Winners ECHO Award 2018

21 September 2018

On September 20th, the winners of the ECHO Awards 2018 were announced, a national prize for excellent talent with a non-western background in higher education. The evening celebrated the power of diversity. While recognizing the tension that the current social debate may cause, the ceremony focused on the innovation and benefits that a multicultural society produces.

During the ceremony, which was hosted by Loyens & Loeff, four students were awarded in the ECHO Award HBO (University of Applied Sciences), ECHO Award WO (Research University) and STEM Award categories. In addition, the Loyens & Loeff Law & Tax Award was presented for the first time. The winners were announced by Minister of Education, Ingrid van Engelshoven.


Winner ECHO Award hbo: Deniz Dibooglu

Deniz studied Human Resource Management at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. 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 focuses 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.

The jury report states: “The jury was touched by the artistic presentation of Deniz. With this he demonstrated how he can give meaning to social issues in an authentic and contemporary way. He knows how to use social media in an interesting manner to convey his message and does so in a way that is natural and creates connections. Deniz shows strength by taking small and concrete steps to achieve a great vision. “

Winner ECHO Award wo: Avin Ghedri

Avin studies Medicine at Utrecht University. 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.

The jury report elaborates: “The jury was impressed by the ability of Avin to turn deeply rooted anger into something positive. She is able to identify problems, to discuss this in a constructive way and then take concrete steps. A major strength that Avin shows in this is the combination of vulnerability, in which she is not afraid to share her own insecurities and dilemmas, while showing the courage to address uncomfortable topics. In addition, the jury valued Avin’s twofold approach to the issue of diversity and inclusion, with which she takes action towards both patients and physicians to contribute to inclusive thinking in the medical sector. “

Winner STEM Award: Leon Lan

Leon studies Liberal Arts & Sciences with a major in Mathematics at the Amsterdam University College. 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.

The jury reports: “Leon convinced the jury with his strong self-awareness development. The search he sketched and the balance he eventually found give his vision for an inclusive society tremendous strength. With his skills in the technical sector and vision for social issues, he manages to find a good balance between “money and meaning”, as he put it. In addition, the jury appreciated the conscious choice of Leon to draw attention to a nearly forgotten group. The combination of these factors made Leon the winner of the STEM. “

Winner Loyens & Loeff Law & Tax Award: Hasnaa Beni Driss

Hasnaa studies Private Law at the University of Amsterdam. Hasnaa has founded a study association called OVAS. This is a study association that focuses on students with an interest in corporate law. She also offered legal advice in the Bijlmer.

The jury explains: “With her lived experience and strong will, Hasnaa is the winner of the Loyens & Loeff Law & Tax Award. The jury was impressed by the amount of perseverance she has shown to develop herself from a VMBO student to a cum laude student at the university despite a difficult home situation. With her courage to be herself she shows both a vulnerability and strength. That combination gives her the necessary weight to tackle matters and contribute to change.”

The winners will attend a 6-week summer course at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in Los Angeles in the summer of 2019. The ECHO Award is made possible by the Partners of the ECHO Foundation: Loyens & Loeff, the Dutch Railways, the Municipality of The Hague, KPMG and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Click here to view the full jury report…(Please note the jury report is in Dutch).