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Study Group Advisor honoured for Outstanding Contribution to International Education

05 October 2020

Study Group Senior Advisor Ruth Arnold has been chosen as the recipient of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to International Education’ in the 2020 PIEoneer Awards, which recognise innovation and achievement in international education across the world.

Ruth was honoured for her role over a number of years in developing the award-winning #WeAreInternational campaign. The initiative was co-founded in 2012 by the Presidents of the University of Sheffield and its Students' Union, Professor Sir Keith Burnett and Abdi Aziz-Suleiman. The UK Council for International Student Affairs became the organisational host of the campaign in 2019 and it has since appointed the first #WeAreInternational international student ambassadors, who directly input into the UK International Education Strategy.

As Director of Public Affairs at the University of Sheffield and a founding member of the UK Universities Political Affairs Network, Ruth led the effort to build a UK wide grassroots #WeAreInternational campaign. The campaign was adopted by students, universities, sector bodies and the CBI. The campaign then worked with government, Universities UK and the British Council to create unbranded materials, which could be used by all and applied to local content.

Responding to news of the award, Ruth said: “I am extremely grateful to the PIEoneer Awards and PIE News for supporting the #WeAreInternational campaign and for this very special honour. Making the case for international education, friendship and solidarity couldn’t be more important or necessary at a time when global connections are so challenged. I am very proud to be associated with that effort and with all the wonderful students and organisations who have made #WeAreInternational their own.”

#WeAreInternational has been formally supported by Study Group since 2017, and Study Group played a leading role in the successful effort to lobby the UK government to reintroduce a post-study work visa. It also helped establish the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Students.

The #WeAreInternational campaign was named International Strategy of the Year by The Times Higher Education in 2014 and Marketing Campaign of the Year by PIE News in 2017 and is widely used on social media to express a belief in the value of international education. #WeAreInternational also inspired the development of its US sister campaign - #YouAreWelcomeHere.

The Outstanding Contribution Award is sponsored by NCUK and was announced at the PIEoneer Awards event in the PIE Live Conference on the 2nd of October. Other finalists for the Outstanding Contribution category were:

  • Jazreel Goh, UK/China - Director of Education Marketing at British Council China
  • Professor Diana Laurillard, UK - Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies, University College London
  • Enver Yücel, Turkey - Author and Chair of the Board of Trustees of Bahçeşehir University
  • Jayanthan Kulasingham, Sri Lanka - Chair of the Spectrum Institute of Science & Technology
  • Timothy Blake, UK - Chairman of The London School of English
  • Troy Peden, US - Founder of

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