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University of London shortlisted for education ‘Oscars’ by THE

The University of London has been shortlisted for the International Impact Award at the 2018 Times Higher Education Awards, known as the ‘Oscars’ for higher education. The University is one of six entrants shortlisted in this category.

Written by Binda Rai |

Dr Mary Stiasny, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of London
Opening doors to freedom through education

The University’s entry, for its distance and flexible learning programmes, faced stiff national competition from universities and colleges within the UK, in the initial round of shortlisting.

The shortlisting is in recognition of the strong impact of the University of London’s academic programmes and their power to change people’s lives, through its reach to 50,000 students in more than 190 countries through 100+ study programmes. The University of London’s entry was based around the theme of freedom - freedom from injustice and freedom from disease.

Two programmes were cited as examples of a truly life changing impact made across the world by the University of London’s distance and flexible learning programmes. First, the impact of the University of London Undergraduate Laws programme’s partnership with the African Prisons Project (APP), empowering 63 prisoners with the knowledge to navigate their legal proceedings during 2016-17. One such prisoner, who enrolled on the University’s LLB programme, successfully campaigned to abolish the death sentence in Uganda following their release, and provided legal counsel to other inmates who were subsequently freed. She said: ‘Seeing the lives of these inmates gradually change for the better increased my energy to do more, in anticipation of one day, having and living in a harmonious and transformed society.’

In addition, the University of London’s partnership with the APP enabled life-changing education to be made freely available amongst African prisoners, addressing their high illiteracy rates, significant re-incarceration rates and severe overcrowding.

Another example of the impact of the University’s Undergraduate Laws programme extends across the world, where women suffering from domestic violence have also used the LLB programme to free themselves and others from life-destroying trauma.

Secondly, knowledge also has transformative implications for people’s health, and University of London alumni have played an instrumental role in freeing people from disease.

A Zimbabwean Masters graduate has worked on paediatric HIV trials, including the ZENITH trial in Harare, which aimed to reduce virulence and supress HIV in children. This trial, led by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), a member institution of the University of London and world-renowned for its research in public and global health, ultimately improved outcomes for more than 150 children with HIV. Through their work, such graduates are paving the way for advanced drug technology and equitable delivery, which in turn gives children infected with HIV an improved chance of a healthier life.

Dr Mary Stiasny OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of London, said:

The University of London, through its graduates, changes the lives of millions of people globally through sharing knowledge, which ultimately opens the door to freedom on so many levels for the citizens of the world.

I am delighted that we have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award by experts in the sector, and what this does is provide an endorsement for our mission, which is to provide access to quality higher education across the world, as we have done since 1858.

Furthermore, I want to congratulate the member institutions of the University of London, with whom we work to deliver academic awards to 50,000 students in all regions of the world, along with 1.4 million learners enrolled on our MOOCs. Our member institutions, including all those who contribute to the Undergraduate Laws programme, and LSHTM, each bring their expertise to help deliver excellence in academia for students across the world.

Note: The University of London’s Undergraduate Laws programme is delivered with academic direction from Birkbeck; King’s College London; London School of Economics and Political Science; Queen Mary University of London; School of Oriental and African Studies and University College London.

The winners of the THE Awards will be announced on Thursday 29 November in London.

For further information contact:

Binda Rai: Head of External Relations, Media and PR (Worldwide)
University of London
Mobile: 07920 476 483
Landline: 0207 862 8545

About the University of London

The University of London was established in 1836 by Royal Charter. It is made up of 18 independent member institutions and nine research institutes. These institutions, including the LSE, UCL, King’s College London and the London Business School are recognised globally as world leaders in higher education.

The University of London is the world’s oldest provider of academic awards through distance and flexible learning, dating back to 1858, when the University of London was awarded a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria.

In 1858 Charles Dickens described the University of London as ‘The People’s University’ when its 1858 Royal Charter extended access to degrees to those who could not come to London to study.

150 years ago, in 1868, the University of London opened up ‘Special Examinations for Women’. Ten years later, the University began offering full degrees for women. In both instances, the University was the first in the UK to do so.

Today, students of the University of London’s distance and flexible learning programmes study from a suite of 100+ academic programmes, with some taking the award through self-study or through support from local teaching institutions.

The University’s distance and flexible learning provision is the world’s largest classroom, with 50,000 students worldwide, and over 1.4 million learners on the Coursera online platform for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), bringing this global reach to 1.45 million people around the world, covering more than 180 countries.

The University of London currently has 21 single MOOC courses available through Coursera, as well as three specialisations of five to six MOOCs each. The University’s new online BSc in Computer Science is the first undergraduate degree to be offered through Coursera. For more information about the University of London’s online courses delivered through Coursera, please visit:

Further information about the University of London is available at: