Finalists ECHO Award 2018

26 July 2018

Get to know the 13 finalists of the ECHO Award 2018!

ECHO Award HBO (University of Applied Sciences)

Yunus Emre Cicek
Student Ecological Pedagogy at the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences


Yunus Emre works as a member of the diversity workgroup at the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences on more diversity and inclusion within the institution. He is also the president of the national student platform Stip, which offers advice, support and guidance to students during their studies. In addition, Yunus Emre has had several coordinating positions within student organizations that offer support to students during their studies to prevent early drop out and to help them succeed. Yunus Emre has also contributed to the execution of the action plan from the workgroup Radicalization and Polarization of the municipality of Utrecht, and he supports refugees with their integration and participation within our society.

Yunus: “By winning the ECHO Award I want to show to all students with a non-western background that the things they do besides their studies matter! I would like to share the appreciation and recognition that I would get from winning this award – for all activities I had an humble contribution to – with all those people that are committed to making this society better on a daily basis!”

Deniz Dibooglu
Student Human Resource Management at The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Deniz Dibooglu

Deniz does several things to contribute to the multicultural society. He supports students with a migration background in finding an internship. As a mentor he also supports students to obtain all study credits from their first year. Besides that he contributes to Me & Society, a foundation that focusses on increasing participation from certain groups within society. At the moment Deniz is very active on social media with his initiative CareVlogs. On social media he has many followers from different backgrounds. He started CareVlogs to fight the negative stereotype of non-western vloggers. By doing this he tries to be an example for (non-western) youth.

Deniz: “I will use the ECHO Award to increase my impact in the transition to a more inclusive society.”

Naomie Pieter
Student School for New Dance Development/Choreography at the Amsterdam University of the Arts

Naomie Pieter

As an information officer at the COC Naomie provides education at schools about sexual diversity. She is also the founder of the ‘No Hate Speech Movement’ and of ‘Black Queer & Trans Resistance NL’. These are initiatives that focus on fighting hate speech online and on social actions in the Netherlands. Naomi is also the initiator of Pride of Color Amsterdam. This is the first bicultural commission within the Amsterdam Pride which focusses on the empowerment of bicultural LGBTI+. She organized Pon De Pride as well, which offers a safe space for black and LGBTI+ of color to enjoy dancehall music. At the moment she is working on setting up Black Queer Archive, so that the Netherlands has it’s own black Queer Archive to highlight and add stories that were missing.

Naomie: “When you educate a woman you educate a nation. Winning the ECHO Award is not something I do only for myself, but for the community that I come from and represent. The Award will represent all the hopes and dreams of my community and me. Working hard pays off. Winning is also an acknowledgement that sky not the limit, no matter from which education point you started. I started from the bottom and now I’m here.”

ECHO Award WO (Research University)

Soraya Bousaid
Student Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University College Tilburg

Soraya Bousaid

Through the project ‘Live together, eat together’ Soraya committed herself to fight loneliness among elderly. She also participates in a project about cultural sensitivity in the workplace and she helps high school students with a non-western background to overcome deficiencies.

Soraya: “Winning the ECHO Award 2018 enables me to increase awareness within the business community how to benefit from broadening operational and marketing strategies toward foreign markets including foreign employees and knowledge about their cultures.”

Avin Ghedri
Student Medicine at Utrecht University

Avin Ghedri

As a member of the workgroup Diversity & Inclusion at the UMC Avin has helped to represent the student voice. She also organized a play day for kids in an asylum centre and she gives ‘peace test’ classes on high schools about the Middle East.

Avin: “Winning the ECHO Award would be the cherry on the cake for all the activities I undertook to create consciousness about asylum seekers (children) and the problems in the Middle East. It will give me a bigger base to do this, and through this all create a society in which everybody knows that despite our backgrounds we are all the same: a human being.”

Sara Kapika
Student Neurosciences and Philosophy of Neuroscience at the VU University Amsterdam

Sara Kapika

During her study Sara organized activities in a community home in Amsterdam-West through the foundation VoorUit, to increase social cohesion in the neighborhood. She is also co-founder of the ‘I am..’ project, in which she organized activities for the youth in a community home. At the moment Sara is doing brain research about education interventions that focus on decreasing social economic differences in the fields of math and science.

Sara: “The ECHO Award enables me, from my personal background, to stimulate living together in one united whole. Because however we differ in terms of background, living conditions, education and profession, we are equal in our unity.”

Zohara Mahmoud
Student Cultural Anthropology and Law at the University of Amsterdam

Zohara Mahmoud

Zohara offers free homework support to high school students with a non-western background to help them with their school work. She also offers language support to newcomers, which she also did for free.

Zohara: “Winning the ECHO Award will enable me to have more impact, on the basis of my personal story and the different projects I have participated in.”

Sadaf Soloukey Tbalvandany
Student Medicine, Philosophy, HEPL & Neuroscience at the Erasmus University Rotterdam

Sadaf Soloukey Tbalvandany

Sadaf has helped to shape the diversity policy for the Erasmus University Rotterdam and also teaches at the Mini Medical School. As founder and president of a study association that focusses on students that are interested in surgery she tried to denounce social-cultural stigma’s like discrimination.

Sadaf: “As a medical student from Rotterdam and as a PhD student I have tried on a national and international level to promote tolerance and versatility in academia, the clinic, but also in the public debate. With the ECHO Award I want to carry out this Rotterdam sound to a bigger audience.”

STEM Award

Moska Hellamand
Student Drug Innovation at Utrecht University

Moska Hellamand

Moska is politically active for the Labour Party and by doing this she tries to bring about societal changes. She is also doing research to make medicines more accessible.

Moska: “I want to win the ECHO Award 2018 because I see it as a personal goal to draw attention on societal impact in scientific research.”

Leon Lan
Student Liberal Arts & Sciences with a major in Mathematics at the Amsterdam University College

Leon Lan

As a mentor for Stichting Diversity Leon contributes by giving homework support to high school students with a migration background on weekends. He also thought along in the 16/17 academic year to improve diversity within Amsterdam University College.

Leon: “By winning the ECHO award I want to stimulate Chinese-Dutch youngsters to participate in the societal debate about diversity and inclusion.”

Loyens & Loeff Law & Tax Award

Tony Barshini
Student Law at Utrecht University

Tony Barshini

Tony teaches basic language classes to refugees on a voluntary basis to help them to participate in Dutch society. He also teaches refugees about the constitution and he is a legal advisor at the Rechtswinkel.

Tony: “As the law practitioner of tomorrow I want to contribute to a fair and honest society.”

Hasnaa Beni Driss
Student Private Law at the University of Amsterdam

Hasnaa Beni Driss

Hasnaa has founded a study association called OVAS. This is a study association that focusses on students with an interest in corporate law. She also offered legal advice in the Bijlmer.

Hasnaa: “It was a long road to get where I am, this award encourages me to take the next steps to undertake and to contribute to a more inclusive society.”

Ramoe Jagesar
Student Financial Economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam

Ramoe Jagesar

As a projectmanager at Charity Commissie EFR Ramoe motivates kids from underprivileged neighborhoods in Rotterdam to get the most out of education and to find their way to the university. He also helps every year at the PAP-week, a summer program that contributes to developing relevant skills to new students.

Ramoe: “Winning the ECHO Award would bring me closer to my ambition of working towards more fair and inclusive education. This is of importance because when talent is not recognized, it will be lost…”