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School of Social Sciences PhD student wins special recognition at inaugural Cardiff University awards

28 October 2022

A photo of a woman smiling

Cardiff University’s first 30(ish) Awards celebrated the achievements of alumni who have made a positive contribution to their community before turning 30 years old.

School of Social Sciences’ PhD student Rania Vamvaka (MSc 2017, MSc 2020, PhD 2019-) was one of eight alumni to win a special recognition award.

Rania was the recipient of the Equity Activist Special Recognition Award for her work within the bisexual community in Wales alongside advocating for the rights of LGBTQ refugees and featuring on the Welsh Government’s LGBTQ Action Plan Expert panel.

Rania uses her research and her voice to highlight the experiences of marginalised groups and to change policy in Wales.

On winning the award, she said, "I gasped when they announced me as the overall winner for the equity activist category. I was surrounded by incredibly talented, hardworking and proactive alumni, and I feel humbled to have been given the award.

Two people presenting an award to another person who's holding a certificate
Rania presented with her prize at the first 30(ish) Awards.

She continued, “My research on LGBTQ refugee and asylum policy and my activist contribution to Wales and the UK is not easy.

“I face obstacles every step of the way, mainly due to intense transphobia, homophobia, and deeply rooted institutional racism.

“It takes non-stop emotional labour and years of dedication to our community.”

Rania is an out and proud bisexual woman and has spoken on, and organised countless panels surrounding the importance of queer people of colour’s rights, giving a voice to those who need it.

She is the co-chair of Glitter Cymru and the founder and chair of Glitter Sisters, the enbys and womnx branch of Glitter.

In February 2022, Rania launched the "LGBTQ+ Housing Asylum Needs Report", the very first report of its kind in the UK.

Fellow social sciences alumnus Sudhuf Khan (BScEcon 2018) was also among the 30(ish) winners.

She was recognised for overcoming barriers to education and for her commitment to pursuing a career in teaching.

After completing her degree she has gone on to become a Social Science Lecturer at Cardiff and Vale College.

A woman looks at a certificate for an award she won.

Eschewing the format of traditional ’30 Under 30’ lists, the awards were open to alumni under or over 30, or who feel 30ish.

Designed to recognise the change-makers, innovators, and rule-breakers in the Cardiff University alumni community, there was an overwhelming response, with nearly 300 nominations submitted.

Alumni from across the globe and a wide range of industries, nominated themselves, or were put forward by their fellow alumni, staff, or colleagues.

Around 70 alumni, guests and staff attended this special night, with some travelling from as far as the USA and Canada to receive their awards.

Rania concluded, “I'm passionate and wholeheartedly dedicated to social justice. For me, academia is my armour and research is my tool to fight for an equal Wales.

“A big thank you to the Cardiff Alumni team for doing an absolutely fantastic job, by putting together such an unforgettable event.”

Find out more about the winners of the 30(ish) Awards.

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