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AOD Graduate Poornima Meegammana Earns Esteemed Social Action Award at UK Alumni Awards Sri Lanka 2023-24

Friday, 8th of March 2024

“My education has been instrumental in shaping my drive to make a difference. This is a recognition of the impact we can make together. A heartfelt thank you to AOD and my UK alma maters for their invaluable guidance!” - Poornima Meegammana

Poornima Meegammana, an outstandingly talented alumna of AOD, has been honoured with the prestigious Social Action Award at the UK Alumni Awards 2023-24. This recognises her remarkable work as a designer catalysing social change through her creativity and also highlights the pivotal role that AOD played in shaping her journey during both her BA and MA studies. Meegammana’s success is a testament to the role played by AOD in shaping her into the accomplished young designer that she is today. Recognising AOD’s pivotal role, Poornima acknowledges how the institute fostered her innate desire to make a difference through design. Her success stands as a testament to the significance of educators who attentively nurture individual aspirations, identify unique talents, and empower students to transform their dreams into tangible realities.

Poornima Meegammana, the visionary behind Nextgen Girls in Technology (Nextgen), has been recognised for her outstanding contributions. Named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2022, she has devoted the last decade to promoting technology education for girls, earning global accolades such as the UNESCO Prize and ITU WSIS Prizes. Honoured as Sri Lanka’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year, she leads the Nextgen Skills programme at the Shilpa Sayura Foundation, impacting over 2000 university students and 1000 school students. In her statement upon winning the Social Action Award at the UK Alumni Awards Sri Lanka 2024, Poornima expressed her gratitude, attributing her success to the transformative education and experiences she received at AOD, following Northumbria University and De Montfort University curricula. She credited the excellence and innovation of the UK education system for empowering her to drive change and create a meaningful societal impact.

“This accolade is a reflection of the extent education and experiences I received at Northumbria University, De Montfort University, and AOD. The UK education system, known for its excellence and innovation, has empowered me to drive change and make a meaningful impact in our society. A heartfelt thank you to my alma maters for their invaluable guidance and to everyone who supported me on this journey. Together, let’s continue to inspire and contribute to a brighter future.” – Poornima Meegammana, AOD alum and Founder of Nextgen Girls in Technology (Nextgen), winner of Social Action Award at the UK Alumni Awards 2023-24

The Study UK Alumni Awards honor the remarkable accomplishments of alumni, underscoring the profound impact of UK higher education. Recognising individuals who have leveraged their UK university experience to effect positive change, award winners and finalists emerge as trailblazers in their respective domains, enriching their communities, industries, and nations. With categories spanning Science and Sustainability, Culture and Creativity, Social Action, and Business and Innovation, the awards acknowledge alumni who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to fostering social progress and enhancing the well-being of others.

The Social Action Award which AOD alum Poornima won this year specifically acknowledges alumni who have exhibited outstanding commitment to driving positive social change and uplifting lives. This encompasses a wide range of endeavors, including but not limited to efforts aimed at reducing inequality, poverty, and hunger, advancing education and skill development, and promoting peace and justice initiatives. This milestone achievement by AOD alumnus Poornima serves as a testament to the unparalleled caliber of education provided by AOD’s BA and MA programmes, showcasing the institute’s commitment to nurturing exceptional talent tailored to meet the evolving demands of contemporary society. Poornima Meegammana’s recognition underscores the efficacy of AOD’s educational approach in fostering students who are not only academically proficient but also socially conscious and impactful in their endeavors. Moreover, it underscores the credibility and prestige associated with the UK education facilitated by AOD through its partnerships with esteemed institutions like Northumbria University and De Montfort University. By offering world-class UK education locally, AOD has made high-quality education accessible to aspiring students across South Asia, empowering them to realise their aspirations and leverage their creativity to effect positive change on a global scale. AOD founder and trailblasing entrepreneur Linda Speldewinde commented on Poornima’s achievement explaining how this is an outcome of AOD establishing close, individual connections with each student, valuing their unique aspirations and dreams.

“Every AOD student is inspired from day one at AOD to dream and have a distinct vision that they are guided to keep alive and keep refining throughout their time at AOD. We support and mentor each milestone along the journey. Poornima is an exceptional student who always dreamt big and had the courage. AOD mentors, and sees its role beyond education and a role to nurture these dreams by fostering an environment where they can flourish and make meaningful contributions to society.. Congratulations to Poornima; she completed all her studies in Sri Lanka with AOD, gaining UK qualifications, and her thinking has always been at a global scale. She is an example of how education is about cultivating your dreams with the right mentorship and education can help you do this”

Linda Speldewinde, Founder & Chairperson, AOD

Poornima Meegammana is part of a generation of AOD designers whose work has greater social and cultural significance. Through initiatives like Nextgen Girls in Technology and various other endeavors that empower local crafts with cutting-edge design, and incorporate sustainable materials and technologies into everyday products, AOD alumni continue to make significant contributions towards reducing inequality, promoting education, and fostering peace and justice in society. As Linda Speldewinde aptly emphasised, educators have a crucial role in nurturing their students’ innate desire to make a positive difference in the world.

AOD has been steadfast in this mission for over a decade, empowering its students to leverage their education and creativity to effect meaningful change. With this legacy of excellence and a track record of producing impactful changemakers, AOD ongoing enrollments for its BA and MA programmes are an opportunity for aspiring creatives to start their own journey at AOD; where they will receive world-class instruction, personalised mentorship, and unparalleled opportunities for growth and innovation.

For more information, please contact Aod on 0775727772, email [email protected] or walk in between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday – Colombo Innovation Tower, No 477, R A De Mel Mawatha, Colombo 04. www.aod.lk

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