Inspirational former students recognised by ARU

Published: 30 April 2021 at 12:00

Alumni awards

Anglia Ruskin hosts virtual ceremony to celebrate the achievements of its alumni

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) has celebrated the successes of its former students, including recognising contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, at a virtual awards ceremony.

The Vice Chancellor’s Outstanding Alumni Awards were held virtually to congratulate graduates who have gone on to achieve success in their respective fields, or who have made outstanding contributions to society.

The ceremony, held last night (Thursday, 29 April), was the first to take place since the pandemic hit the UK in March 2020.

This year’s awards included two new categories, specifically recognising achievements or contributions during the pandemic, to add to the existing five. 

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, said:

“It was a great pleasure to host this event, celebrating some of our outstanding former students, all of whom encapsulate the values and spirit of ARU. 
“Our alumni are a vital part of the ARU community. We are very proud of them all, and it is always inspiring to learn of their achievements.”

A judging panel comprising of former students and senior ARU staff decided on the winners as follows:

Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award
This award recognises alumni who have made a transformative contribution to the local, national or international community through an enterprising business venture. 

Winners: Khalifa al Haroon / Faye Holland
Khalifa, who graduated with an LLB in Law in 2007, is listed as one of the most influential people in the Middle East under 40 and is the founder of the ILQ Network – a content-driven platform celebrating the diversity of the Qatari community. Khalifa has supported over 52 charitable causes and community initiatives.

Cambridgeshire-based Faye graduated with a BA in Music in 1992. She founded Cofinitive, a multi-award-winning communications consultancy, which is one of the ‘130 most influential businesses in Cambridge’ and was ranked number two in Business Weekly’s 2020 New Year Honours List, following two decades in international technology communications. 

Alumni Service to Society Award
This award recognises alumni who have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to creating positive social change and improving the lives of others. 
Winner: Dr Zaheer Allam 

Zaheer graduated with a Master of Business Administration in 2018 and holds degrees from universities in Australia and the UK. He works as an Urban Strategist on projects relating to Smart Cities and urban regeneration in Africa. For his contributions to society, he was elevated by the President of Mauritius, to the rank of Officer of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean; the highest distinct order of Merit in Mauritius.

Alumni Contribution to Culture Award 
This award recognises alumni who have made a considerable contribution to the local, national or international cultural community. 
Winner: Kristin Roskifte 

Oslo-based Kristin (BA Hons Illustration 1998) is a Norwegian illustrator and author who studied illustration at Cambridge School of Art and Kingston University. She has written and illustrated eight picturebooks with themes of obsession with the alphabet, surreal dream homes, queuing, and impossible beauty ideals. Her last book, Everybody Counts, is being translated into more than 30 languages and won the prestigious Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize in 2019 – presented by the Swedish Prime Minister.

Young Alumni of the Year Award  
Recognising an alumni under 35 years old, who has distinguished themselves professionally since graduating from ARU and is likely to inspire the next generation of alumni.
Winner: Emily Konstantas 

Emily (Master of Laws in Legal Practice 2019) is founder of The Safeguarding Alliance, an advisor, governor and trustee to many organisations and schools. Based in Essex, Emily has contributed to the Education Select Committee in the United Kingdom during COVID-19, has featured on the BBC, Sky News and in many national newspapers, and continues to campaign for changes to safeguarding legislation in the UK.

Alumni Community Champion Award 
Recognises alumni whose outstanding voluntary work has helped sustain and support their community through the pandemic. 
Winner: Alex Collis 

Alex (DHE Social Policy 2008) has 10 years’ experience of working in food poverty and community development, and was a previous coordinator of FoodCycle Cambridge.  She is now a city councillor representing King’s Hedges ward and leads on the council’s anti-poverty work.  She coordinated community meals across the city during COVID-19 as a volunteer and now runs one of the city’s eight community food hubs, supporting residents experiencing food poverty.

Alumni Frontline Service Award 
Recognising alumni who have worked on the frontline, making an extraordinary contribution to the fight against COVID-19 through their role as a keyworker during the global pandemic.
Winners: Dr Ankur Agarwal / David Wells

Ankur (Master of Surgery M.Ch. Urology 2020) is a British expat to India who has trained as a urologist and laparoscopic surgeon over the last 15 years. He now operates in New Delhi, and Agra. He has been actively involved in charity health camps and surgery with an NGO in India.

David (BSc/MSc Biomedical Science 1998/2005) is leading the NHS England and Improvement Pathology consolidation programme and is currently leading the NHS England`s laboratory response to COVID-19, advising ministers and providing policy and strategic direction. In recognition of his work the Royal College of Pathologists awarded David Honorary fellowship of the college in 2020. 

Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award  
Recognises an alumni who has distinguished themselves for their excellent and sustained contributions and achievements in their chosen field over their professional lifetime.
Winner: Roger Leeke

Roger (MA Education 2016) began his teaching career in 1969, with his first Headship in 1980, followed by two further Headships spanning a period of 25 years. Recognising his contribution to education, he was invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in 1992 and a luncheon with Prince Charles at Highgrove in 2004.  
He gained his MA in Education in 2016 and lectured at ARU, and is presently a Consultant supporting schools across London and Essex, an Inclusion Quality Mark Ambassador and a Chair of Governors.