A graduate from Queen Margaret University has been awarded for her work to help Edinburgh’s four-legged friends.
Gulikamaier Alifu has been crowned one of the UK’s best postgraduate tourism students of 2017 by the Association of Tourism in Higher Education for her Community Impact Project.
The graduate from China led the Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home charity project called Jog with Gobi in partnership with Dion Leonard, the author of the international bestseller Finding Gobi.
The story of Dion and Gobi the dog attracted worldwide media attention when the seasoned ultra-marathon runner took part in a gruelling 155-mile race through the Gobi Desert in China.
A stray little dog, who would later be named Gobi, joined Dion for nearly 80 miles of his race and kept pace over the Tian Shan Mountains, across massive sand dunes and through the black sands of the Gobi Desert.
Dion and Gobi are now helping rescue animals across Edinburgh and are the inspiration for Gulikamaier’s community impact project.
With the aim of creating a positive social impact in the local community, the five-month project, involving more than 100 people, raised more than £2000 for charity and had a positive economic impact of around £4000, including donations and funds raised.
All funds have been donated to the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home to aid in their work of rescuing and rehoming the stray dogs and cats in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Gulikamaier said: “I’m delighted to get this award. I’m honoured that my hard work and my dedication through the master’s programme has been recognised by one of the top tourism associations in the UK.
“This award is a huge encouragement for an international student like me. I’d like to thank all my lecturers and classmates that have helped me throughout my studies at QMU.
“As challenging as it was, my time at QMU was a journey of discovering and learning. Among all subjects, the community impact and practice project was, and still is, the most valuable lesson that I learnt and it is the highlight of my studies at QMU.”
Gulikamaier recently completed the MSc International Management and Leadership with Tourism at QMU. She is also a BA (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism Management graduate from the university.
Before arriving at QMU to complete the BA (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism Management, Gulikamaier studied for two years at the East Asia Institute of Management in Singapore, which is one of QMU’s partner institutions.
Gulikamaier also secured a £5,000 scholarship from Santander Universities to help support her studies at QMU.