Paul Webley award for innovation in international education announced

04 July 2024


Two #WeAreInternational Grants scheme grantees have been awarded for their innovative work in international education. The Paul Webley Award for Innovation in International Education was created in 2016 in memory of the late Director of SOAS and Chair of the UKCISA Board, Paul Webley. It was presented to Newcastle and Keele Universities at the UKCISA Annual Conference at the University of Kent. 

Dr. Alina Schartner, Sara Kozáková and Chang Liu from Newcastle University were given the Paul Webley award for their work ‘Beyond cultural differences: Critical intercultural orientation workshops for newly arrived students’. The project team created a workshop toolkit for a programme of five intercultural workshops on the themes of identity, cultural values and beliefs, diversity, personal values, and self-awareness, based on UNESCO ‘story circles’ approach. The workshops are now integrated into Newcastle University’s International Welcome programme, and can be replicated by other institutions using the resources available here 

Dr Filippo Nereo, Dr Alison Long and Tetiana Tsapenko from Keele were highly commended for their research ‘Supporting international students fleeing humanitarian crises: untangling the experiences of students from Ukraine and Syria’. Aiming to learn from students who have fled humanitarian crises, the research asked whether the support students had received from UK higher education institutions was adequate, and discovered areas in which they felt required additional or tailored support. They found that the term ‘international students’ itself is problematic in the context of forced migration, that students had a wide range of experiences, and should not be treated as a homogeneous group with the same needs.  

Anne Marie Graham, Chief Executive, praised “the exceptional quality and diversity of this year's #WeAreInternational grants, highlighting the innovation and dedication within our educational sector. The projects from Newcastle and Keele Universities are prime examples of how we can enrich the international student experience and support them in their contributions to the wider student body and surrounding community.” 

The #WeAreInternational Grants scheme focuses on integrating the principles of the #WeAreInternational Student Charter in higher and further education institutions in the UK, to deliver a world-class international student experience, from pre-arrival to post-graduation.  Deep dive reports, summaries and resources can be found here 

A webinar will be held later in the summer to share learnings from the authors. Sign up to the UKCISA newsletter for more information.  

Karan Bilimoria, UKCISA President, and Anne Marie Graham, UKCISA Chief Executive, present the Paul Webley Award at UKCISA Annual conference at the University of Kent in June 2024.