Prestigious international award shortlists #WeAreInternational campaign for global recognition

It is a real but very welcome surprise to have been shortlisted for this international communications award, and in particular to have the support of colleagues in our sister #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign in the US.

Ruth arnold, director of public affairs

Our Director of Public Affairs, Ruth Arnold, has been shortlisted in the 9th Annual International Brand Master Awards, for the University’s #WeAreInternational campaign, aimed at highlighting the value of international students.

The #WeAreInternational campaign has been placed in the top three in the United States-based award’s annual educational campaign category.

The final shortlist of seven was decided by a committee of industry professionals, who considered examples of educational best practice from around the world, scoring nominations according to criteria relating to the impact of communications and external measures of success.

According to the judges: "Nomination for this award represents a professional recognition of which shortlisted individuals should be justly proud. We at EMG, the judging panel, and the award committee, offer our heartfelt congratulations to those selected for well-deserved recognition by peers and colleagues."

The shortlisting recognised the development of the UK-wide #WeAreInternational campaign which began as a collaboration between the University of Sheffield and its Students' Union and which grew to include support from over 100 UK universities, the National Students' Union, the CBI and British Chambers of Commerce, as well as representative bodies such as UKCISA, UUK International and the British Council. Campaign materials have been translated into multiple languages and adopted for use by the Foreign Office and UK Government GREAT campaign.

The judges noted that the #WeAreInternational hashtag was widely used on social media as an expression of internationalism within universities and to lobby for change on issues such as post-study work visas and the removal of international students from migration targets.

Responding to the award, Director of Public Affairs, Ruth Arnold, said: "It is a real but very welcome surprise to have been shortlisted for this international communications award, and in particular to have the support of colleagues in our sister #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign in the US. However, the key issue about this campaign is that its success has always depended on it being adopted by others, so they could incorporate it into their own materials and use it as their own.

"Rather than promoting an individual institution, we have worked across boundaries with enormous goodwill to communicate our values and challenge barriers. From students themselves to businesses and civic dignitaries who appreciate all international staff and students bring to their cities, to colleagues in government departments and the media, we have found friends and supporters who agreed we couldn't stay silent."

The judges placed the campaign in the top three globally, the only UK nomination to have been shortlisted for the award this year, commenting: "This nominee showed true professionalism and outstanding leadership in making the #WeAreInternational campaign accessible to all the UK's universities as they, too, suffered in a difficult political context.

“This innovative approach showed commendable vision to transcend her own institution’s goals to support a broader mission, with excellent collaboration and coalition-building at all levels. Ruth Arnold has demonstrated energy and enthusiasm in driving this through, successfully engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders. Congratulations to her and team for making a difference and helping Sheffield take a stand."