The British Council Kuwait recognised the accomplishments of alumni students at its Study UK Alumni Awards ceremony on 5 March at the JW Marriot Hotel. Celebrated for the first time on a national scale, three UK alumni students based in Kuwait were honoured for their achievements as business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders, and for their important contributions to strengthening collaborative ties between the UK and Kuwait.
The prestigious Study UK Alumni Awards showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education and raise the international profile of UK alumni, their former universities, and the entirety of the UK education system. 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 the communities, industries and countries in which they work and live.
A total of nine finalists were selected for the three award categories: Entrepreneurial, Professional Achievement, and Social Impact.
The Entrepreneurial Award, which highlights alumni who have played a leading role in business innovation, was presented to Sheikha Fouz Fahad Al-Sabah, a graduate of King’s College London and an ambitious social entrepreneur. Sheikha Fouz continues to contribute to the development of the creative economy in the Arab region as founder of award-winning bilingual media platform Khaleejesque, and founder of local content creation agency Crowd Creative House.
“Studying in a UK university was an experience that challenged me and reinforced the importance of meticulous research and analytical thinking. It was exciting to be studying this particular subject while also living in London, since I could see the practical aspect of the creative and cultural industries first-hand. Choosing a niche area of study such as the Creative and Cultural Industries has equipped me with valuable knowledge, insights, and skills that were instrumental in my professional journey,” she said.
The Professional Achievement Award, which recognises alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership in their professional field, was presented to Nizamuddin Arshad. He is the advisor to the governor on Banking Affairs at the Central Bank of Kuwait.
“London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) presented me with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from renowned academics and gain valuable insights from a group of highly talented classmates, while staying in the wonderful city of London. Thanks to the rigour of its programme and excellent quality of education, LSE not only helped me deepen my understanding of finance but also broaden my world view, truly enabling me to excel in my central banking career,” said Arshad.
The Social Impact Award, which acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to creating positive social change, was presented to Dr. Shahd AlShammari, a graduate of the University of Exeter and University of Kent.
Today she works as an Assistant Professor of English Literature at the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) where she focuses on literary criticism, disability studies and comparative literature.
“My postgraduate years in England were a time when I sharpened my skills as a researcher and was pushed to persevere. Despite all the challenges, receiving my PHD was a monumental time in my life – it gave my life meaning. With my PHD focusing on madness and disability representation in literature, I was able to create innovative approaches to ‘old’ literary classics, bringing minority voices to the classes I teach, and through my creative writing. My collection of short stories is the first narrative dealing with disability in Kuwait – representation matters and it is my mission to bring literary theory to real life experiences,” she explains.
Commenting on the award ceremony, British Ambassador to Kuwait H.E. Michael Davenport, said: “The United Kingdom has a world-class education system that has played a transformative role in the careers and future prospects of people from all over the world – demonstrated tonight by the award winners and their outstanding achievements. This year we celebrate the 120th anniversary of the signing of the UK Kuwait Friendship Treaty of 1899. Since then we have built a cross-cultural understanding between our nations, and continue to build on our incredibly strong bilateral relations through knowledge sharing and cultural exchange”.
To mark the occasion, Michael Gordon, Country Director at the British Council in Kuwait, said: “The remarkable individuals we celebrated today at the Study UK Alumni Awards in Kuwait have all built upon their UK education to excel in their chosen careers and shape the world around them. This year’s award ceremony is a testament, not only to the diversity of UK alumni and their endeavours, but also to the transformative impact of a UK education. With many thousands of UK alumni in Kuwait, there is much to celebrate.”