With nominations spanning 27 countries, 20 winners were selected by a judging panel of 38 international education specialists, and the live event was watched online by more than 300 attendees.
“It has to be said that the calibre and volume of entries were as high as ever”
This year’s outstanding contribution to the industry award went to senior adviser to Study Group, Ruth Arnold, who developed and chaired the UK’s award-winning #WeAreInternational campaign until 2019, while international NGO United World Schools scooped the PIEoneer of the year award.
In an acceptance speech, chief executive of United World Schools Tim Howarth said the organisation was honoured to be a finalist among seven other inspiring leaders in education, including UNESCO and FutureLearn.
“With such esteemed organisations in our category, we were even more honoured and overjoyed when UWS was announced as the winner!” he added.
“We’d like to dedicate this prestigious award to our teams across Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal, who’ve worked tirelessly for over a decade to provide a transformative education to over 35,000 children from marginalised communities.”
Speaking about her win in the outstanding contribution to the industry award category, Arnold said: “I’m so stunned that the [#WeAreInternational] campaign has been as welcomed as it has been. People have just been wonderful with it.
“The really important [thing] to me is that international students and staff themselves have their voice, and I’ve learned so much from the most wonderful international students, and feel really lucky to have anything to do with it,” she added.
“It has to be said that the calibre and volume of entries were as high as ever in this year’s PIEoneer Awards, and in a year in which international education as we know it was upended, it says a lot about the dedication in our sector and of course, the innovation and commitment to making an impact,” said The PIE’s Amy Baker.
Following CEO and founder Andrew Gordon’s PIEoneer Award win in the 2019 Outstanding Contribution to the Industry category, his organisation Diversity Abroad was named Association of the year for 2020.
The event also saw winners recognised for their achievements in areas including public/private partnerships (Uber & Open University Programme, Global), language education (Broadstairs English Centre, UK) and agencies (Blue Ivy Coaching, Mexico), with sector champions, award winners and highly commended finalists taking to social media to announce their achievements.
Highly Commended for @PIEoneerAwards Association of the Year! Thanks to our fabulous volunteers who made it possible & bravo to our small, dedicated Secretariat team. Their passion for #intled allows us to continue to thrive as we adapt to face new challenges. #pioneers20
— Phil Honeywood (@PhilHoneywood) October 5, 2020
Absolutely proud of @RuthArnold. Hugest congratulations to you- couldn’t think of anyone who deserves this recognition more than you. Blessed to have a mentor like you #PIEoneers20 https://t.co/TMWUIG3G6X
— Riddi Viswanathan (@DiversityMcr) October 2, 2020
Widening access to education was a theme represented by many of the finalists this year.
“While we celebrate international education, let us not forget that even during this pandemic international students still lack equal access to hardship funds and some of them are even threatened with visa revocations,” said joint international alumni of the year winner, Riddi Viswanathan.
“To me, we can celebrate international education only when every student, regardless of the colour of their passport can equally access education globally.”
Entries for the 2021 awards will open in early 2021.
The PIEoneer Awards 2020 winners
- Marketing campaign of the year: UCL, UK – Disruptive Discoveries #MadeAtUCL
- Secondary learning international impact award: Amerigo Education, US and UTP High Schools, US
- Student support award: University of Windsor, Canada – English Language Improvement Program – Mindflow
- Employability international impact award: Hacker Exchange (HEX), Australia – Global Innovation Program
Sustainability international impact award:The GREEN Program, US
- Accommodation provider of the year: Goodenough College, UK
- Education agency of the year: Blue Ivy Coaching, Mexico
- Championing diversity award: Katalyst, India
- Progressive education delivery award: My Online Schooling, UK
- International alumni of the year: Riddi Viswanathan, India – The University of Manchester, UK and Thomson Ch’ng, Malaysia – Curtin University, Australia
- Association of the year: Diversity Abroad, US
- Public / private partnership of the year: Uber & Open University Programme, Global
- Digital innovation of the year – learning: GROW Observatory’s Citizen Science MOOC Programme & Blended-learning Ecosystem, UK
- Digital innovation of the year – technology: Sonder, Australia – Mobile app providing international students with 24/7 rapid in-person support
- Language educator of the year: BEC (Broadstairs English Centre), UK
- Real life learning award: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, US – Study Abroad Program: Kosovo & ERAU Unmanned Aircraft Systems Partnership
- PIEoneer of the year: United World Schools, Global
- Outstanding contribution to the industry: Ruth Arnold, UK