The British Council announced the recipients of the Study UK Alumni Awards 2019-20 in Qatar during an awarding ceremony in Doha recently at Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Doha.
Three UK alumni in Qatar were recognised for their outstanding achievements as business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders, and for their important contribution to strengthening collaborative ties between the UK and Qatar.
For the second time, the awards celebrate the achievements of alumni in Qatar across three categories: Professional Achievement, Entrepreneurial and Social Impact.
The Professional Achievement Award, which recognises alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership in their professional field, was presented to Dr Alla El Awaisi, a graduate of the University of Strathclyde and Robert Gordon University (RGU). Dr Alla is the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Qatar University College of Pharmacy. Since 2014, she has also been the Chair of the Interprofessional Education (IPE) Committee. Dr Alla’s Masters and PhD from the UK had a major influence on her approach to the promotion of ‘inter-professionalism’ and has contributed to the development of IPE in Qatar with many successful IPE initiatives since 2014.
The Entrepreneurial Award, which highlights alumni who have played a leading role in business innovation, was presented to Khalifa Al Haroon, a graduate of Anglia Ruskin University. Khalifa is the Founder and CEO of ILoveQatar.net and the I Love Qatar (ILQ) Network, which is Qatar’s first Qatari social website. Khalifa, also known as Mr Q on his blog/vlog, has a background in law, investment banking and social media management. He has launched a number of television and online shows and often appears on international news channel to provide commentary. Khalifa obtained his law degree from the Anglia Ruskin University in the UK, which is where he began as an entrepreneur and set up his first business as a student, gaining experience which he has since applied in Qatar in many successful business ventures.
The Social Impact Award, which acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to creating positive social change, was presented to Reema Al Merekhi, a graduate of Newcastle University. Reema is the first Arabic female to join the IFRC Field Assessment and Coordination team (FACT), a first response disaster assessment team deployed within the first 24 hours. Studying in the UK helped Reema develop her confidence as a leader, who was able to be deployed to relief missions and be away from home for more than 30 days at a time. Her studies also provided her with strong quality research and empathy skills, which she applies to her work at FACT contributing to saving thousands of lives from all over the world.
For the first time in Qatar, the public were able to vote for their favourite inspirational story by nominating online one of the finalists for the ‘People’s Choice Award’ which ran over a 10-day campaign. Reema Al Merekhi, the recipient of the People’s Choice Award, received 1,728 votes (34% of the total votes).
The British Ambassador to the State of Qatar, HE Ajay Sharma said they are delighted to be celebrating the achievements of the second batch of winners of the Study UK Alumni Awards in Qatar. He said that their stories are a testament to what the UK and Qatar are continuing to achieve through their partnership in the field of education, and to the impact and value of a UK higher education on tomorrow’s leaders.
I would like to congratulate the three winners, as well as all the finalists for their success. They have used their experience of studying and living in the UK to make a positive contribution to Qatar National Vision 2030, and the wider society. They are an inspiration to us all.’
According to Sam Ayton, Country Director of the British Council in Qatar, each of the winners has achieved something incredible. He said that the idea behind these awards is to share their stories as widely as possible in order to inspire the next generation.
These stories demonstrate the innovation and creativity of the UK education sector, which welcomes over half a million international students today. It’s fantastic to see how Dr Alla El Awaisi, Reema Al Merekhi and Khalifa Al Haroon, have all taken the knowledge and experience from their studies and used it to actively drive positive change here in Qatar.’
Qatar is one of the first countries to host the awards this year and will be followed by awarding ceremonies in twelve other countries, including Azerbaijan, Kuwait and Turkey. To read more about this year’s inspirational winners and finalists, click here. For more information, you can also contact the Deputy Head of Programmes and Partnerships in Qatar, Rawan Khir at [email protected].