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UoSiL graduate wins at Global Alumni Awards

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Published: 22 March 2023

Last month, a fellow MBA graduate of the University of Sunderland in London, Dana Darwish, was presented with the British Council Study UK Alumni Award.

Originally from Jordan, Dana has won this year’s British Council Study UK Alumni Award. The Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of international alumni and showcase the impact and value of UK higher education. Award winners and finalists are leaders in their field and have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions, and countries.

Three people facing the camera and smiling, two are holding the UK Alumni AwardDana Darwish (left) and Abedalrahman Alzghoul with Aizhan Omar

Dana is a very determined and active woman with multiple career facets. Currently, she hosts a prime-time show focusing on youth and local talent on Jordan's number-one English radio station. She is also leading the communication and public relations for the Ministry of Digital Economy and for the Entrepreneurship’s Jordan Source programme with the World Bank, an initiative that connects entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses to the resources they need to thrive around the world.

However, Dana’s big passion is mental health understanding. In order to raise awareness of the impacts of cyberbullying and online content on our mental health, she developed the "Choose Kind" programme in 2019. Since launching Choose Kind, the youth leadership programme Love Jo has been supporting Dana to develop a large community of advocates.

This programme emphasises teaching young people how choosing kindness is a sign of true strength and the importance of putting their mental health first. It aims to educate and create a safer digital space for children and young individuals.

Dana created a filter devoted to Choose Kind in October 2021 on World Mental Health Day every time a person is using the filter it means that they care about their friend’s mental health. The filter has been used more than 2,000 times so far. Due to Dana’s great success, a partnership was formed between Choose kind and the largest mental health clinic in Jordan, the Mental Health Hub, where the medical staff has volunteered to grow the programme. Choose Kind is currently training 16 university students to inform more people and be advocates for mental health awareness. Dana appointed her radio show to inform and make Choose Kind publicly known by hosting publicly recognised figures such as Dr Khaled Ghattas and Her Highness Princess Basma Al Saed of Oman.

After hosting their first school activity for the year, Choose Kind talked to students at Kingston School in Jordan about the importance of mental health. One of the programme’s future plans is to include an in-school ambassador programme, where students could contact their classmates directly when it comes to mental well-being and health.

Dana, who graduated with a Master of Business Administration from the University of Sunderland in London in 2018, said, "Having Choose Kind recognised for its efforts in spreading awareness about mental health is a massive honour for us. I am so thankful for the opportunities my education and community have brought me, and I believe any step towards a safer, more inclusive, and kinder world is a win for everyone."

Tawfiq Elahi, senior lecturer in postgraduate business at the University of Sunderland in London, said: "I feel extremely proud to see all the exciting engagements of Dana, starting from being a radio presenter, a communication lead for a government ministry, or her initiative around raising mental health awareness for children and young people. I found there is a common thread in what she is doing – her intent to create a bigger impact on the wider society and her passion for work. Dana’s journey is inspirational for today's business academics, practitioners, and our current business management students."

The university would like to congratulate Dana on her constant efforts to make the world a better place and spread awareness about mental health.

Share your congratulations with the community on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using #WeAreSunLon #AlumniAward #MentalHealth.