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Water, Sanitation and Health MSc alumnus selected as finalist in the British Council Alumni Awards 2024

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An alumnus from the School of Civil Engineering has been selected as a finalist in the British Council Alumni Awards in the category of Science and Sustainability.

We are delighted to announce that alumnus Mohamed Kamal, MSc Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering 2019, has been selected as a finalist in the British Council Egypt Alumni Awards 2024 in the category of Science and Sustainability.

British Council Alumni Awards

The British Council Alumni Awards is an annual event that acknowledges and celebrates the accomplishments of international alumni who have pursued their studies in the UK and have made a significant impact in their respective fields. The awards are presented in various categories, including Science and Sustainability. This category recognises alumni who have distinguished themselves through their career and achievements in the world of science and sustainability.

These prestigious international awards honour the exceptional achievements of UK alumni globally and recognise leaders in their respective fields who have utilised their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive impact on their communities, industries and countries.

Now in its tenth year, the award received more than 1,450 applications from international UK alumni in over 90 countries, which represents more than 140 UK higher education institutions across the UK. It is a fantastic achievement for Mohamed to be selected to stand amongst the global finalists for this award.

Mohamed’s climate work

Since late 2019, Mohamed has been working in the environmental and climate sector in Egypt and the region, mainly as a consultant, activist and advocate. For two years, he worked as a consultant on various environmental consulting projects in Egypt, Tanzania, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Uganda. In mid-2021, Mohamed joined Greenish as a co-director at a time when COP27 was under discussion to potentially come to Egypt. Greenish is a non-profit organisation dedicated to environmental advocacy, awareness and climate engagement, with a focus on representing local communities across Egypt.

My promise is to never forget the privilege I have had through my education and to make the most of every opportunity.


Looking back at the work leading to his nomination for the British Council Alumni Award for Science and Sustainability, Mohamed said: “The past four years have been nothing short of incredible, thanks in large part to the academic foundation built during my MSc and the skills developed during my BEng. As of 2023, I am currently the Executive Director of Greenish, an NGO with 12 staff members and a household name in Egypt, all achieved by the age of 27. I have also become a niche expert on plastic pollution in Egypt and a leading voice on climate and environment in a country that is faced with numerous environmental challenges.”

Mohamed’s work has been celebrated by the School of Civil Engineering colleagues who were very pleased to hear that he had been selected as a finalist.

It was an immense pleasure to have met him in the last two prestigious Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) meetings for a legally binding agreements to end plastic pollution in Paris and in Nairobi, him serving in an advisory role to some stakeholders – he has really come a long way. And I am always trying to get him back and do a PhD with us as well!”

Dr Andrew Sleigh commenting on Mohamed’s achievements said: “Mohamed was a fantastic student when here - he put a huge amount back into the School as student rep.”

An inspiring environment

Mohamed Kamal started his journey at Leeds in 2015 studying BEng Civil Engineering with Project Management. During his time as an undergraduate at Leeds, Mohamed achieved several awards, including the University Partnership Award in 2017 for Academic Representative of the Year, the RH Evans Prize for outstanding non-academic contributions and the Yorkshire Union of Institutes Prize for special achievement in the School of Civil Engineering. Mohamed explained: “these accolades acknowledged the time and effort I put into representing the best interests of students and improving the processes within the School of Civil Engineering.”

A scholarship funded by alumni enabled Mohamed Kamal to study the University’s renowned Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering MSc, while a travel bursary supported his fieldwork examining plastic waste in Egypt.

Through questionnaires and interviews with residents and local waste professionals, and examinations of the types of waste and its disposal, Mohamed unveiled a series of key issues around solid waste in the region.

I firmly believe that this type of academic experience, combining unparalleled diversity with cutting-edge research in the realms of social and environmental issues, is a rarity elsewhere.


Speaking about his Masters dissertation, Mohamed said: “I firmly believe that this type of academic experience, combining unparalleled diversity with cutting-edge research in the realms of social and environmental issues, is a rarity elsewhere. It is not uncommon for the University of Leeds to be referenced at international conventions and conferences as a hub for pioneering work and expertise in the fields of climate and the environment.

I have constantly referred to my general University of Leeds experience as life-changing, and I have been incredibly grateful and privileged to have been able to attain this education. This sentiment has been expressed in multiple webinars, panel discussions and events that I have presented at. I am proudly a product of my hard work, but I am also a product of the University of Leeds. The outcome, which is still developing and growing its impact, is the result of the influence of many incredible people and many other academics who played a significant role in shaping the person I am today.

I lived for 5 years in Leeds, engaged with as many activities as possible in the University of Leeds and I left fully equipped to take on the world and fight for environmental justice.”

After graduating with a Distinction – and the highest marks in his cohort – Mohamed spent two months volunteering on a project to clean areas of the Nile before taking up a post at Nahda University in Egypt to work on waste management research. “I truly cannot put into words how big a role this scholarship has played in helping me be where I am today,” he said. “My promise is to never forget the privilege I have had through my education and to make the most of every opportunity.”

Congratulations to Mohamed and all of the UK Alumni Award nominees and prize winners for their hard work and success.