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30 (ish) Awards recognise law students in annual celebration

10 October 2023

Cynthia Lee (LLB 2015, PgDip 2017) / Laila Rashid (LLB 2009) / Eleanor Humphrey (LLB 2014)
Cynthia Lee (LLB 2015, PgDip 2017) / Laila Rashid (LLB 2009) / Eleanor Humphrey (LLB 2014)

Three socially conscious former law students have been recognised at this year’s alumni community celebration – the 30 (ish) Awards.

Cynthia Lee (LLB 2015, PgDip 2017), Laila Rashid (LLB 2009) and Eleanor Humphrey (LLB 2014) were all named at this year’s 30(ish) Awards which are designed to showcase the many change-makers, innovators, and rule-breakers within the Cardiff University alumni community. This year’s celebration took place on 5 October 2023 and was hosted by the university’s new President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Wendy Larner who joined the institution in September 2023.

A law degree may seem like the obvious route to becoming a lawyer or barrister but many of our alumni utilise their skills and experience in a myriad of ways post university, working beyond the legal sector or in addition to it.

Highlighting the diversity of career paths that law students often progress to, this year’s winners from our school show drive, kindness and an awareness of issues that affect us all:

Cynthia Lee – recognised in the Social Impact category

Cynthia juggles life as a practising lawyer, PhD candidate, graduate research assistant and member of the Malaysia Bar Council Women's Rights Committee (WRC). As a passionate human rights activist, she led several projects under WRC to empower women and help those affected by injustices.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Cynthia and her team worked tirelessly under the WRC #KitajagaKita Initiative to aid vulnerable women and families across the nation. Through hard work and commitment, the Initiative raised over RM45,000.00 in 6 months.

In 2022, she led her team under the WRC #PeriodPower campaign to raise awareness of period stigma in marginalised communities in Malaysia.

Cynthia also played a role within the WRC to lobby for the enactment of sexual harassment laws and anti-trafficking laws in Malaysia. She and her team are currently working on the criminalisation of marital rape in Malaysia.

Laila Rashid – recognised in the Social Impact category

Laila was born in Saudi Arabia and from a young age learned to question the injustices evident in society around her.

Despite the challenges she faced, she experienced first-hand that the empowerment of women and girls has a powerful impact on social, political, and economic conditions globally. Alongside her demanding legal practice, Laila’s passion for women’s equality has led her to countless volunteer initiatives, focused on the advancement of women’s rights in the Middle East, Central Asia, and globally.

Most notably, Laila serves as the Board Chair of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan), a humanitarian and human rights organisation empowering Afghan women and girls through equitable and quality education. Under Laila’s Board leadership, the organisation continues to operate and deliver critical programming to make the right to learn a reality, despite the near total ban on girls’ education in Afghanistan.

Eleanor Humphrey – recognised in the Environmental Activist category

Eleanor founded TOPL in 2021 to prove that a world without single-use cups could exist.

Disposable cups can't be recycled easily – they include a plastic lining on the inside to make them watertight, so only specialist plants can recycle them - meaning most end up in landfill.

TOPL is now working with coffee chains all over the world to remove disposable cups from their ecosystems with their game changing IoT Connected Coffee cups.

Their mission is to transform the coffee industry by providing smart, reusable alternatives - having developed an internationally patented coffee cup (listed by the FT & GQ as a top coffee gadget) with embedded technology to track activity and reward reuse.

Countries around the world are now taxing disposable cups, exposing a vast global market to reusables with 2.25 billion cups of coffee drunk on-the-go every day. TOPL are selling in 50+ countries worldwide and the team is only just getting started as ‘latte levies’ continue to be introduced. TOPL and their tech-enabled cups are well positioned to take advantage of this global shift from single-use to reuse.

Mared Parry and Bleddyn Harris were named 2023 People’s Choice winners, following a live vote.

23 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences alumni featured among the glittering list of winners, highlighting the range of options available to humanities graduates.

Congratulations to all the inspirational alumni recognised in this year’s 30Ish Alumni Awards list.

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