incubator.

Réjane Woodroffe, said: "I feel enormously privileged to do the work of the Bulungula Incubator. For this work to be celebrated on a global platform is just overwhelming. A platform with the reach of the Study UK Award catapults us onto a global stage. This can provide the essential leverage needed to access a wider range of organisations, thereby broadening the potential impact for our communities.”

Noha Aboueldahab is the Winner of the Professional Achievement category. A transitional justice specialist, author and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, she conducts research on human rights, politics and international law in the Middle East and North Africa. Noha’s work is cited by leading scholars and often reaches beyond academia to inform policymaking and to provide informed analysis on current events for media outlets including the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera, reaching millions of viewers worldwide. In 2017 Noha founded a transitional justice network that produces critical research and outreach for legal and political stakeholders in the region. She is also Vice-Chair of the Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Interest Group at the American Society of International Law. Noha’s studies at UK universities led her to undertake original research in challenging environments looking at conflict resolution, transitional justice and criminal accountability processes. Noha obtained an MA in International & Comparative Legal Studies from SOAS, University of London and a PhD in Law from Durham Law School, Durham University.

Noha Aboueldahab, said: “I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have won the global UK Alumni Award for Professional Achievement. This award is very important to me, as it not only serves as recognition of the impact of years of hard work, but it also recognises the centrality of an issue that is close to my heart: justice. Moreover, in a world where women’s professional achievements continue to receive less attention in comparison to men, this award holds particular significance for me as a professional woman. I believe this award will help draw more attention to the importance of critical research for informed policymaking, especially in contexts of war and authoritarian rule.”

Mamunur Rahman was awarded the Entrepreneurialism prize for his innovation that transforms leftover clothing material into sanitary products. ‘Ella Pads’ support more than 50,000 women withbetter health, hygiene and employment opportunities as the pads are made by women for women.

Mamunur’s innovation helps meet the needs of four million women who work in garment factories, reducing absenteeism rates in factories and schools. He has worked with the Ministry of Industries and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to help develop entrepreneurs and co-ordinates the Ella Alliance – a platform to help public/private partnerships and to encourage private sector companies to promote the low-cost sanitary solution. Mamunur obtained an MA in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, and is a Chevening alumnus.

Mamunur Rahman, said: “It’s a great recognition of our taboo work. Bringing awareness to this issue will help us to have an even greater impact in Bangladesh and across the region.’'

The Study UK Alumni Awards 2020 will open in Summer 2019.

For more information, please contact:
Bryony Inge

Notes to Editor

About the Study UK Alumni Awards

The Alumni Awards were developed by the British Council and UK universities, and were launched by the British Council in September 2014. They are open to alumni currently residing in any country outside the UK, who have studied in the UK, at an officially recognised provider of UK university degree level study for a minimum of a term or semester, or who have been awarded a full UK degree level qualification (or higher), by a UK university, within the last 15 years.

Award winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions and countries. The Alumni Awards celebrate and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education and raise the profile and reputation of UK alumni, their former universities, and the whole of UK education.

Awards are presented in three categories:

Professional Achievement Award
Recognises alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership and achievements in their professional industry, and who can demonstrate the scale of their achievements and how they have made a strong and positive difference to their profession and society.

Entrepreneurial Award
Successful applicants in this category will be active in initiating, or contributing to, creative and innovative solutions or business opportunities with strong growth prospects.

Social Impact Award
The Social Impact Award acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to creating positive social change and improving the lives of others

National level Study UK Alumni Award ceremonies were hosted by the British Ambassador/High Commissioner in ten countries.

For full details about the Study UK Alumni Awards please refer to:

For Study UK Alumni Award winners and finalists, please refer to:

For details of the global judging panel, please refer to:

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and