Once again, the recurring theme was rallying around supporting and bolstering students and organisations as the grip of a crippling pandemic finally begins to loosen.

Overall, finalists for the awards came from 26 countries, spanning regions across the world and widening diversity, as in previous iterations.

Some highlights in the shortlist include a stellar line-up in the digital innovation of the year – technology category, which had almost 50 nominations – and now just seven finalists.

“I can’t wait to celebrate all the excellent work across the global education sector”

They include the flip-the-script style application platform Concourse from the US, which allows universities to essentially apply for the students, while Malaysia’s “two-sided” recruitment marketplace Adventus.io created allows for “seamless transactions” between institutions and agents.

Another hotly contested category, and one whose subject has been quite in the spotlight over the last year (especially at the PIE Live, both online and virtual) is the international student recruitment organisation of the year – 34 nominations were whittled down to again, just seven final entries.

Featured players in the finalists of the category include AHZ Associates, striving to recruit students in key emerging markets such as Bangladesh, and KC Overseas Education in India, which uses technology to support students through every step of the recruitment process.

The flagship PIEoneer of the Year award will be an interesting one to watch on the night, with eight finalists battling it out for the top spot – including the Presidents’ Alliance revolutionary RESPONSE Campaign for refugee sponsorship, Mauritius’ Le Wagon Africa coding bootcamp and the US’ University of the People.

Anticipation is already building for the ceremony, with finalists taking to LinkedIn to express their excitement at being nominated.

Yinbo Yu is nominated for International Alumni of the Year after graduating from UCL and working his way to becoming head of engagement and partnerships at UKCISA.

“Very honoured and humbled to be nominated… so many great nominations this year, and I can’t wait to celebrate all the excellent work across the global education sector,” he wrote in a post.

“It’s a great honour to be recognised… and to be allowed to learn more about so many amazing initiatives”

Mobility engagement manager at Coventry University, Alex Regan, took to the social media platform to share his delight at its Virtual World Tour project being nominated in the digital innovation of the year – learning category: “These awards aim to celebrate innovation and achievement in higher education.”

The judges are also ready to go, with director of communications at Chatsworth Schools, Andrew Elias, posting on LinkedIn to express his joy at being confirmed as a judge once again for the awards.

“For some reason I’ve been invited back as a judge for the one of the BIGGEST international education awards!” he wrote.

“It’s a great honour to be recognised… and to be allowed to learn more about so many amazing initiatives,” Elias continued.

The ceremony takes place at the prestigious Guildhall in London, on September 9.

The full list of finalists can be found here, and last year’s winners and can be found here.

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