A 2007 United World College-USA alumnus known for his leadership in academic research who was tortured to death has been memorialized with an annual alumni award in his name.
The Giulio Regeni Alumni Impact Award will be given annually to a UWC-USA graduate who has made substantial contributions in the local, national, or global community, and whose accomplishments, affiliations and professional career honor the UWC mission. Recipients will be chosen by their fellow alumni.
"This award is an annual reminder to our alumni of the enduring value of their two-year experience at UWC-USA, and of their power to make a difference through the same kind of commitment and humanity demonstrated by Regeni," said Jose-Pablo Sala Rojas, associate director of alumni relations at UWC-USA.
The 28-year-old Italian doctoral student at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom was conducting research on the formation of independent trade unions, specifically the street vendors' union in Egypt after the fall of its former president Hosni Mubarak, and democratic institutional development.
Regeni was in Cairo when he disappeared on January 25, 2016, the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution. His tortured body was found nine days later in a ditch near the Cairo-Alexandria Highway.
There has been an unprecedented rise in enforced disappearances and torture since early 2015 in Egypt. The abduction, torture, and murder of Regeni has raised suspicion that he died while being detained by Egyptian state agents. The Egyptian authorities deny this, but their accounts of the circumstances of Regeni's death have been met with wide skepticism, not least from the victim's family and the Italian government.
The killing of Regeni and suspicion about state involvement caused a serious diplomatic rift between Italy and Egypt, and led the European Parliament to adopt a strongly worded resolution in March on his case and enforced disappearances in Egypt.
The 2017 award will be presented to 1987 UWC-USA graduate Bhushan Tuladhar of Nepal during the 10:30 a.m. May 20, 2017 graduation.
Giulio's legacy is forever memorialized with this award, Salas Rojas said.