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

Global Finalists

AMERICAS: Margarita Maria Mendez Sandoval (Colombia)

University of East Anglia

Margarita co-founded the non-profit organisation Fundación Koikos, which has now provided training to fight corruption using the right to petition for over 25,000 people across Colombia. Koikos has supported communities to stop actions of corruption from public authorities and ensure that taxes are spent appropriately. Koikos also has a programme that provides single mothers with free legal and psychological assistants, which has so far helped around 200 families.

EAST ASIA: Qiang Shen (China)

London School of Economics and Political Science; Chevening's scholar

Qiang Shen (He/Him), is a dedicated LGBTI+ advocate in China who has worked deeply with NGOs, academics, the private sector as well as the UN. He has over 10 years of experience in conducting LGBTI+ research and awareness-raising campaigns in China and around the world, some of his work has achieved impact on issues regarding SOGIE rights at the UN. He is also the co-founder of the Chevening LGBTI+ Network and the first systematic LGBTI+ business & diversity programme in China.

EUROPE: Sead Alihodzic (Sweden)

University of Essex; Chevening's scholar

Sead is a Senior Advisor at The Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, an intergovernmental organisation that works internationally to support democracy. His areas of expertise include conflict, risk management, and resilience-building in elections. Sead has supported landmark elections across Africa, Asia and Europe and presented his work at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. He has also worked with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA: Nadia Alaboody (Iraq)

Brunel University London

After volunteering for the organisation in the UK, Nadia registered Iraq's first Code Club, providing free computer workshops that help children develop skills around teamwork, logic and leadership. This was an important mission for Nadia, whose community includes many people living below the poverty line. Following her lead, further clubs have opened in Iraq, which are now helping children, women and marginalised residents (including refugees) to develop personal and marketable skills.

SOUTH ASIA: Merlia Shaukath (India)

University of Oxford; London School of Economics and Political Science

Merlia is the CEO of the Madhi Foundation, which has been appointed by the Tamil Nadu government to manage its Foundational Learning Mission. Through Madhi’s interventions, Indian children under the age of nine are now able to significantly improve their literacy and numeracy skills. This important developmental work, directed by Merlia and her team, has supported over one million children in the country and allowed over 60,000 teachers, nationwide, to receive enhanced training and resources. 

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: Israel Balogun (Nigeria)

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Chevening's scholar

Israel was the first person with a physical disability in Nigeria to secure a Chevening Scholarship and has been recognised as one of its most influential alumni. He has collaborated with the Humanitarian Northeast Nigeria Transition to Development Programme, to mainstream disability inclusion in the country. And his work with the British High Commission has included mentoring other people with disabilities, dispelling stereotypes and raising national awareness of their skills and capabilities.

WIDER EUROPE: Mane Adamyan (Armenia)

University of Cambridge; Chevening's scholar

At 28, Mane became Armenia’s youngest ever female Deputy Minister of Economy. She led on improving Armenia’s business environment and attracting foreign investment, as well as its foreign economic relations. She later became Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia and currently works as Armenia's chief negotiator on the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan, which will raise over 2.6 billion Euros for business, infrastructure, digital transformation and green recovery initiatives in Armenia.

WIDER EUROPE: Oksana Musaelyan (Armenia)

Goldsmiths University of London; Chevening's scholar

Oksana runs Armenia’s Refugee Voice Advocacy and Rights Protection, lobbying on behalf of displaced people. Fleeing Azerbaijan as a child to escape the persecution of Armenians, Oksana experienced the many physical and emotional hardships refugees face. In her current role she advocates with ministers to identify and solve the complex housing challenges that displaced people face. She is also creating a transitional justice project involving Armenian and Azerbaijani refugees from both countries.