Commercial Economics student Naznin Musa wins ECHO Award 2022

7 Dec 2022 10:17 | Communication

AUAS student Naznin Musa won the ECHO Award HBO during the ECHO Awards ceremony on Tuesday 6 December. She is a role model for inclusive education.

The ECHO Award ceremony took place on 6 December at the Loyens & Loeff office building in Amsterdam-Zuid. The ECHO Award recognises the efforts and excellence of students and young professionals with a non-western background in higher education who are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion. The jury chose four winners in the following categories: STEM Award; Law & Tax Award; ECHO Award HBO; and ECHO Award WO. The award was presented by Robbert Dijkgraaf, Minister of Education, Culture and Science. The winners’ prize is a six-week summer course at UCLA in Los Angeles, all expenses paid.

About Naznin

Naznin is a fourth-year part-time Commercial Economics student. She was nominated for the award by several people including Rosa van der Zwet, Coordinator of Student Affairs platforms Limitless (the AUAS student disability platform), HvAnti (the AUAS Dutch-Caribbean student platform) and Students that Matter (the AUAS refugee student network). Rosa says:

Naznin Musa

“Naznin has developed several initiatives all aimed at motivating, inspiring or helping others, such as Youth 2 Business and a teaching programme on social entrepreneurship for young entrepreneurs. She also recently organised, on her own initiative, a very successful event to raise awareness about students' mental health."

Equal opportunities

Naznin has dedicated her time to promoting the recognition, better facilitation, information and improvement of policy for students who also juggle informal caregiving duties during their studies at the AUAS. She also promotes public discussion of invisible poverty and young people’s mental health problems.

Naznin says: ''Everyone has a lot of potential to achieve great things, but this requires stimulus and a healthy environment. How do you create a society where everyone has equal opportunities? I often think about that. I have had to create opportunities for myself and my family has supported and encouraged me in this, but not everyone has the same privilege. I want to be a catalyst for others too. We are here in the world not just for ourselves, but for each other. Making a sustainable impact starts with the recognition, facilitation, provision of information and improvement of policies at the central level''.

Support for student caregivers

Naznin and Rosa are setting up a student platform for students who are also informal carers. The key objectives of this platform are providing information, creating student networks and improving policy (informal care status).

'I am most proud of the fact that I was able to bring attention to this issue within the AUAS. Within the context of diversity and inclusion, it is crucial that these often unrecognised students receive recognition and support. With this award, I have taken this subject to a larger platform, and it is an important issue that affects the entire education landscape. My fervent wish is that this topic will also be high on the agenda of all education councils, from MBO to WO,'' says Naznin.

Naznin also organises events to facilitate discussion of mental health. Her research project "HvA x Eliminate Stress", (conducted with a fellow student) won the AUAS's Faculty of Business and Economics Innovation Award this year. In this project they will, together with the AUAS, in 2023 investigate how to use VR technology to help students who suffer from study or exam stress, aiming to improve their study success and contribute to improving their mental health.

Watch the video of the presentation of the 2022 ECHO Awards here (in Dutch).