The judging panel for the Alumni Awards brings together a wealth of international expertise in education, entrepreneurship and national policy. Find out more about them and their work below.

AA global judge Jo Beall

Professor Jo Beall

Director Education and Society, British Council

At the British Council Jo has engaged with policy makers across the world. Previous roles include Professor of Development Studies and Director of the Development Studies Institute at LSE, and Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town. She specialises in urban policy and local governance: research has taken her to Africa, Asia and Latin America.

She is a Visiting Professor at LSE, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Open University.

AA global judge Conrad Bird

Conrad Bird

Director, GREAT Britain campaign, Department for International Trade

When based at 10 Downing Street from 2011-2016, Conrad worked on major communications projects in addition to the GREAT Britain campaign. Prior to that he was Head of Public Diplomacy and Strategic Campaigns at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, responsible for campaigns in Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan and the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Conrad previously worked with the Central Office of Information, before joining the Cabinet Office as Director of Strategic Communications. 

Claire Dove AA global judge

Claire Dove OBE

Crown Representative for the Voluntary and Social Enterprise Sector

Claire chaired Social Enterprise UK for over ten years and worked with government and leaders from the sector to create the first strategy for the Social Enterprise movement. She was recently appointed Crown Representative for the Voluntary and Social Enterprise Sector. Claire also leads the Blackburne House Group, which operates a number of social enterprises alongside its educational offer to women and award-winning School for Social Entrepreneurship.

AA global judge Rohan Gunatillake

Rohan Gunatillake

Entrepreneur and British Council Trustee

Rohan Gunatillake is an entrepreneur specialising in how popular technologies might create focus and calm instead of distraction and anxiety. Through his company Mindfulness Everywhere, he has created the best-selling meditation app buddhify and Kara, a self-care tool for people affected by cancer, in partnership with a major US hospital. He is the author of Modern Mindfulness and his ideas on how to design technology for wellbeing have appeared on BBC radio, in Wired magazine and the Guardian.

AA global judge Ros Marshall

Ros Marshall


Ros has over 30 years of management experience in education. She is currently CEO of Taaleem, a private joint stock company in the UAE which owns and operates the second largest group of international schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Ros’ previous roles include CEO of kidsunlimited, the fourth-largest nursery schools operator in the UK, and COO of Nord Anglia Education, where she worked on British International Schools and with Ofsted on school improvement contracts and inspection services.

AA global judge Joanna Newman

Dr Joanna Newman MBE

Chief Executive and Secretary General, Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)

Joanna Newman joined the ACU in April 2017. It is the world's oldest international university network, with more than 500 members in over 50 countries. Joanna’s previous positions include Vice-Principal (International) at King’s College London, Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit (now Universities UK International) and Head of Higher Education at the British Library. In 2014, she was awarded an MBE in recognition of her work promoting British higher education internationally.

Yinbo Yu

Yinbo Yu

International Students' Officer, NUS

Yinbo is the International Students’ Officer for the National Union of Students in the UK and a board member of the UK Council for International Student Affairs. Educated at Nanjing Foreign Language School in China, Yinbo went on to study for a BSc in Economics at the University of East Anglia and an MSc in Urban Economic Development at UCL. In his current role he represents around half a million international students in the UK, covering the entirety of the international student experience.

AA global judge Vivienne Stern

Vivienne Stern

Director, Universities UK International (UUKi)

Prior to her role in UUKi, which represents UK universities internationally, Vivienne was Head of Political Affairs at Universities UK. She previously worked in Parliament for the Chair of the Education and Skills Select Committee, and as a higher education policy specialist.

She is a Director of UUK; a member of the Board of the UK India Research and Innovation Initiative and the Strategic Partnerships in Higher Education Fund and a member of the British Council’s Education Advisory Group.

AA Global Judge Cathy Walsh 2

Cathy Walsh OBE

CEO, ACE*E Leadership Services

Cathy Walsh is the CEO of ACE*E leadership services, and has led transformational change within several challenging London FE colleges. Cathy’s work has won several national awards, particularly for the engagement of students in entrepreneurial activities. 

Invested for her services to further education in 2015 and recognised by the Times FE Educational newspaper with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, she was the Mayor of London’s first appointed FE CEO to the London Enterprise Panel. 

The Alumni Awards recognise the achievements of international alumni of UK universities in three different categories: Entrepreneurial, Professional Achievement and Social Impact. The three global winners are chosen from the 21 global finalists by our judging panel members above.