University of Wales makes an impact at IWA Awards

Posted on 16 June 2010
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Angela Gorman and Nigel Palastanga at the Inspire Wales Awards 2010

Talented Welshmen and women came together at City Hall, Cardiff last night, (June 15), to celebrate their achievements at the Inspire Wales Awards, organised by the Institute of Welsh Affairs, Wales’s leading think-tank.

The awards rewarded those in the fields of business, education, science, arts and media, the environment and sport, as well as seeking champions in citizenship and young achievers with entries from the Welsh public, private and voluntary sectors.

The University of Wales was delighted to participate in this year’s event by sponsoring the ‘Global Wales’ award category. This award aimed to recognise an individual’s outstanding contribution to the promotion of a positive profile for Wales, in any field, in the rest of the world.

Three women reached the shortlist which were selected by a panel of three judges, which included Alwena Morgan, the University of Wales's Director of Corporate Services. The Global Wales finalists were Elin Haf Davies, Ena Niedergang and Angela Gorman, who have all made a significant difference to many lives in Wales and across the world.

Having rowed 5,691 miles across the Atlantic and Indian oceans, Elin Haf Davies has literally taken the Welsh flag worldwide. In February 2008 she landed in Antigua to become the first Welsh woman to row across the Atlantic. As a result of which, apart from writing her name in the record books, Elin also raised the staggering total of more than £190,000 for charity. And just 14 months later she was back in a boat to take on the Indian Ocean from which she has so far raised £20,000.

The global impact of Elin's fundraising efforts has seen women and children in Wales throughout the world benefit from the research projects her endeavours have funded. She is now planning her next charitable adventure and is currently in discussion with the World Health Organisation to lead a global project called 360 Swim Cycle Sail which will raise awareness and money for charity.

The second finalist, Ena Niedergang, has been pivotal in linking and promoting Wales with China in a variety of capacities for more than 25 years. Her latest project, ULearnChinese, a new approach to teaching Chinese language, history and culture, has been praised throughout the world. Such is the interest garnered in the project that it recently featured in a world conference in Beijing and discussions are underway to deliver it throughout Europe and the rest of the English speaking world. Ena also promotes cultural and educational links between Wales and China via the Wales-China Friendship Society.

But the winner of the University of Wales Global Wales Award was Angela Gorman who greatly impressed the judging panel with her tireless committment to charitable works which have made a huge impact worldwide.  As chair and founder of the charity, Hope for Grace Kodindo, Angela promotes Wales as an outward looking nation dedicated to improving the attitude of global citizenship, the ethos of the Global Wales prize and also of the University of Wales itself. 

Angela founded the charity after viewing a BBC Panorama episode in 2005 called 'Dead Mums Don’t Cry.' The episode shadowed obstetrician, Dr Grace Kodindo, at work in The Hôpital Général de Référence in N’Djamena in Chad where the risk of childbirth-related death at the hospital was one in 11 compared to the UK risk of one in 8,200.

Angela, a paediatric nurse at the Heath Hospital, Cardiff for 35 years, felt that she had to do something to help and founded the charity which supplies medication for desperately ill mothers and babies in third world countries. The medications themselves are Magnesium Sulphate and Misoprostol, both of which are virtually non existant in Sub Saharan Africa, but only cost 45p per person.  

As a direct result of Angela's efforts, deaths from eclampsia soon fell from 14% to 2.3% and newborn deaths fell from 23% to 7.3% in Chad. Having heard of the charity's success, the United Nations Population Fund contacted Angela and asked her to extend the charity's support to Northern Nigeria, Somaliland,  Uganda, Liberia and Sierra Leone. 

Angela was delighted to receive her award, presented to her by the University of Wales's Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Nigel Palastanga:

"It's fantastic to receive this award, not only for me personally, but because I hope it will also raise the profile of the charity. Our work is still very much ongoing -we've estimated that we've saved 30,000 lives but hope to save many more women and children worldwide."

Professor Marc Clement, Vice-Chancellor for the University of Wales added:

"We are delighted to be supporting the IWA’s 2010 Awards Ceremony. Wales’s global activities on the world stage are very important to us as we believe strongly in taking the best of Wales to the world and bringing the best of the world to Wales.”

To view our interview with Angela Gorman at the Awards Ceremony please visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzifpz3OfBU

/Ends

To learn more about the University of Wales please visit: www.wales.ac.uk/

To learn more about Hope for Grace Kodindo: http://www.hopeforgracekodindo.org/

To learn more about the IWA, please visit:  www.iwa.org.uk

For press and media information, please contact Tom Barrett, University of Wales Communications Officer: t.barrett@wales.ac.uk or phone: 07925 528 902.

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