PPIE Award Winner: George Obolo

by | Nov 23, 2022 | PPIE Award Winners, PPIE Celebration | 0 comments

In this blog series we will be featuring our award winners and highly commended recipients from the Faculty’s ‘Outstanding Contribution to PPIE’ awards 2022. Showcasing the inspirational and outstanding commitment to PPIE that has made a positive difference to our community and highlighting the amazing events, activities, people and groups from across the Faculty.

Our next blog in this series will feature George Obolo, a medical student who co-founded the Black Excellence Network, a non-profit organisation that challenges racial disparities in higher education and supports the development of black university students nationwide. George won the Individual: Student category for the 2022 awards.

After experiencing first-hand the hurdles for black people entering higher education and further ignited by issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing battle for racial equality, George co-founded the Black Excellence Network (BEN) in August the same year.

BEN meets student needs by providing consultancy, mentorship and community engagement to black students across sixth forms and universities in the UK. In just two years, BEN has accumulated over 1000 members, a clear testament to its success.

BEN’s Mentorship scheme pairs Year 13 students with current undergraduates, who will provide guidance on UCAS applications and aid personal and professional development throughout the academic year. So far the mentorship scheme has proved hugely successful, with 89% of mentees gaining entry to Russel Group Universities including Oxbridge.

Their consultancy service provides BEN members with access to advice and support for a range of subjects and professions. Members are able to speak to students and professionals in their areas of interest, supporting their development into graduate roles and beyond. The service currently has an 100% overall satisfaction rate.

Representing BEN, George has been involved in a range of initiatives. In March he spoke at the University’s International Women’s Day event. At the request of Faculty leaders, he has also contributed to and consulted on the Racial Discrimination Task & Group report and a new book which aims to highlight and promote recognition of the contributions black people have made to society. In May 2022 he sat on the panel at the Black Students Collective event.

Recognising his outstanding leadership, George was awarded fifth in Powerlist Magazine’s List of Future Leaders in 2021.

With BEN, George aims to expand the ever-growing list of academic institutions and government bodies to establish a sustainable pathway to support black students through their educational and professional goals.

In October 2022, George spoke at a sold-out TEDx event, discussing how we can make real change by moving from being commentators to change-makers. Watch George’s insightful talk here.

Find out more:

Follow the Black Excellence Network on Social media:

Follow George Obolo on Twitter:


To find out more about PPIE: watch our short film, sign up to the monthly Public Engagement Digest, visit the PPIE blog, or contact srbmh@manchester.ac.uk.

To read more about other PPIE Award winners visit here