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British Council announces finalists for their inaugural national Study UK Alumni Awards

Study UK Alumni Awards

Manila – The British Council in the Philippines has released the list of finalists for the first national edition of the 2024 Study UK Alumni Awards. The Study UK Alumni Awards is a global recognition programme that shines light on the lifetime effects of UK education and the outstanding achievements of its alumni all across the world. As part of the organisation’s 45th anniversary in the country, they will host the inaugural national awards, recognising outstanding Filipino UK alumni across the fields of science and sustainability, culture and creativity, social action and business and innovation.

“As we celebrate 45 years in the Philippines, the British Council is beyond excited to finally launch the Study UK Alumni Awards to more Filipinos this 2023-2024. This award allows us to recognise Filipinos who have the potential to make an impact for their fellow Filipinos, harnessing their innate talent partnered with world-class education from the UK. We look forward to bringing our alumni and finalists to the global stage, inspiring growth and influence on different sectors across the globe,” shared Lotus Postrado, Country Director of the British Council in the Philippines.

Among all the applicants, eleven outstanding alumni were selected as finalists across four major fields and award categories.

Finalists for the Science and Sustainability Award

This award recognises alumni who have distinguished themselves through their career and achievements in the world of science and sustainability and have demonstrated the impact and scale of their achievements in their profession, and beyond. These include work in fields such as climate action, clean energy, medicine, sustainable cities and communities, engineering, industry, and construction.

  • Bryan San Juan, University of Oxford (Joint Scholarship by Hertford College and the Oxford Faculty of Law) – One of the youngest individuals featured in the Asia Business Law’s Journal’s List of Top 100 Lawyers in the Philippines for 2023. Specialising in environment and climate change practice, as well as energy law, he is involved in advisory work to RE developers in the Philippines. Notably, Atty San Juan has co-led cases preventing illegal reclamation and mining activities in Palawan.
  • Jonas Marie Dumdum, University of South Wales – A known supporter in the field of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and sustainability in the Philippines, Jonas works with the National Economic and Development Authority under the Stakeholders’ Chamber for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), podcasts sustainability issues under the Sustainarumble! Podcast, and serves as Corporate Secretary of Sustainable PH (SPH).
  • Dante Salvador Jr, University of Sheffield (Erasmus+ Scholar) – With degrees in biology, public management and public health, and doctorates in medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics, he has led multiple projects with the Department of Health and Department of Finance specifically centred towards curbing substance abuse. He has previously presented evidence supporting the passage of Republic Act No. 11467, contributing substantially towards raising healthcare revenues through increased taxes on alcohol.

Finalists for the Culture and Creativity Award

This award recognizes alumni who have carved a career for themselves in arts and culture. They have demonstrated their artistic ingenuity, influence, and creativity through various areas of work that include, but are not limited to arts, design, humanities, traditional media, music, video, TV, sports and online content and audiovisual media creation (e.g., blogging, vlogging including for YouTube and social media).

  • Stephanie Danielle Tudtud, Cardiff Metropolitan University – One of the Creative Directors at White Brick and Instructor at the University of San Carlos Department of Fine Arts, Stephanie co-founded Cebu Making Space, a space merging a makerspace, gallery and studio. This hub fosters local creativity and collaboration, providing a safe space for creatives to pursue their own unique endeavours.
  • Catherine Lasam Ballo, University College London – Catherine is an artist, educator and advocate. As an educator, she has co-written the Arts and Design Track subject as part of the K12 Curriculum with the Department of Education and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and. She is the founder ofd ARTguro Philippines, an initiative that engages, empowers, and inspires teachers towards positive change in the Philippine education system through the arts.

Finalists for the Social Action Award

This award recognizes alumni who have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to creating positive social change and improving the lives of others through education, peace and justice and reducing inequality, poverty and hunger and broader humanitarian work.

  • John Macato, University of Westminster, London (Westminster Disaster Regeneration Scholar) – As the Health Coordinator for the ICRC in armed conflict zones, John orchestrates essential healthcare access and delivery amid diversity. His efforts resonate internationally, fostering collaboration, advancing humanitarian practices and advocating for civilians affected by armed conflict. John uplifts communities by alleviating suffering and promoting health in conflict and post-conflict settings.
  • Dr. Eric Palacpac, University of Leeds (The Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program) – A seasoned agriculturist and researcher in animal science, agricultural extension and knowledge management, he held significant roles at the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center, Philippine Society of Animal Science (PSAS) and the Philippine Extension and Advisory Services Network (PhilEASNet).
  • Josephine Ambalada, King’s College London, University of Oxford – The visionary founder and dedicated managing director of Winged Wonder Institute of Education, an organisation established in 2006, catering to individuals with special needs. Through events organised by ABSCBN from 2010 to 2019, Winged Wonder has generously offered free classes, mental health and Special Education (SPED) seminars, medical missions, and comprehensive educational consultancy services to marginalised communities.

Finalists for the Business and Innovation Award

This award recognises alumni who are active in initiating and contributing to innovative or creative new ideas, solutions or business opportunities.

  • Abigail Marie Dans-Casanova, University of Oxford – President and CEO of SB Finance, Inc., a joint venture of Security Bank and Krungsri which endeavours to make financing more accessible for the ordinary Filipino.
  • Jose Belarmino, University of Westminster (Chevening Scholar) – Global Director for Privacy of Philippine government agencies and consultant to different private entities to educate Filipinos about data privacy and security.
  • Rowena Ruiz, SOAS, University of London (Chevening Scholar) – Executive Director of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB)-Technical Support Office where she spearheads the complete digitalisation of public procurement services, contributing towards innovation, efficiency and greater responsiveness and accountability in the use of government resources, such as through the Green and Gender Responsive Procurement and the Philippines’ COVID-19 Response Program.

The Study UK Alumni Awards was launched globally in 2014. While this the first time that the Philippines will be joining at the national level, two Filipinos have already been recognised on the global stage: Baby Ruth Villarama won as Global Alumni Awardee for Social Impact in 2018 and Melvin Sanicas was recognised as Global Finalist for Science and Sustainability in 2023.

Winners for the national awards will be announced on 16 February 2024. Meanwhile, finalists will still have the chance to compete globally, raising their international profile through global press and digital coverage, building their professional networks, and possibly even win a trip to the UK.

Know more about the British Council and the Study UK Alumni Awards at https://www.britishcouncil.ph/alumni-awards.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2021–22 we reached 650 million people.


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