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Two Durham alumni have won awards in Study UK Alumni Awards in their countries, with a further five alumni reaching the finals in their categories.

Hosted by the British Council, the Study UK Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and highlight the impact and value of a UK higher education. They feature 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. There are four award categories:

  • Business and Innovation
  • Culture and Creativity
  • Science and Sustainability
  • Social Action 

Alumni who reach the finals benefit from increased PR and press opportunities which raises their profile and shares their success with international audiences. Winners of the global awards will be celebrated on an international scale and invited to the UK for a networking and professional development opportunity. 

Congratulations to the winners and a huge well done to those who were finalists! We are immensely proud of all that you have achieved so far.

As winners in their country, Tanvir and Tara, will be considered for the Global Award in Social Action. We wish them both the best of luck. 

Meet the Winners

(Alphabetical by surname)

Tanvir Ahmad

Tanvir Ahmad with his award

Subject: Engineering  
College: St Aidan’s College  
Class of: 2017 
Award Category: Social Action  
Award Country: Pakistan

Starting his education under the shade of a tree, Tanvir's first school lacked facilities and infrastructure. Dreaming of catalysing change for equal opportunities, he pursued a PhD in the UK, aiming to realise his dream. Upon completing his PhD in 2017, Tanvir returned to become the Head of Energy Management and Sustainability at the US Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Energy, pioneering an inclusive Master's program. Leading the SAARC Energy Centre, Tanvir worked on clean technology transfer and energy access amid COVID-19.

His efforts extended to Afghan refugees, providing smart clean energy solutions, transforming lives and empowering families. Tanvir led installations of clean energy, benefiting schools and healthcare facilities, reducing emissions. Representing the UN post-2022 floods, he facilitated over $10 billion in aid for Pakistan's recovery.

Studying at Durham provided Tanvir with clarity and belief in achieving social change. He navigated challenges, published studies, and led cross-sectoral initiatives at UNHCR Pakistan. His multicultural experiences in the UK shaped his inclusive worldview, fostering warm memories and lifelong friendships. Tanvir credits UK university education for his career trajectory, blending inclusivity, research excellence, global networking, and interdisciplinary focus.

Tara Subba

Tara Subba headshot

Subject: Philosophy and Politics 
College: St Mary’s College 
Class of: 2016 
Award Category: Social Action 
Award Country: Indonesia

Pursuing Philosophy and Politics at Durham, Tara honed her leadership through various initiatives and sports activities, embodying the ethos of service and engagement. Further studies at Harvard, Columbia, and the Schwarzman Scholars Program in Beijing broadened her global perspective and equipped her for impactful leadership roles.

Returning to Jakarta, Tara founded The Collective Institute, focusing on sustainable development goals through social entrepreneurship. Her initiatives, including fundraising for education and solar panels, exemplify her commitment to social impact. As Market Intelligence Officer at Gold Standard, Tara plays a central role in climate finance, contributing to shared value creation and carbon credit issuances worldwide. Her undergraduate experience at Durham was transformative, fostering critical thinking and practical application, evident in her professional endeavours and international collaborations.

Durham's rigorous academic environment and emphasis on holistic growth shaped Tara into a dedicated global change-maker. Her engagement with philosophy, politics, and economics, coupled with practical experiences like Amnesty International, prepared her for real-world challenges. Through music and sports, Tara built bridges across cultures and developed essential leadership skills. In essence, Durham's influence on Tara's journey underscores the university's commitment to nurturing intellect and purpose-driven leadership.

Meet the Finalists

(Alphabetical by surname)

 I Ying Chan

Subject: Applied Psychology 
College: Stephenson College 
Class of: 2016 
Award Category: Science and Sustainability 
Award Country: China

I Ying's academic journey began in the UK, where her undergraduate studies ignited a passion for research. Returning to Hong Kong, she delved into epidemiology and healthcare service evaluation, making significant contributions to public health. Notably, her role as a coordinator for a study on Tobacco Control Policies led to valuable insights and the subsequent ban on e-cigarettes in Hong Kong, addressing rising usage among young individuals. Continuing her research during COVID-19, she conducted ground-breaking analyses, including the incidence rate of Bell's palsy post-vaccination, influencing vaccination choices and prompting updates in package inserts for better compensation. Her work has led to policy changes, improved healthcare services, and increased public awareness, making a lasting impact on her community.

Studying at Durham University in the UK provided I Ying with a research-focused education, access to extensive resources, and a multicultural environment. This unique experience equipped her with the tools to excel in her field and contribute meaningfully to research and public health initiatives. The rigorous curriculum and international reputation of Durham set her on a path to success, fostering critical thinking skills and facilitating collaborations on a global scale. The diverse student body enriched her educational experience, broadening her perspectives and contributing to personal growth, ultimately shaping her into a leader in epidemiological research and healthcare service evaluation.

Very Revd. Dr. Aristarchοs Gkrekas

Aristarchos Gkrekas headshot

Subject: International Relations 
College: St Mary’s College 
Class of: 2013 
Award Category: Social Action 
Award Country: Greece

Very Reverend Dr. Aristarchos Gkrekas is a dedicated clergy member and an Assistant Professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Dr. Gkrekas leads the University Laboratory and is Chair of the Religion-Culture Committee at the Foreign Affairs Institute. He navigates a diverse array of responsibilities, from teaching and research to active participation in European Union programs and intercultural initiatives. These endeavours are aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue, advocating for religious freedom, and fostering peaceful coexistence on both national and international scales.

Reflecting on his transformative experience at Durham University, he emphasises the invaluable lesson of blending theoretical knowledge with practical application through collaboration with international counterparts, guiding his ongoing endeavours with gratitude and appreciation.

Hendy Harianto

Hendy Harianto headshot

Subject: MBA 
College: Hatfield College 
Class of: 2014 
Award Category: Business and Innovation 
Award Country: Indonesia

Hendy Harianto boasts over 27 years of comprehensive expertise in IT and Business across the Asia Pacific, presently serving as the Group Chief Information Officer and Head of Business Process Transformation at Meratus Group, a leading Indonesian logistics and shipping integrator. His proficiencies span enterprise software architecture, IT infrastructure, cybersecurity, cloud computing, AI/ML, digital transformation, and more. Throughout his career, he has contributed significantly to advancing technology and organizational excellence, earning recognition from industry leaders and institutions.

Hendy holds an MBA from Durham University Business School, where he was awarded with MERIT and Distinction for his dissertation. Studying at Durham University Business School has been pivotal for Hendy's career advancement at CMA CGM Asia Pacific Regional office. CMA CGM Group, a global shipping and logistics giant headquartered in Marseille, France, provided him with ample opportunities.

Grateful for learning from exceptional professors and engaging in diverse courses, including Business Transformation through Information Systems, Change Management, Strategic Management, Improving Management Decision Making, Managing People, and Financial Risk Management, Hendy gained valuable knowledge and practical skills crucial for professional success.

His academic journey at Durham established the groundwork for specializing in IT and facilitated his rise to leadership roles, leading transformative digital initiatives within organizations. Durham University's commitment to academic excellence, supported by a robust network and extensive industry ties, has been integral to Hendy's career growth, empowering him to excel in dynamic environments and make significant contributions to the field. 

Duy Anh Le

Duy Anh Le headshot

Subject: Economics 
College: University College 
Class of: 2012 
Award Category: Social Action 
Award Country: Vietnam

In his educational journey, Duy Anh's aspirations to combat poverty and address development challenges were ignited during his undergraduate studies in Economics at Durham University. He furthered his academic pursuits at the University of Cambridge, obtaining a Master's and a Doctorate in Development Studies. At Durham, he realised the profound influence economics could have on shaping nations, while Cambridge deepened his understanding of global development challenges.

As a senior educator and Head of the Public Policy Department at Vietnam National University, University of Economics and Business, Duy Anh has inspired numerous students and shaped future leaders. His teaching spans various prestigious universities in Vietnam, where he has not only impacted students quantitatively but also intellectually, equipping them with skills to excel in their fields. Beyond academia, Duy Anh's impact extends into society through his role as Vice President of the Global Vietnam Young Scholar Association network. Organizing pivotal events like the Vietnam Young Scholar Global Forums, he has facilitated collaboration and innovation among young scholars worldwide.

Duy Anh attributes much of his success to his education at Durham and Cambridge, highlighting the intellectual rigor, cultural enrichment, and extensive alumni networks as key factors. He says the UK higher education system's emphasis on holistic learning, openness, inclusivity, and commitment to research and innovation as pivotal in shaping his trajectory and enabling him to tackle real-world challenges with confidence. 

Sherif Selim

Sherif Selim headshot

Subject: MBA 
College: Ustinov College 
Class of: 2008 
Award Category: Social Action 
Award Country: Egypt 
Sherif Selim is the Head of Communications and External Affairs, North Africa for BP based in Cairo, Egypt. Sherif’s achievements are many and have been a catalyst for positive change for the communities they have impacted. For example, he notes his role in Egypt's West Nile Delta gas project as a significant milestone in his career. He managed social investment projects which led to a substantial $10 million investment, impacting thousands of lives for the better.

Sherif reflects on his time at Durham as profoundly impactful, leaving an enduring impression on him. His experiences here enriched his understanding of business, culture, life's intricacies, and self-awareness. Durham instilled in him a broader worldview, fostering global perspectives, tolerance, and a spirit of collaboration. Studying with us has contributed significantly to his growth as a professional and a global citizen.

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