Wednesday 10 March 2021

The British Council announced the recipients of the Study UK Alumni Awards 2020-21 in Qatar at an awarding ceremony in Doha that took place at the British Embassy on 02 February 2021. In total, two UK alumni in Qatar were recognised for their outstanding achievements as business professionals and community leaders, and for their important contribution to strengthening collaborative ties between the UK and Qatar. 

For the third time in Qatar, the awards are hosted at a national level to celebrate the achievements of alumni in Qatar across two award categories this year: Professional Achievement and Social Impact. 

The Professional Achievement Award, which recognises alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership in their professional field, was presented to  Dr Marc Owen Jones, a graduate from Durham University (PhD, MSc) and Cardiff University (BA Hons) specialising in Government and International Relations. Dr Marc Owen Jones is an Assistant Professor in Middle East Studies at College of Humanities and Social Studies at HBKU, who specializes in tackling the growing scourge of digital disinformation. Marc’s award-winning research and groundbreaking investigative work has also been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post and on the BBC.  

The Social Impact Award, which acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to creating positive social change, was presented to  Mr Hamad Alyafei, a graduate from the University of Derby with M.A in Business Administration Global and with a B.Eng (honos) in Electronics & Communications Engineering from London Metropolitan University. Mr Hamad Alyafei was the first Qatari to test and deploy DWDM technology in the Middle East working with Ooredoo, helping rural areas by deploying a British technology in microwave connection to Stritch telecommunications to Qatari houses anywhere in Qatar with affordable and sometimes free services. Hamad also launched the first full time MBA program with the University of Derby, designed based on British Curriculum and directed to global business administration requirements leading to a CMI certification. 

For the second time in Qatar, the public were able to vote for their favourite inspirational story by nominating online one of the finalists for the "People's Choice Award" which ran over a 7-day campaign. The recipient of the People’s Choice Award was Mr Ekram Ali Syed, who received 1402 Votes (64.6% of total votes) 

To mark the occasion, the British Ambassador to the State of Qatar, HE Mr Jon Wilks said: ‘‘I am delighted to be celebrating the achievements of the third batch of the Study UK Alumni Awards winners in Qatar. Their stories are a testament to what the UK and Qatar are continuing to achieve through our partnership in the field of education, and to the impact and value of a UK higher education on tomorrow’s leaders. I would like to congratulate the three winners, as well as all the finalists for their success. They have used their experience of studying and living in the UK to make a positive contribution to Qatar National Vision 2030, and the wider society. They are an inspiration to us all.”  

Sam Ayton, Country Director of the British Council in Qatar, said: “We’re delighted to announce the winners from Qatar. Each of them has achieved something incredible and the idea behind these awards is to share their stories as widely as possible in order to inspire the next generation. These stories demonstrate the innovation and creativity of the UK education sector, which welcomes over half a million international students today, and it’s fantastic to see how the finalists have all taken the knowledge and experience from their studies and used it to actively drive positive change here in Qatar.”  

Qatar is one of the first countries to host the awards physically this year and will be followed by awarding ceremonies in a further twelve countries, including Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. 

To read more about this year’s inspirational winners and finalists, please click here. To watch the Study UK Alumni Awards Ceremony online, click here.  

Notes to Editor

About the Study UK Alumni Awards 


The Alumni Awards were developed by the British Council and UK universities and were launched by the British Council in September 2014. They are open to alumni currently residing in any country outside the UK, who have studied in the UK, at an officially recognised provider of UK university degree level study for a minimum of a term or semester, or who have been awarded a full UK degree level qualification (or higher), by a UK university, within the last 15 years.  


Award winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions, and countries. The Alumni Awards celebrate and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education and raise the profile and reputation of UK alumni, their former universities, and the whole of UK education.  


Awards were presented in two categories: 


Professional Achievement Award 

Recognising UK alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership and achievements in their professional industry, and who can demonstrate the impact and scale of their achievements in their profession, and beyond. 


Social Impact Award 

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


For full details about the Study UK Alumni Awards please refer to:  


For a list of previous Study UK Alumni Award recipients, please refer to: 


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. 


We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education, and civil society. Each year we directly reach over 65 million people and more than 660 million people via broadcasts and publications. 


Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts, and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Fifteen percent of our funding is received from the UK government.  


For more information, please visit You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and  


Full-resolution photos are available on request.