ISLAMABAD: The winners of the Study UK Alumni Awards 2017 in Pakistan were announced at a gala award ceremony hosted on March 3 in Islamabad, by Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan. Umar Saif was awarded the Professional Achievement Award, Ahmed Daniyal Siddiqui was awarded the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award and Abia Akram was awarded the Social Impact Award at a prestigious ceremony. The awards were organised by the British Council with the support of the British High Commission in Pakistan. Speaking at the ceremony, Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner said: “Education has the power to transform lives. The finalists of this year’s Study UK Alumni Awards all clearly demonstrate how a UK education can produce outstanding individuals who possess the competitive edge to thrive in a global job market. As we mark 70 years of diplomatic relations between the UK and Pakistan, I would like to thank all UK alumni in Pakistan for their important contribution to strengthening ties between our two countries.” Rosemary Hilhorst, Country Director, British Council Pakistan said: “I am delighted that this year we are able to recognise for the second consecutive time in Pakistan the achievements of those who have used their studies to outstanding effect in their professional lives. I see a lot of women going to the UK to pursue higher education. It is very encouraging to see that women are aspiring to be part of Pakistan’s future leadership, who will go on to shape opinions. The British Council is focused on promoting equality and eradicating discrimination in relation to women and girls. With International Women’s Day around the corner, I would like to step up our commitment to make sustainable development a reality and leave no woman or girl behind. We look forward to seeing more of you in 2018.” The Study UK Alumni Awards 2017 in Pakistan received over 100 applications out of which 9 finalists were selected through a competitive process. The awards aim to demonstrate the impact that a UK education can have upon individuals in countries around the world, as well as to inspire others to reach their potential by studying in the UK. This year the awards are being held in 14 locations — Egypt, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey and the USA. Legendary shoe designer and UK alumnus Professor Jimmy Choo, OBE, is Global Ambassador of the Alumni Awards. He said: “I’m delighted to support the Alumni Awards 2017 as Global Ambassador. Studying in the UK was an experience that changed my life and contributed to my success today. It is an honour to be supporting today’s recent outstanding UK university alumni by sharing their success stories and positive impact on the world.” At the awards ceremony in Pakistan, all finalists of the Study UK Alumni Awards 2017 said their UK education was transformational, expanding their vision and equipping them with the skills that are crucial to their success and careers. UK alumni now living in Pakistan after completing their higher education studies in the UK within the last 15 years were eligible to apply or be nominated for the awards. The Study UK Alumni Awards, created by the British Council and UK higher educational institutions, intend to recognise the outstanding achievements of alumni who are now using their UK higher education experience to bring benefits to their communities, professions, and countries.