X Close

UCL Global

Home

London's Global University

Menu

Why I’m proud to be a UCL student making a difference on the world stage

AbdulElmi27 November 2017

UCL student Abdul Elmi at the One Young World summit, ColombiaGrowing up, I never imagined that at the age of 21 I would be given the opportunity to fly to Colombia to join the likes of Kofi Annan, Bob Geldof, and others to debate how we tackle world issues. Yet, a month ago I was honoured to represent not only the United Kingdom but also UCL at the ‘One Young World Summit’ in Bogotá, Colombia.

As the first generation of diaspora, born in the UK but with parents from Somalia, I feel well placed to represent the reconciled interests of both my motherland and my country of birth, and I enjoyed sharing my experiences with a similarly diverse group of people.

Championing the need for support of minority voices was one of the key messages I took from the summit. Sir Bob hailed the next generation as the key to solving global issues, while Denise Young Smith, Apple’s Vice President of diversity and inclusion, impressed the need for young people to have a role model. They certainly hit the nail on the head.

Mentoring has made a real difference to me so I was thrilled to hear these inspirational voices talk about the value this can add to someone’s life. Having access to the support of community groups such as Bright Education Centre combined with sheer dogged determination lead me to the successes I have achieved so far.

I now work as an Outreach Manager for Bright Education Centre to encourage others to achieve their aspirations, by running educational workshops and coordinating university advice days. Crucial to this communal effort is providing young people with opportunities to maximise their potential, and provide alternatives to the culture of crime prevalent in so many London boroughs.

It is equally important to harness our fortuity to help those abroad. Just recently Somalia was hit with the most fatal attack in the country’s history. A truck bomb planted in the centre of Mogadishu claimed the lives of over 350 men, women and children with hundreds seriously injured. The scale of the attack makes it one of the worst terrorist attacks in the world. Rescue workers said a definitive death toll may never be established because the intense heat generated by the blast meant that the remains of many people will never be found.

Somalis are resilient against violent extremism. But this is different. Everyone in the city has lost someone or knows someone who was injured. Some of those who died were described as the breadwinners; as a result, many families are suffering. Two weeks ago, I led a fundraiser and I made a pledge along with many other young people that evening. I pledged to not only stand with those suffering at the hands of this horrendous attack but to also raise £1000 for the cause. The amount I raise will go towards African Relief Fund, a charity on the ground helping the sufferers recover from the attack.

So please join me in my attempt to help the victims of this senseless attack. Please share the following link and donate: https://www.gofundme.com/bvxx9p-mogadishu-attack-appeal 

It’s not an easy fact to acknowledge, but the truth is that millions of people across the world are looking to us for assistance. And although some may feel like our contributions could never be as far reaching as to impact those on other continents, I demand you rethink.

This collective effort requires individuals from every age, race, ability and walk of life. I am fully aware that the capabilities of any individual is limited, but as long as we unite as one, there is no difficulty we cannot overcome.

Abdulkadir Elmi | @abdulelmi

Hola Colombia!

AbdulElmi17 August 2017

abdul-elmi_testAbdul is a fourth-year UCL medical student and President of the UCLU Somali Society

I’m sitting here writing my first ever blog thinking about where should I start. I suppose the logical place to start is the point at when this opportunity became a reality.

A few weeks ago, I was in Saudi, trying to withstand the blazing heat, feeling tired, fasting and doing all of this without Wi-Fi. I returned to my hotel room from the Great Holy Mosque of Saudi to an email notifying me that I had been selected to represent UCL at the One Young World (OYW) Summit in Bogotá, Colombia in October.

One Young World

Attending the summit has been a burning desire of mine this past year. One Young World brings together young leaders from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and with this in mind I would like to take this opportunity to thank UCL for making this possible.

February Fundraiser

My desire to effect positive change in the world really took flight earlier this year when I became heavily involved in a range of fundraising initiatives and events to raise money for the Somali Drought Appeal. Through the February Fundraiser, a student-led initiative organised by Somali Youth for Integrity (SYFI) bringing together Somali societies from different institutions, including UCL, we managed to raise £120,000 for the Somali drought. The organisations united under a common goal, to provide aid to those suffering at the hands of the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two.

UCLU Somali Society, in particular, organised a series of successful fundraising initiatives for the February Fundraiser. The highlight was Inspire, where we managed to raise £40,000, in collaboration with Elays Network and Bright Education Centre. After this event, I was surprised to see how many UCL students got involved with the cause.

The UCL BME (Black & Minority Ethnic) Students’ Network allowed the Somali Society to fundraise at the end of the Black Lives Matter events. As a result of this opportunity, we managed to raise an extra £2,000. This was an eye-opening experience as it allowed me to see first-hand the potential we possess as students and that if we work together we can achieve anything.

Copyright Human Appeal, which ran the provided emergency food relief to drought affected internally displaced people
The outcome

The money raised during the February Fundraiser, in collaboration with UK charity Human Appeal, provided emergency food relief to drought affected internally displaced people and host communities. It also provided clean and safe water to vulnerable households in Dolow and Luuq districts. The project will rehabilitate community owned water infrastructure to improve suitability and ownership as well as improve hygiene awareness and enhance the food security of vulnerable households.

One thing that is clear from all the amazing work done by students on campus is that more and more young people are discussing important global issues. Not only with regards to humanitarian affairs, but also political matters such as the current debacle regarding university tuition fees and the NHS.

The future

My hope is that I will return from the summit with a clear vision of how I would like to use my newly elected position, as the next President of the UCLU Somali Society as well as the Vice-President of SYFI, to start discussions regarding some of the world’s most pressing issues. I would also work to provide plenty of opportunities for individuals to make a difference.

I feel that it is of utmost importance to involve students in these discussions so they can provide a unique insight into potential solutions. I want to inspire students to do more for those in need. I would like more people to become motivated and involved. We are the generation that should solve a lot of the world’s issues so it is really important for us to work together effectively to make strides to overcome them.

Last but not least, I’ve enrolled myself onto a Spanish language course and have already started to practise my salsa dancing with ‘Despacito’ on loud. Hola Colombia, I’m ready for you!

Images © Human Appeal

UCL Research Catalyst Award Winners – 2016/17

JasonLewis4 April 2017

UCL Research Catalyst Award Winners – 2016/17

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Santander Universities Research Catalyst Awards!

We wish our UCL colleagues best of luck, and look forwarding to seeing the outcomes of these exciting collaborations.

Here’s the full list of winners:

UCL Award Winner      UCL Department           Partner Institution(s)
Arroyo-Kalin, Manuel Institute of Archaeology Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Attanasio, Orazio Economics Universidad de Los Andes
Beeken, Rebecca Behavioural Science & Health University of Guadalajara
Boano, Camillo Development Planning Unit Universidad Católica del Norte; Universidad de Chile;  Universidad Alberto Hurtado
Drinot, Paulo Institute of the Americas Universidad Nacional de Quilmes
Edwards, Stephen Earth Sciences La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Heinrich, Michael School of Pharmacy UNAM, Méxcio, D.F; Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición “Salvador Zubirán”
Heywood, Wendy ICH Genetics & Genomic Medicine, UCL GOS Institute of Child Health Universidade Federal de Pernambuco;  Real Hospital Português; GSK – Latin America & Caribbean; Hospital das Clínicas de Porto Alegre
Mindell, Jennifer Epidemiology & Public Health Various (Brazil; Chile; Colombia)
Murcio, Roberto Geography UNAM; Universidad de Pamplona
Ortiz, Catalina Bartlett Development Planning Unit National University of Colombia;  University of Los Andes
Phelps, Nicholas Bartlett School of Planning Universidad Catolica del Norte
Prieto-Garcia, Jose School of Pharmacy Universidad de La Plata
Schuster, Christian Political Science National School of Public Administration (ENAP); Federal University of Minas Gerais and National School of Public Administration (ENAP)
Sulu, Michael Biochemical Engineering Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua

 

The Santander Universities Research Catalyst Awards, in line with UCL’s Global Engagement Strategy, seeks to engender innovative research collaborations between UCL and universities and research institutions abroad.

While the Research Catalyst Awards focuses solely on collaborations with universities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, UCL provides various other global engagement funding opportunities for its academics and researchers.

 

Ask GEO: Ciaran Moynihan, Senior Partnership Manager (North and Latin America)

SophieVinter25 January 2017

Ciaran Moynihan, Senior Partnerships Manager (North and Latin America)Ciaran is GEO’s Senior Partnerships Manager for North and Latin America. Here he shares some key updates and opportunities from both regions with us.

Tell us more about your role in GEO and activity in your regions

I work closely with UCL faculties and departments, as well as other Professional Services, to manage and develop partnerships with institutions in North and Latin America. As you can imagine, UCL has a very wide range of activity in both regions, ranging from research collaborations and student exchanges to dual degrees and beyond. Some interesting partnerships I work on would be the Yale UCL Collaborative; an emerging priority partnership with Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; and another emerging partnership with the University of Toronto (to name but a few!)

One challenge I face in my role is around capturing the full breadth of activity that UCL colleagues have underway with partners in North and Latin America – I am always interested to hear about links in the regions which I may not be aware of – so please do get in touch to tell me about your research and education links in both regions. There may be ways I can support you in your endeavours!

Map showing a sample of UCL collaborations in North and Latin America, by metropolitan areaWhat are the UCL Research Catalyst Awards?

The UCL Research Catalyst Awards, sponsored by Santander Universities, have successfully run since 2011. The scheme has enabled more than 40 visits to Latin American universities to support development of research collaboration.

The purpose of the awards is to foster research collaboration between UCL and key partner universities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The awards are available to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence costs associated with focused visits to potential research collaborators, and are aimed at achieving a specific outcome that will support future research collaboration.

We have recently extended the deadline for this year’s applications to Monday 13 February 2017 at 10am. If you’d like to apply, find out more on GEO’s website.

Why do you think UCL’s partnership with Santander Universities is so successful?

UCL began its partnership with Santander Universities in 2007 and was one of the very first UK universities to become a member of the Santander Universities network. The partnership provides UCL students and staff with numerous benefits and opportunities, ranging from study abroad experiences, to research travel grants for staff, to Masters scholarships for incoming students from Latin America.

The partnership with Santander Universities is a strong one for UCL – this year marks the ten-year anniversary of the relationship, which has gone from strength to strength. Not only does Santander Universities provide funding to UCL, but we also work closely with them on support for student entrepreneurship and on helping students to gain internships in small and medium enterprises to enable them to be better prepared for global careers and lives.

UCL will shortly sign a new partnership agreement with Santander Universities, renewing our strong relationship through to 2019, so watch this space for updates on opportunities for staff and students!

What are you working on at the moment?

One of my big areas of focus right now is developing a potentially important partnership with the University of Toronto (U of T). UCL already has strong collaborative links with U of T in a range of areas including child health, education, big data and cancer research, to name a few. We also have a large undergraduate student exchange programme with them. I am currently working with UCL faculties and U of T, under the leadership of the Vice-Provost (International), to explore other areas in which we might collaborate together. Most specifically right now, we are organising a joint workshop on ‘cities’ at UCL, to discuss research collaboration in this area.

U of T is a similar institution to UCL – located in a global city, similarly placed in world league tables, research intensive and with strong educational underpinnings for our students. We are excited at UCL with the opportunity this developing partnership presents, to enable us to work together to deliver excellence in research that will potentially have global impact while also supporting our students as global citizens.

What benefits would joining the North and Latin America networks bring to UCL academics?

Both networks essentially act as ‘communities of interest’ for UCL academics working on topics related to the region, with partners in the region or from the region. We hold termly meetings to bring academics together to hear about institutional initiatives in these regions, while also providing a forum for academics to network with each other and discuss their work regarding partners from North and Latin America.

We also utilise the networks to share regular region-specific funding opportunities that may be of interest to academics, and we are planning to run some academic led events over the coming months. In fact, it would be wonderful to hear from UCL academics on themes, topics etc. for possible events which colleagues would like to see run via the networks!

Contact Ciaran on:

ciaran.moynihan@ucl.ac.uk
+44 (0)20 3108 7777 / internal 57777

UCL Research Catalyst Award Winners – 2015/16

SophieVinter23 February 2016

A new round of Santander Universities Research Catalyst Awards launched in November 2015, with the aim of fostering new research collaborations between UCL and universities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

Colleagues from across UCL applied for funding, with the winners shown below.

The Catalyst Award winners will undertake their visits over the coming academic year, in order to develop collaborative activities with their chosen partners.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.

UCL Award Winner UCL Department Partner Institution
Arroyo-Kalin, Manuel Institute of Archaeology Universidad de Los Andes; Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Boano, Camillo Development Planning Unit Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Edwards, Stephen Hazard Centre Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Hamilton, Ian Energy Institute Universidad Diego Portales
Kalaskar, Deepak Division of Surgery and Interventional Science Universidad Industrial de Santander
Mookerjee, Raj Institute for Liver and Digestive Health Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
Phelps, Nicholas School of Planning Universidad Catolica del Norte
Ricardo, Silva Statistical Science Universidade Federal do Ceara
Whitmore, David Cell and Developmental Biology Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Zaidi, Zehra Institute of Risk and Disaster Management Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Zuluaga, Maria Medical Physics and Bioengineering Universidad Nacional de Colombia

UCL delegation heads to South America in first trip of 2015

KerryMilton26 January 2015

From 19-23 January 2015, a UCL delegation visited Brazil and Colombia to discuss opportunities for partnership and collaboration in higher education.

The group visited a number of institutions and organisations including various Brazilian and Colombian universities and national agencies. Highlights included high level meetings at Universidade de Sao Paulo and UNICAMP in Brazil; Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia; and two inspiring UCL alumni events jointly hosted with UCL by the British Consulate General, Sao Paulo and the British Ambassador to Colombia.
Brazil Colombia Events 2

In addition, the delegation met with FAPESP, a public agency funded by the State of Sao Paulo with a mission to support research projects in higher education and research institutions in all areas of knowledge in order to discuss developing a potential relationship with them.

In Colombia, the delegation met with Colfuturo, with whom UCL already has an existing relationship and Colciencias, the national agency for Science, Technology and Innovation to discuss development of UCL’s relationship with them.

Discussions spanned across higher education with a particular focus on public health, transport, medical sciences, sustainable cities and social sciences. Of particular note were discussions around mutually beneficial partnerships, the Newton Fund, which is part of the UK’s official development assistance and other potential and other potential funding streams to support development of collaborations.

Brazil Colombia Events 1

The delegation was led by Professor Alejandro Madrigal, UCL’s Pro-Vice-Provost for the Americas. Joining Professor Madrigal were:

  • Dr Jenny Mindell, Reader, Epidemiology and Public Health
  • Ciaran Moynihan, Partnership Officer, Office for International Affairs

The delegation spent time in Sao Paulo and Bogota as part of UCL’s plan to develop its relationship with countries in Latin America, with Colombia and Brazil being key priorities.

UCL’s Latin America Network, which meets throughout the year, is helping to shape UCL’s engagement with Latin America. The delegation plans to liaise with the Network over the coming weeks to disseminate opportunities identified on the visit in order to support development of the relationships with key partners in both countries.

In our next UCL Global News e-newsletter, we will have an update on the specific outcomes and developing relationships/collaborations in these countries, as well as an interview with an amazing alumna from Colombia. Subscribe at our UCL Global website

If you would like to join the Latin America Network, please email Ciaran Moynihan at ciaran.moynihan@ucl.ac.uk

What is the Newton Fund?

KerryMilton27 October 2014

The Newton Fund is part of the UK’s official international development assistance. This new funding is designed to promote the long term economic development and welfare of people in partner countries and unlock new opportunities for HEIs to contribute and build partnerships.

The fund is worth £75 million each year from 2014 for 5 years, predicated upon reciprocal funding in cash or kind from each partner country.

The partner countries have been confirmed as 15 fast-developing economies, identified by OECD:

  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Vietnam

The fund has a governance board chaired by the Minister for Universities and Science, while BIS will oversee the management of the fund via a core group of ‘delivery partners’, including various academies, the British Council and International Higher Education Unit, Research Councils UK, Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Met Office.

The fund is organised into a wide-ranging series of collaborative programmes grouped into three ‘pillars’: People, Programmes, Translation.

Each UK delivery partner has a particular role in promoting different programmes; see Newton Fund Programme Descriptions [PDF] for further information.

Each partner country decides upon its own priorities in consultation with the UK delivery partners and UK diplomatic centres in-country, according to local need and the local availability of reciprocal matching resources.

How to apply

UCL applications for Newton funding will follow the applicant’s usual departmental procedures in line with the relevant Newton Fund delivery partner’s requirements. Further guidance if required can be obtained from the research facilitation team member for the appropriate School, visit the Office of the Vice Provost for Research website for contact information

Useful information

An overview of the BIS policy [webpage]

The Newton Fund Programme Descriptions [PDF]

Government Newton Fund Presentation [PowerPoint]

Frequently asked questions [PDF]

Universities UK International Unit maintains an up-to-date web page as a one-stop for all current calls [webpage]

Universities UK International Unit runs an email alert service for all new calls, and UCL colleagues are encouraged to sign up for this [webpage]