Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences


Diana's story: Aziz Foundation scholar

Meet Diana, one of our Aziz Foundation scholars. Find out more about her journey to UCL, her experience of applying to the scholarship and the opportunity it has given her.

Tell us a bit about yourself 

Diana Hysenaj

As an activist and campaigner working with communities to drive change, I believe the Human Rights MA will inevitably support me in continuing my advocacy work and strengthening my understanding of Human Rights. Leading the Fair Energy Campaign, I am working to tackle fuel poverty and the increasing costs of living crisis through coordinated community action and the development of our three strands: emergency, education, and policy. As a campaigner for Two Billion Strong, I hope to utilise my studies to deepen my knowledge of climate change, furthering my work on climate injustice and the need for more Muslim voices in the climate movement. Furthermore, as an activist for the ONE Campaign, a global campaign to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, I am engaged in global health initiatives by working on international campaigns, raising awareness, and lobbying political leaders. Through developing my understanding of human rights violations, the law and policy, I hope to use these insights into my ongoing work in addition to my continued advocacy for Amnesty International, engaging with human rights cases in Egypt.

Tell us about your experience of applying for the Aziz Foundation scholarship

The Aziz Foundation application process was an organised process, providing me with the opportunity to showcase my work and future ambitions to the best of my ability. The interview process with the Aziz Team was notably engaging and enjoyable, providing me with the platform to discuss my work and articulate how the scholarship will support me in my future endeavors. Following the application process and being awarded the scholarship, I do feel supported within the Aziz network, and aspire to support the next cohort of fellows in their application process.

What opportunities has it given you?

I have had the opportunity of pursuing a masters this academic year at UCL without financial constraints, allowing me to focus on developing expertise in a subject that I am passionate about, Human Rights. Alongside this, the foundation has connected me with an inspiring community of fellow Aziz leaders who are, similarly, working to create change in their communities.
What attracted you to UCL?

During my undergraduate studies I engaged with UCL through working with the UCL Institute of Global Prosperity to co-design and develop project FUSE. This initiative focused on developing solutions to tackle youth unemployment, specifically responding to the complex challenges young people in East London face. Collaborating with others, we worked to create a meaningful service to be implemented in the Good Growth Hub. I also co-authored a report paper with the UCL IGP and Hackney Quest on the issue to give a deeper insight into the aspirations young people face and how organisations, communities and individuals can work together to provide meaningful services, support, and employment for young people. I was also a key speaker for various UCL conferences/events and a judge for the Beacon Bursaries which funded 11 projects across UCL working with communities. My experience working with UCL strengthened my interest in undertaking a master’s degree at UCL and I was able to directly engage with Professors, discussing courses that I was interested in pursuing in depth.
What aspects of your studies do/did you enjoy the most?

I have enjoyed examining the practical elements of doing human rights work. Moreover, in my international law and human rights module, I have found it important to examine the legal obligations states hold and how international laws are being violated around the world including in Syria, Palestine, and Sudan. Additionally, I have enjoyed critically engaging with the philosophical, legal and policy issues of Human Rights through the curriculum.

What advice would you give prospective students coming to UCL?

My advice would be to choose a course that you are passionate and interested in because this experience will allow you to further your knowledge and develop your skillset for your future aspirations.

What are your future ambitions and how do you think that being a UCL student will help you get there? 

I hope to continue my activism, drive change and work on policy. I also aspire to work with communities and to utilise the knowledge I have gained as a UCL student to further my work. I believe that the developmental opportunities and range of module choices will strengthen my understanding of the key debates in international law and policy needed to understand human rights and its violations.
Describe your time at UCL in three words

Reflective, challenging, and insightful

About the Aziz Foundation 

The Aziz Foundation was established in 2015 by the Aziz family with the objectives of reducing inequality in education and addressing the social challenges faced by British Muslims. The foundation provides financial and professional support to aid career advancement and empowers recipients to bring positive change to their communities, industry and society as a whole. 

Find out more about scholarships and funding at UCL