Recognising UK alumni who have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to creating positive social change and improving the lives of others.

Global finalists

AMERICAS: Raquel Espinosa (Mexico)

University of Edinburgh

Raquel combines her knowledge of film and passion for digital education practices to open up arts, culture and education to people who are visually impaired. Her work has generated new research interest into the use of technology to teach people with visual impairments in Mexico. Raquel’s studies in the UK boosted her professional network, leading to invaluable opportunities to present her work at international festivals and exhibitions.

EUROPE: Dr Orna Rosenfeld (France)

University of Sheffield

Orna advises organisations including UNECE and the World Bank on housing policies and investment. Orna helped to implement the EU Urban Agenda Housing Partnership and designed an action plan to improve housing knowledge, regulation and investment. Her work has helped to increase the provision of social and affordable housing in 56 countries. In 2014, Orna was recognised as a World Cities Summit Young Leader for her contribution to improving urban liveability and sustainability.

SOUTH ASIA: Ian Yee (Malaysia)

Liverpool John Moores University

Ian Yee is a journalist, editor and producer at R.AGE. His team has won nearly 40 major awards for their investigative journalism and impact campaigns, which have led to new laws against child sexual exploitation, uncovered human trafficking operations. Ian has been selected for both the Obama Foundation Leaders and UK International Leaders programmes. Studying in the UK taught Ian the power of critical thought, freedom of expression and an empowered news media.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: Olusola Owonikoko (Nigeria)

University of Sussex, Institute of Development Studies

Olusola is the Founder of Project Enable Africa, which connects disabled people with job opportunities, entrepreneurial and employability skills. It delivered training to more than 2,000 disabled people and supported more than 1,000 disabled people to start and grow their businesses. Olusola’s time in the UK gave him the theoretical knowledge and practical skills he needed. He secured a $250,000 grant from the Google Impact Challenge to set up Nigeria’s first disability-friendly digital hub.

WIDER EUROPE: Mustafa Ozer (Turkey)

School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

Mustafa is a director at imece, a social innovation platform for young innovators. Mustafa worked with Turkish NGO Habitat to develop a financial literacy programme and community of trainers that reached 100,000 young people, and later launched a grant scheme for refugee entrepreneurs. This work has supported 2,000 Syrian refugees and created sustainable livelihoods for more than 1,000. Mustafa’s UK education broadened his worldview and introduced him to a diversity of perspectives and cultures.