UAE-based Pakistani student in Top 10 list for $100,000 Global Student Prize

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Dubai - The youngster is the founder and CEO of the initiative Resilient Together, which has thousands of members in five countries


Saman Haziq

Published: Thu 14 Oct 2021, 10:29 AM

Last updated: Thu 14 Oct 2021, 12:14 PM

A UAE student has been named a Top 10 finalist for the Global Student Prize 2021 — a $100,000 award to be given to one exceptional student who has made a real impact on learning, the lives of his or her peers and on society beyond.

Seventeen-year-old Pakistani expatriate Lamya Butt, a student at Dubai Scholars Private School, was selected for the award from a pool of over 3,500 nominations and applications from 94 countries around the world.

Lamya is the first Teen Advisor from the UAE for the United Nations Foundation Girl Up initiative and Mena Regional Leader, where her role is to empower girls by focusing on topics like girls’ education, gender-based violence, and breast cancer awareness.

She is also the founder and CEO of the youth initiative Resilient Together, which works with international philanthropic organisations and provided ICT devices for 20,000 UAE students forced into distance learning by Covid – work that has received international coverage and attention.

Resilient Together has thousands of youth members and has expanded to establish chapters over five countries (UAE, USA, Poland, Mexico, and Pakistan), where it provides online courses on coding, debating, public speaking, photography, and other skills.

At school, Lamya represented over 1,600 students as the head girl; she also helped tutor students for Maths and Economics and founded the school’s newspaper. She also organised and managed Dubai Scholars’ largest inter-school Model United Nations with over 140 delegates from 20+ schools across the UAE.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Lamya said that winning the Global Student Prize would mean that she would be able to fund her university studies and expand Resilient Together into podcasts and video platforms.

“I intend to study law, economics or political science at university and carry on my philanthropic work to uplift others and contribute to society. My dream is to do my small part in this world to make it more equal, through knowledge sharing, upholding the values of humanity and contribute meaningfully,” she said, when asked about her future plans.

'Safeguarding tomorrow'

The Varkey Foundation launched the Global Student Prize earlier this year, a sister award to its $1 million Global Teacher Prize, to create a powerful new platform that highlights the efforts of extraordinary students everywhere who, together, are reshaping the world for the better.

The prize is open to all students who are at least 16 years old and enrolled in an academic institution or training and skills programme. Part-time students as well as students enrolled in online courses are also eligible for the prize.

Congratulating Lamya, Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said: “Congratulations to Lamya for reaching the final 10. Her story clearly highlights the importance of education in tackling the great challenges ahead – from climate change to growing inequality to global pandemics. It is only by prioritising education that we can safeguard all our tomorrows. Education is the key to facing the future with confidence.”


>> Global Teacher Prize 2020: Indian teacher wins $1 million

>> UAE: Hollywood actors join panel to pick Global Student Prize winner

>> UAE physical education teacher in $1 million global award list

Lila Thomas, head of that partnered with the Varkey Foundation to create the new Global Student Prize, said: “Lamya and all our finalists represent the courageous and hard-working students all over the world that are fighting for their future. Despite the challenges of Covid, this generation of students have shown the kind of resilience and creativity that give us all hope as we confront the towering challenges ahead. The Global Student Prize has been launched to shine a light on their stories and listen to their voices. After all, it is their dreams and their talents that will light the path to a better tomorrow.”

The winner of the Global Student Prize 2021 will be announced on November 10 via a virtual ceremony taking place at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.

More news from Education