The Study UK Alumni Awards 2019-20 recognise and celebrate the benefits that studying at a UK university has had upon the individual, their community and country.

What began as a pilot in 2015 in three countries is now a global awards programme open to alumni in every country, celebrating outstanding alumni around the world. All alumni are entered into the Global Alumni Awards, with additional national-level awarding ceremonies in 12 countries: Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, Greece, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Turkey. The finalists and winners of the Global Alumni Awards will be announced online as part of a digital campaign to promote their stories from April 2020. The three global winners will be invited to the UK for a professional networking visit to build their networks and boost their careers.

This year, more than 1,200 applications were received from alumni in more than 140 countries, representing alumni from more than 80 per cent of all UK higher education institutions. In future years we hope to continue to celebrate and share the inspirational stories of many more outstanding UK alumni, showcasing the value and impact of a UK higher education.

Meet this year's shortlisted finalists 

Among stiff competition from a variety of strong applicants, these candidates stood out. Find out what makes their story unique.

Business and Innovation Category

Adil Raza - Hope University, Liverpool

Adil Raza is Deputy Director at the Performance Management Unit, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He is the pioneer of establishing a culture of quantified performance management in the government sector. He is also the lead technical expert of Pakistan Citizen’s Portal – the largest grievance redressal system in Pakistan. Adil Raza feels that his study in UK has been instrumental in shaping his professional career. He believes that every student shall avail an opportunity to gain international exposure to widen their horizon of knowledge and understanding. Adil Raza has committed himself for reviving the public sector by introducing paperless government, ease of doing business and transforming into citizen-centric governance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Farwa Tassaduq - University of St Andrews

Farwa Tassaduq is the Co-founder of One Earth Toys, a company that manufactures a variety of handmade wooden toys which are child-friendly and an alternative to toxic plastic toys. Through this venture, Farwa is gradually reviving the local toy industry in Pakistan by hiring and training local artisans. The holistic, inclusive, and interdisciplinary teaching and learning approach of the course at the University of St Andrews inspired Farwa to take the risk of working in seemingly unconnected avenues of development in Pakistan: entrepreneurship, education, and the environment. Farwa is now planning to export her products and arrange regular skill-based learning opportunities for kids in Pakistan.

Mirza Zeeshan Ahmed - Kings College London

Zeeshan is the founder and Managing Director at Mazton Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. a Fast-growing Dermatology company in Pakistan. Through his company, Zeeshan has been able to provide 50+ jobs and dedicates a percentage of his profits to charity. Moreover, Zeeshan’s company Mazton routinely provides equipment to underfunded government OPD’s which help make patient treatments possible. King’s College London instilled the idea of entrepreneurship in Zeeshan’s mind. Three years at King’s not only gave him the business knowledge he needed but also gave him exposure to a multicultural and challenging learning environment which proved very beneficial later when Zeeshan was engaging with companies in various continents. Zeeshan’s aim for the next ten years Is to take Mazton beyond Pakistan and spread it across Asia and Africa.


Dr. Shahzaib Tahir - City, University of London

Dr. Shahzaib is an entrepreneur, security advisor and an academician with several years of experience in the Cyber Security sector. He specializes in Cloud Security and has been involved in several industrial Cyber Security projects that helped him identify the gap within the Cloud Security sector. He Co-founded CityDefend Cyber Security Solutions Limited, UK and currently holds the position of Chief Technical Officer (CTO). CityDefend is the result of his PhD work at City, University of London; and amongst many accomplishments, CityDefend has been successful through the InnovateUK Cyber Security Academic Startup Accelerator Programme (CyberASAP). Shahzaib has a passion for teaching where he seeks to bridge the gap between academia and the industry. He is an Assistant Professor at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan, where he leads the Information Security and Privacy (ISP) Research Group.


Science and Sustainability Category

Dr. Nafis Ul Haque - University of Leeds

Dr. Nafis Ul Haque completed his PhD degree in 2018 from the University of Leeds, UK and currently working as an associate Professor at one of leading Engineering University in Pakistan. For his research at Leeds, he used characterisation technique facilities and a specialist technique that involves small batch preparation of alloys via an argon arc-melter and rapid solidification via a six-meter drop tube for free-fall processing. This is quite a new research area and, as far as we are aware, Leeds is the only UK institution to have this equipment.

Dr. Sarah Qureshi - Cranfield University

Dr. Sarah Qureshi has setup and co-founded Pakistan’s first commercial aerospace and engine R&D Company Aero Engine Craft Private Limited in Pakistan to develop the world’s first contrail-free aero engine for the global aviation industry for the purpose of reducing aviation induced global warming.Sarah has also recently co-invented and patented a supersonic commercial aircraft engine. Sarah has a PhD degree in Aerospace Engineering from Cranfield University, UK. Prior to this, Sarah completed her master’s degree in the field of Aerospace Dynamics from Cranfield University, UK, working on the design of a trajectory following autopilot for the mid-air refueling of drones. 

Dr. Yasar Mehmood Yousafzai - University of Glasgow

Dr. Yasar Yousafzai leads the public health reference laboratory in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Yasar volunteered for establishing this laboratory for testing of Covid-19 in early 2020. His lab played a key role in timely identification and control of Covid-19 outbreaks in the province. Yasar observes that laboratory skills and project management experience at the University of Glasgow helped him expertise at establishing province’s only public health reference laboratory. Yasar is now expanding the laboratory to test 40 diseases of public health significance in this laboratory. He is also conducting genomic surveillance which is helping global science community understand the evolution of the Covid-19 virus.

Zahid Khan - University of East Anglia

Dr. Zahid is working as a Health Economist in the Sehat Card Plus project, with the Health Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He has contributed to the development of a health insurance program resulting in a better sustainable, accessible, and functional health care services, now being implemented throughout the country Pakistan. His UK education experience was wonderful, because the overall environment and facilities at the University of East Anglia. Moreover, living in an English city was a very pleasant experience. By using his Health Economics knowledge, he looks forward to make the program more cost- effective, leading to the better health of his nation. 

Social Action Category

Dr. Irum Shaikh - Queen Mary University of London

Dr Irum is the leading Global public health policy expert; working with partners around the world to advance reproductive justice by building resilient abortion & contraception ecosystem using comprehensive approach across sectors, institutions and communities. Irum Shaikh believes that QMUL provided her with a solid foundation and helped her learn new and appropriate methodology to support her mission of becoming voice of the vulnerable; by becoming bold & effective, value partnerships and understanding social justice and human rights. Irum is providing the Government with the expertise and knowledge for quality of care (QOC) and all the linked determinants for the poorest part of the population; for the development of the OPD scheme to Improve access to quality outpatient services and risk protection for the poor in Pakistan.


Khadija Siddiqi - City, University of London

A passionate and ardent human rights lawyer and activist. A survivor of a vicious attack in May 2016, which became a blessing in disguise for her. The world saw her unflinching courage and determination to fight for justice. Her victory in the Supreme Court set a precedent and she is hailed as a woman rights crusader. City University polished her advocacy skills, widened her exposure and prepared her to enter the legal field with all the required expertise. Following Bar-At-Law at City, University of London, she returned to Pakistan and has been actively involved in criminal litigation representing the underprivileged and disadvantaged. She recently received admission at University of Cambridge, UK for Masters and hopes to get a scholarship to pursue further studies.

Mehvish Muneera Ismail - University of Cambridge


Mehvish is the Company Secretary & General Counsel at HBL Microfinance Bank & the youngest member of their senior management. For more than half a decade Mehvish has been working in the microfinance sector, which focuses on banking to the disenfranchised strata of society, with emphasis on greater financial enablement & inclusion of women. Mehvish is of the view that the traditions of excellence at the University of Cambridge, where she had the privilege to study, the multicultural setting that is unique to the UK, and access to a vast UK educational institutions alumni network, all provided her with a ladder to success that most likely no other place could have provided. Mehvish is hoping to work on initiatives that support greater diversity and inclusion, and to dedicate more time towards mentoring of students and young women professionals.

Dr. Hussain Nadim - University of Cambridge

Dr. Hussain Nadim is one of the leading professionals in the public sector dealing with national security and strategic communications. As the Executive Director of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) that is part of the Prime Minister’s Office National Security Division, he has pioneered the use of data science & artificial intelligence for improved national security decision making in Pakistan. Dr. Nadim found the level of academic rigor and postcolonial perspectives taught at Cambridge as pivotal to his intellectual journey that shaped his views in how to approach policy through a people centric lens. Through data and technology, Dr Nadim aims to overhaul the public sector system in Pakistan, making it efficient and sensitive to public needs. Using Pakistan as a case study, he hopes to apply this theory of change to the entire global south.