Honorary Degree for Heriot-Watt alumnus



sam abrahams alumni

Sam Abrahams, an alumnus of the University that supported the creation of First Aid Africa, received his degree in November 2021 in recognition of his personal contribution as a social entrepreneur dedicated to improving and saving the lives of others across our global communities.

At a ceremony held in Dubai, Mr Abrahams was presented with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University by Professor Richard A. Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor for Heriot-Watt University.

He studied Marine Biology at Heriot-Watt and driven by his recognition that the need for basic emergency care amongst the population could save millions of lives, Sam set out in developing a social enterprise.

The work started as a student society in the Student Union and developed with support from students and from the University, using from donations from Watt Club Annual Alumni Fund, to become a major charitable undertaking.

Mr Abrahams is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of First Aid Africa which for over ten years has been a pioneering and a leading provider of emergency healthcare education.

First Aid Africa is a humanitarian organisation that works in rural parts of Southern and Eastern Africa to provide sustainable medical equipment and education in first aid. 

The organisation was founded on the fact that a small amount of medical knowledge and equipment can make a difference to the outcome of a person's life as a result of a local accident or incident.

Sam's personal achievements and care for inequalities in low and middle income countries also has ongoing connections in Scotland where has supported social enterprises such as The Ampersand Project, which focused on improving the mental wellbeing of young adults.  For Sam, mental health is as important as physical health and his team in Zambia recently created the country's first online Psychological First Aid course.

During the last ten years working with organisations across the world, and with a special focus on Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, Sam has developed networks of trainers who have instructed more than 60,000 people to be able to deliver basic emergency medical care.

His work continues as an active first aid trainer, supporting specialist anti-poaching units, embassies, and remote communities across Africa.

As well as graduations taken place in Dubai, a total of 12 graduation ceremonies were held at the University's Edinburgh Campus between Saturday, December 4 and Friday, December 10 marking the academic achievement of students from the School of Social Sciences, the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society, the School of Textiles & Design, and the School of Mathematical & Computer Sciences.

This year's ceremonies come as the University celebrates its 200th anniversary of its founding in Scotland. To celebrate this milestone there is an extensive programme of events and debates planned across Heriot-Watt's campuses, and online, offering something for everyone to take part in and enjoy.

For more information on our bicentennial celebrations visit - https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/about/history/bicentennial.htm