UK education has produced a diverse range of inspirational alumni who have gone on to achieve global success in many disciplines, including Oscar-winning directors, Olympic gold-medallists, Nobel Prize-winners and world leaders.
Distinguished UK alumni
Aung San Suu Kyi, University of Oxford (1960s) and SOAS, University of London (1985-87)
Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the world’s most famous former political prisoners. In 2014 she was listed by Forbes magazine as the 61st most powerful woman in the world. Aung San Suu Kyi studied philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford in the late 1960s, and Burmese literature at SOAS between 1985 and 1987.
Jimmy Choo, London College of Fashion, 1986
Malaysian shoe designer Professor Jimmy Choo, OBE, has become a beloved icon in the fashion world for his handmade stylish women’s footwear. Choo completed his formal studies at the London College of Fashion in 1986.
Desmond Tutu, King's College London, 1960
South African activist and former Archbishop Desmond Tutu rose to fame in the 1980s as a vocal opponent of apartheid. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theology at King’s College London in the 1960s. He says that studying there, 'opened up a whole new world'.
Germaine Greer, University of Cambridge, 1964
Australian theorist, academic and journalist Germaine Greer is widely regarded as a major voice in feminism. Greer undertook doctoral studies on Shakespeare’s early comedies at the University of Cambridge in 1964 on a Commonwealth Scholarship.
Gael García Bernal, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, 1990
Mexican screen actor and filmmaker Gael García Bernal is perhaps best known for starring in Amores Perros and Y Tu Mamá También: two of the most popular Mexican films ever made. García Bernal rose to fame while he was studying at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, in the late 1990s.
Fela Kuti, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, 1958
Nigerian Afrobeat singer Fela Kuti is widely seen as the champion of ordinary people’s rights, and used music to relentlessly advocate for a just society. He studied music at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London in 1958.
Bill Clinton, University of Oxford, 1970
Former president of the USA Bill Clinton studied from 1968 to 1970 in the UK, as did Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
[*International graduate numbers sourced from HESA. Figures show the number of students who received a UK Higher Education qualification from 2004/5 to 2012/13.]