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Sector champions honoured at the 2023 PIEoneer Awards

The very best in innovation and achievement across the international education sector was once again recognised at the 2023 annual PIEoneer Awards ceremony.

The glamorous ceremony took place on September 22 in central London, where 560 people from 21 countries gathered to celebrate the sector’s achievements over the last year – of which there were many.

Among 143 finalists recognised were winners of the Marketing campaign of the year category – Universities UK International and Charles Cormack Consultancy. The organisations, along with creative agency Waterfall, were awarded for their efforts in The #TwinForHope Campaign which saw UK and Ukrainian universities twin to form five-year reciprocal partnerships, enabling sharing of support, resources, ideas and expertise.

This year, three individuals were recognised in the coveted Outstanding contribution to the industry category: University of Portsmouth pro-vice chancellor for global engagement, ex-BUILA chair and all around UK sector champion Bobby Mehta; Studyportals CEO Edwin van Rest for his continued advocacy for access to higher education; and Cyndi McLeod, CEO, Global University Systems Canada, for 30 years of leadership in international education.

“This award is really not about me. This is a testament to the purpose, the passion and persistence of our amazing staff and many wonderful partners all across the world that support us,” said van Rest, whose goal is to ensure no student misses out on an education opportunity because of lack of information.

“Huge congratulations to all the winners in our 20 categories – you are an inspiration”

The 2023 PIEoneer of the year award went to AFS Intercultural Programs for AFS Global STEM Accelerators – the full scholarship program for girls who are active global citizens, energised to help solve some of the biggest global challenges.

Meanwhile, Qatar-based Education Above All Foundation were highly commended in this category for their efforts in the Internet Free Education Resource Bank.

Australia’s Mozaik Play celebrated its win in the International student recruitment organisation of the year category for the second year in a row.

“Every year we are astounded by the level of innovation being carried out across the sector and this year is no exception,” said Clare Gossage, COO and co-founder, The PIE.

“Tickets sold out for this year’s awards and this is our biggest show yet.

“It’s wonderful to reflect on how The PIEoneer Awards have grown since we launched them in 2011 at RIBA, London, with 11 categories and 250 attendees.

“Huge congratulations to all the winners in our 20 categories – you are an inspiration,” said Gossage.

Attendees heard from Immy Mukawumbya, co-founder and global ambassador of the awards’ 2023 charity partner Shine with Skills Foundation. The foundation, in line with Uganda’s national need for vocational training, supports economic development by creating partnerships and projects to inform, educate and train youth in the country and worldwide.

In an emotional speech, Mukawumbya said while growing up in Uganda, she witnessed the lack of employment opportunities in her community.

“We wanted to change this by offering free training programs to youths who would pay it forward by training other youths.”

The full list of winners and highly commended for the 2023 PIEoneer Awards:

Highly commended: EHL Hospitality Business School, Switzerland

Highly commended: Western Sydney University – Thai-Myanmar Border Refugee Scholarship Program

  • Digital innovation of the year – assessment and credentialsRiiid, Korea – an online test preparation platform and app for the SAT and ACT

Highly commended: Oxford International Digital Institute, UK – Oxford ELLT

  • Digital innovation of the year – learningIBT College, Canada – Micro-credentials leading to a Personal Support Worker Diploma using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Highly commended: The WorldGrad, Singapore

  • Digital innovation of the year – student recruitmentSuccessful Graduate, Australia – Recruiting Students Back Into Australia

Highly commended: Swinburne University of Technology, Australia – Swintopia

  • Digital innovation of the year – technologyBorderPass, Canada

Highly commended: Otermans Institute, UK – OIAI

Highly commended: Andy Howells, UUKi, UK

Highly commended: De Montfort University, UK – Supporting student employability and entrepreneurship through international experiences and Study NSW, Australia

Highly commended: Beauclaire Mbanya, Cameroon – University of Rochester, US

  • International student recruitment organisation of the yearMozaik Play, Australia

Highly commended: AECC, Australia and Blue Ivy Coaching, Mexico

Highly commended: Edify Education, Brazil and UCD English Language Academy, Ireland

Highly commended: National Indian Students and Alumni Union, UK – The India UK Achievers Honours

Highly commended: Colleges and Institutes Canada, Canada

PIEoneer of the year: AFS Intercultural Programs, Global – AFS Global STEM Accelerators

Highly commended: Education Above All Foundation, Qatar – Internet Free Education Resource Bank

Highly commended: Australian Centre for Education, Cambodia – Children’s Plus+ & Young Learners’ Plus+ Programs

  • Public / Private partnership of the year: WISE Women in STEM Entrepreneurship-IAE Business School, Argentina & Inter-American Development Bank Lab & Hemispheric University Consortium, US

Highly commended: Northumbria University, UK & St George’s University, Grenada – International Medical Degree Pathways – a unique collaborative partnership in medical education

  • Student support award: studentVIP, Canada – Virtual Health Clinic

Highly commended: Nido, UK

Highly commended: Singapore Management University, Singapore – Cultivating global citizenship through SMU Industry x Project-Based Experiential Learning Overseas Approach

  • Sustainability international impact award: Hazaar, United Kingdom

Highly commended: Intercultural outreach Initiative, US – 2025 Net Zero Strategy and University of Sydney, Australia – Sustainability Program

  • Outstanding contribution to the industryBobby Mehta, UK and Cyndi McLeod, Canada and Edwin van Rest, The Netherlands


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