The Global International Education Award for this year, 2020, has been received by a smart, young Indian International student, Riddi Vishwanathan; indeed a proud moment for all Indians. The UK Based Indian student leader who graduated from the University of Manchester has been awarded the Global International Education Award 2020 for her contributions towards diverse student communities, especially for her vital role in the campaign and addressing hate crime in UK Universities. Born in Puducherry, Riddi completed her preliminary schooling at St. Joseph of Cluny and pursued International Baccalaureate (IB) at Chinmaya International Residential School. In 2014, she joined the University of Manchester to study Business Studies and Economics.
In 2017, she became the first Indian International student to be elected as the Diversity Officer at the Students’ Union of the UM, the largest students’ union in the UK. She has also been elected as the Overseas Representative 2019-20 for the National Union of Students (NUS) UK. She has been the first Indian to represent over 400,000 overseas students from over 192 countries in the UK.
Riddi’s works towards addressing all students’ concerns, including international, postgraduate and different liberation groups on-campus and efforts at restructuring funding for small and cultural societies as well as bridge the cultural gap between the students in the university has gained her significant attention and appreciation from all quarters. The ‘International Student Network’ which she co-ran in her university to discuss the problems of students hailing from over 192 countries and explore their exposure to different cultures and upbringing is also a notable achievement that she has acquired at this young age.
On winning the award, Riddi Viswanathan told the Indo Asian News Service, “I am truly grateful to the University of Manchester, my students’ union, my family and friends for always encouraging me. This is a great moment for me as we celebrate international education but the challenges faced by the migrant students across the globe due to the pandemic spread has somehow faded the celebration. We can truly celebrate international education when all students, regardless of the colour of their passports, can access education equally, globally.” The ‘Pioneer Alumni of the Year’ award is among the only global awards that celebrate innovation and achievement across the international education world. This year’s awards had a total of 18 categories. As an Indian and Tamilian at heart, who misses her dosa and South Indian food, Riddi, and youngsters like her who thinks out of the box is something every Indian can aspire for.