British Council celebrates UK Alumni in India

Delhi, 7 March 2023: British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, organised the Study UK Alumni Awards 2023 to celebrate UK Alumni in India and honour them on their outstanding achievements as innovators, business professionals, entrepreneurs, community leaders, and for their important contribution to strengthening collaborative ties between the UK and India. The winners were felicitated during a ceremonyat The Oberoi Grand in Kolkata on Saturday 4 March, in the presence of government dignitaries and leaders across the education and sports industry, including Padmashri Deepa Malik, Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awardee, Mr. Saurav Ghosal, Squash Player and Arjuna Award winner and Mr. Anirban Aditya, Chairman, Aditya Group.

The prestigious international event, now in its ninth year, celebrated UK higher education and the achievements of UK alumni all over the world. This year, the award received more than 1200 applications from international UK alumni in nearly 100 countries, representing more than 120 UK higher education institutions across the UK. Following in-depth interviews with a judging panel, the winners were selected across four categories:

The Science and Sustainability award which recognises distinguished alumni in the field of science who have demonstrated the impact and scale of their achievements in their profession, and beyond was presented to Abhinav Sinha, an alumnus from the University of Glasgow. With dual degrees in Preventive and Social Medicine (MD) and Molecular Life Sciences (PhD), Abhinav Sinha is a senior Scientist at the National Institute of Malaria Research. Abhinav is currently leading a national project on estimating the malaria burden in India, findings of which will help sharpen malaria elimination strategies in the country.

Culture and Creativity award acknowledges alumni who have carved a career for themselves in arts and culture and have demonstrated their artistic ingenuity, influence and creativity. This year it was presented to Puja Changoiwala, who is a published author and focuses on the marginalized sections of Indian society. She holds a graduate degree in journalism from University of Westminster. Her work has also been featured in over 50 renowned publications globally, earning her numerous Indian and international awards.

Social Action award is conferred on alumni who have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to creating positive social change and improving the lives of others. This year it was presented to Sugandha Yadav, a Supreme Court advocate in India, an alumnus of Durham University. She has extensive experience in constitutional, environmental, and human rights law, having drafted, argued, and advised on over 300 cases, including the case to decriminalize homosexuality, the Right to Privacy, and the case against the Indian Government’s deployment of Pegasus.

Business and innovation award which identifies alumni who are active in initiating and contributing to innovative or creative new ideas, solutions or business opportunities, that have the potential for growth, was presented to Saumya Singh Rathore, Co-founder of India’s largest interactive entertainment company, WinZO. A Psychology post-graduate from The University of Manchester, Saumya is also a member of the British Psychological Society. Saumya Singh is passionate about building inclusive, culturally relevant products on the back of technology.

Rittika Chanda Parruck, Director Education India, British Council, said, “We are delighted to honour the accomplishments of the deserving graduates from UK universities and highlight the work of all the finalists of this year’s British Council Alumni Awards. These extraordinary people, who were adjudged as winners, all used their UK education as a springboard to succeed in their chosen professions and change the world. These awardees have already made a significant contribution to India’s economic development, knowledge aspirations, and are positively impacting the society, their communities and networks. We are proud of such alumni and aim to celebrate their success while fostering fruitful future partnerships with them.” 

Ms. Parruckadded, “The British Council has supported the aspirations of millions of young Indians for more than 75 years via our work, providing them with access to globally renowned UK education and funding tens of thousands of scholarships and academic exchanges. We hope to continue our efforts in the future as well.”

British Council has a long-standing history of building relationships with international alumni of UK universities. Last year, British Council globally launched the Alumni UK platform. From 27 October 2022 till 26 February 2023 the global Alumni UK platform has received nearly 1500 registrations from India. The platform is open to all international UK alumni who have spent at least one term studying at a UK higher education institution, including transnational education and online learning. Individuals can grow their professional networks and connect with people living in every corner of the world who have studied at a UK university. They also get a chance to collaborate on tackling global challenges.