Dr Hyab Yohannes awarded RSE Medal

Published: 3 April 2024

June Almeida Medal recognises outstanding contribution and achievement in public service and public engagement by an early career researcher

School of Education lecturer Dr Hyab Yohannes has recieved the prestigious June Almeida Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

Dr Yohannes was one of three UofG researchers awarded medals, alongside Professor Graeme Roy and Professor Marian Scott. The medals recognise outstanding contribution and achievement across all academic disciplines.

Dr Yohannes is a Lecturer and Research Associate: UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integrations through Languages and Arts. Dr Yohannes' citation recognises his academic endeavour and public engagement as a survivor of torture and trafficking amid challenges to the Refugee Convention.

As a legal expert, Dr Yohannes provides pro-bono multilingual assistance to refugees, particularly those from the Horn of Africa. Dr Yohannes offers critical and life-saving guidance, translation, interpretation, welcome and critical information to thousands of members of the diaspora in the UK and overseas through establishing effective public engagement.

Dr Hyab Yohannes said, “Thirteen years ago, in March 2011, I fled Eritrea in search of a dignified life. Alongside others, we had to rely on faith in the unknown and find hope in the seemingly impossible. Our journey would not have been possible without the incredible courage, determination, vision, and hope of colleagues in the humanitarian field, scholars, and activists worldwide. Despite these collective efforts, however, the sea, desert, and underground torture camps still bear the traces of those who lost their lives - friends, relatives, and strangers.

“Upon learning that I have been honoured with the RSE June Almeida Medal, I found myself shedding tears and reflecting on haunting memories. I am reminded of the untold stories, the lives that perished without a trace, and the lingering wounds that remain.

“This award not only recognises the countless lives lost and the suffering endured by their bodies, but also acknowledges the unheard voices and the countless lives that I have fought for and alongside, the lives I have touched and have been touched by, and the difference we have made together. I cannot adequately express my gratitude to the nominators and the RSE for this profound recognition.”

Professor Sir John Ball, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, said: "Nominated by RSE Fellows, the prestigious medals of the RSE recognise remarkable accomplishment. Working in diverse fields, this year's recipients join a distinguished cohort of trailblazers whose contributions advance our knowledge and positively impact lives worldwide. Their accomplishments underscore the depth and breadth of research talent in Scotland. I extend my warmest congratulations to all of them."

2024 RSE Medals Awards - full list

First published: 3 April 2024

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