School of English alumna Shahd AlShammari won the Social Impact Award at this year’s British Council Study UK Alumni Awards in Kuwait on Tuesday 5 March. These prestigious international awards celebrate UK higher education and the achievements of UK alumni all over the world. Dr AlShammari was amongst nine finalists in three award categories, selected from more than 1,200 applicants from around the world for their outstanding achievements as business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders, and for their important contribution to strengthening collaborative ties between the UK and Kuwait.
The Social Impact Award acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to creating positive social change and improving the lives of others. A teacher of literature at the Gulf University for Science and Technology, Dr AlShammari has published widely, including research in peer-reviewed journals and creative writing. Her works have been featured in numerous venues, including the Emirates Literature Festival and the Malta Book Festival. Dr AlShammari’s interest in women and disability studies places her at the forefront of young early-career researchers in the Gulf region. Her latest presentation was Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar on Medical Humanities in the Middle East and Arab women.
Speaking of her experience of studying in the UK, Dr AlShammari, who also studied her MA at the University of Exeter, said “My postgraduate years in England were a time where I sharpened my skills as a researcher and I was pushed to persevere. Since my PhD studies focused on disability representation in literature, I was able to create innovative approaches to ‘old’ literary classics. I brought minority voices to the classes I teach as well as my creative writing. My collection of short stories is the first narrative dealing with disability in Kuwait. Representation matters and it is my mission to bring literary theory to real life experiences.”
This is the first year that the awards were celebrated at a national level to honour the achievements of alumni based in Kuwait. In addition to the Social Impact Award, two Kuwaiti alumni from other UK universities were announced as winners in the Professional Achievement and Entrepreneurial Award categories at the ceremony at the Marriott Hotel Kuwait City.
To mark the occasion, Michael Gordon, Country Director at the British Council in Kuwait, said: “The remarkable individuals we celebrate at the Study UK Alumni Awards in Kuwait have all taken their UK education to excel in their chosen careers and shape the world around them. This year’s awards ceremony is testimony not only to the diversity of UK alumni and their endeavours, but also to the transformative impact of a UK education.”
To find out more about the Study UK Alumni Awards Kuwait, and to read about all of this year’s inspirational winners and finalists, please see the British Council Kuwait website.