Wed 1 Feb 17
Four human rights defenders and an advertising guru, all University of Essex graduates, have been recognised for their global impact in the British Council Alumni Awards.
They are among 148 finalists, from more than 1,200 applications and representing 65 UK universities, in the awards which celebrate the achievements of international alumni who studied in the UK.
For the second year running Essex has punched above its weight, with its five finalists making it the highest-ranking non-Russell Group university based on number of finalists.
Genevieve Jackson, Head of Alumni Relations, said: “This is a wonderful recognition of the achievements of our alumni. These five finalists are a testament to the transformational educational experience we offer our students – and to the excellence of our inspiring lecturers.
“Our ambition is to give our students an education which equips them with the skills, knowledge and multi-cultural experience to make the world a better place and we’re exceptionally proud of these five finalists.”
The five Essex graduates to reach the finals are:
Octavio Amezcua-Noriega from Mexico is Legal Officer at the Mexico office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Octavio brought the first case against Mexico before the UN Committee Against Torture in a case involving four men tortured by the military in Baja, California. He is a finalist in the Social Impact category, and graduated from Essex in 2010 with an LLM International Human Rights Law.
Isaac Annan is Deputy Director, Human Rights at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in his native Ghana, where he is responsible for protecting universal human rights and freedoms. He is a finalist in the Social Impact category, and graduated from Essex in 2005 with an MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights.
Roichatul Aswidah is one of 11 members of the National Commission on Human Rights for the Republic of Indonesia where she investigates past human rights violations, works to secure reparations for victims and make sure domestic laws meet international standards. She is a finalist in the Social Impact category, and graduated from Essex in 2006 with an MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights.
Ricky Gunawan from Indonesia is a death penalty abolitionist who has saved a British drug mule, three Indonesian women and an American couple from the death penalty, and who received a standing ovation in the UN General Assembly. He is a finalist in the Social Impact category, and graduated from Essex in 2012 with an MA Theory and Practice Human Rights.
Michael Paredrakos from Greece is an advertising executive whose blog, thecuriousbrain.com, was dubbed the number one strategy blog in the world by Plannersphere in 2011. He is a finalist in the Professional Achievement category, and graduated from Essex in 2004 with an MSc International Management.
The British Council Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education. The winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying in the UK to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions and countries.
The Essex finalists will each attend regional award ceremonies between now and 2 March.