Karma Nabulsi is the winner of the Inspiring Leader Award, sponsored by HSBC, in the Guardian University Awards 2017.

The Fellow in Politics at St Edmund Hall, who researches and publishes on the political history of revolutions and social movements in the 19th century, and Palestinian representation, especially Palestinian refugees, was previously awarded the Special Recognition Award in the OUSU 2016 Teaching Awards.

She is the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and Public Relations, as well as being a University and College Union Equality Officer and a member of the staff BME network.

Most recently, she directed the The Palestinian Revolution, an Arabic-English digital teaching and research resource sponsored by the British Academy.

The project provides an open access 12-week course and resources in anti-colonial history, exploring Palestinian revolutionary thought and practice in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, which includes original documents of the period, and oral history interviews with activists. The project was developed over six years with scholars and universities across the global south, including South Africa, Palestine and Cuba.

Commenting on the award, Nabulsi said:  “What is so fantastic is that, after being nominated by judges from the Higher Education sector, this award was chosen through a public vote… this is such lovely encouragement!”

She told Cherwell: “This ‘Inspiring Leader’ award really belongs to those students at Oxford and across the UK who campaign daily on the important issues of equality, decolonising our curriculum, and protecting our universities’ freedoms, which are increasingly under attack. So it is congratulations to all of them: it is they who constantly inspire me with their courage, imagination, and hard work.”

The awards, which aim to celebrate teaching excellence at universities, were presented by Lauren Laverne in an awards ceremony on Wednesday night.

Of Nabulsi, the Guardian judges said: “Without her patience, dedication and commitment, the experiences of numerous students at Oxford and elsewhere would have been immeasurably poorer. She avoids all self-celebration, but it is hard to imagine a more worthy recipient.”

The Guardian Universities Editor, Judy Friedberg, called the awards the “untef”, in relation to the government’s teaching excellence framework (Tef) , which, when released later in the spring, will allocate universities gold, silver and bronze ratings.

Friedberg expressed hopes that the Guardian University Awards will function as an alternative to the way that the government pits universities against each other, claiming: “We don’t judge all universities by the same clunky metrics. We look for examples of brilliance in all types of universities—and then we trumpet those successes to Guardian readers around the world.”

Photo credit: The Guardian/Alicia Canter

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