Celebrating 50 years of support for international students


The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) celebrated five decades of work for international students at an event in Parliament last night (14 November 2018).

Guests at the parliamentary occasion included founding members of the student support organisation, past presidents and chairs, friends and allies from across higher education, and international students themselves.

Speaking of the profound contribution that the mobility of ideas and talent makes to universities and to international understanding, UKCISA Chair Professor Koen Lamberts, who is President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said UKCISA was “not just an organisation but a movement” and one to which he was personally committed.

Professor Lamberts also paid tribute to UKCISA staff who work closely with students and universities to offer advice in a complex and changing context, describing his deep pride in the UK’s international universities and the positive impact of international students in communities across the UK.

Koen LambertsThe audience also heard from the Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Students (APPG), Paul Blomfield MP, who praised the profound social and economic impact of international students on his own city of Sheffield – but also in parliamentary constituencies across the UK.

He explained how many postgraduate courses and facilities - especially in Science and Engineering - were only viable because of the presence of students from across the world.

Speaking also as a shadow minister for Brexit, the MP also described the need to create opportunities for mutual understanding and solving problems together which were increasingly challenged in the UK but also many other parts of the world.

The celebration event speeches were concluded by Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of UKCISA and founder of Cobra Beer, who noted the profound changes in British life since 1968 when UKCISA was founded.

At that time there was not a single member of an ethnic minority in either House of Parliament. Today, he said he believed the UK was a more open place – but the country cannot afford to be complacent. He added that international students had choices about where to study, and policy changes were needed on key issues such as post-study work.

Speeches at the event also referenced the report of the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Students – co-chaired by Lord Bilimoria and Paul Blomfield MP – which was recently written and published with the support of the University of Sheffield.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Hannah Postles
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046