PIEoneer Awards 2023: Outstanding Contribution to the Industry

This evening, the PIEoneer Awards 2023 take place in London and our CEO, Dr Diana Beech, is among the finalists for the Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award. In this blog, Diana sets out her thoughts on her nomination in advance of tonight’s award ceremony, as well as her reflections on what this means for London Higher and our work in the international education arena. 

How does it feel to be nominated for this award? 

I know it’s a cliché but I am genuinely humbled to be shortlisted for this award. To be in the mix alongside colleagues who I have long admired in the sector is a massive honour. Also, as a relative newcomer to the world of international education, it really means a lot to be welcomed into the #intled community with this nomination. So, I thank everyone at The PIE for recognising my work and seeing its potential to effect positive change. 

What does it mean for you and your work at London Higher to be nominated for this award? 

As an organisation, I think it’s safe to say that London Higher has been on a pretty big journey over the past few years. We’ve built an amazing team, we’ve grown our membership considerably, and we’ve developed a diverse and inclusive #LondonHE community to be proud of. We also have a lot to shout about thanks to the amazing work of our members to boost the reputation of London as a global study destination. Yet, unfortunately, it’s not always easy for us to achieve cut-through in a climate of both anti-London sentiment and skepticism about the growth of international education. So, getting this nomination is a real morale boost for me and the London Higher team. It shows our persistence is playing off, and it shows we can make a difference on behalf of our members and the wider UK higher education sector. 

What particular projects are you most proud of? 

I always say that London is as global as it is local, and I am proud that London Higher has been able to demonstrate both these sides of our capital city region through new, innovative ideas. While our interactive London Higher Civic Map was the first tool to illustrate the invaluable contributions that London’s higher education institutions are collectively making to their local communities, our International Education Strategy for London, which I co-authored with my colleague Emily Dixon, was also the first regional international education strategy in the UK. It sets out the case for developing and using ‘brand London’ for the benefit of the entire nation and it provided the impetus for work to begin on a new International Education Strategy 2.0, which is currently being undertaken by the International Higher Education Commission. The UK and its capital city are proudly international and we need them to remain so. That’s also why I’m proud that London Higher has supported the relaunch of the #WeAreInternational campaign alongside other sector partners this year, and I look forward to showcasing the London story as part of the next phase of the campaign when it launches next week. Our influence on international education is only just beginning!