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Medals of Honour for Shalni Arora, Duncan Craig OBE and Dharmasiri Bandaranayake

05 May 2022

President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nancy Rothwell presided over a Medal of Honour presentation and dinner which took place on Wednesday, 27 April in the Christie Bistro

Medals of Honour 2022

Shalni Arora

Shalni graduated from our University with an MA in International Development in 2010.  Prior to her postgraduate studies at Manchester, Shalni studied at the University of Cambridge, before training as an accountant at Arthur Andersen, and subsequently holding senior positions at AstraZeneca. Here, she co-founded DxS, a personalised medicine business specialising in cancer diagnostics which she spun out from AstraZeneca and then successfully exited in 2008.

Since 2011 Shalni has devoted her time to philanthropic work. She established Savannah Wisdom, a charitable foundation focusing on social change which has tackled issues ranging from corruption in the delivery of healthcare to better futures for women and girls at local community level in India and the UK. Shalni’s link to our University continues through the generous donation she has made to the South Asia Gallery at the Manchester Museum, which will open in August 2022. Shalni has been an invaluable advocate for the Gallery project, and through her networks has been vital in raising awareness of this cause. 

Dr Jane Oglesby presented Shalni's Medal of Honour.

Duncan Craig OBE

Duncan Craig graduated from our University with a Diploma in Counselling in 2008 and an MA in Counselling in 2010.

In 2005, he began training to become a qualified counsellor and embarked on a complete career change after volunteering in a busy city centre needle exchange. Whilst a student here at Manchester he worked with male and female sex workers, people affected by HIV and Hepatitis C, and with other sexual health issues, in a voluntary sector drug service on harm reduction and treatment, particularly. 

Duncan Craig has made remarkable contributions to the support of male survivors of sexual abuse, rape and sexual exploitation across Greater Manchester - and well beyond.

A survivor himself, the charity he founded - Survivors Manchester - now delivers support to over 950 men every year, and Duncan has worked with Government, the Police, the NHS and the Crown Prosecution Service, influencing the development of the UK Victim Strategy and other policies and strategies. 

He and his team have worked with soap operas such as Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and now Eastenders, on ground-breaking storylines dealing with male rape and sexual abuse.

Professor Kieron Flanagan presented Duncan's Medal of Honour.

Dharmasiri Bandaranayake 

The award-winning film and theatre director, actor and screenplay writer, has had a career so far that has spanned over five decades in Sri Lanka. Dharmasiri has spent a lifetime on creations focusing on social justice and empowerment of deprived groups. 

His artistic talents have highlighted some of the major social issues in Sri Lanka such as the exploitation of rural women and the marginalisation of the poor. 

Dharmasiri has worked on collaborative projects with two of our own academics – Professors James Thompson and Mahesh Nirmalan - in which they have utilised the power of the arts, including theatre, as a means of addressing the needs of all communities that have suffered as a result of the prolonged conflict in Sri Lanka. 

Unfortunately Dharmasiri wasn't able to attend the presentation and dinner for health reasons.

Image, from left to right: Professor Kieron Flanagan, Professor of Science and Technology Policy, AMBS, Duncan Craig OBE, Medal of Honour recipient, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, Shalni Arora, Medal of Honour recipient, Dr Jane Oglesby, member of the Global Leadership Board