Chinese comic artist wins international alumni award

Yifan Ling

A bestselling graphic artist from Beijing has come out on top in the Education UK Alumni Awards 2016, organised by the British Council.

Yifan Ling (凌一凡), who graduated from Birmingham City University in 2006, was presented with the Professional Achievement Award at a ceremony in China on the evening of Saturday 19 March.

More widely known by her pen name, Buddy, Yifan has been creating manga comics professionally for 12 years. During this time, she has published more than 20 books internationally and her online manga story ‘Guarding’ has been viewed by over 110 million people. Later this year, ‘Guarding’ will be developed into a television show and a film in China and South Korea.

School of Visual Communication

Birmingham City University

Yifan studied for her postgraduate MA at Birmingham City University's School of Visual Communication, one of the largest of its kind in the UK. During her time at the University, Yifan won the Best Recommended Award as part of the Macmillan Prize 2006 for her children's book 'Cactus'.

"My life in the UK inspired me to observe real people around me and bring them into my cartoon works, which I am still doing today."

The Education UK Alumni Awards celebrate the success of international alumni who have studied at UK universities within the last 10 years. They honour the outstanding achievements made by business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders who can demonstrate how their UK education has impacted on their subsequent success.

The Professional Achievement Award recognises alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership and achievements in their professional industry, and who can demonstrate the highest level of integrity and character in their professional career.

Over 250 guests were present in Beijing to see the Chinese winners announced on Saturday 19 March at the event which also marked the culmination of the first ever UK-China Education Policy week.

The ceremony followed months of searching, with nine finalists selected from a global pool of more than 800 applicants. Following in-depth interviews with a judging panel, the Chinese recipients were chosen for three award categories: Professional Achievement, Entrepreneurial, and Social Impact.

Carma Elliot, Minister (Culture and Education), British Embassy Beijing, and Director, British Council China, said:

"The remarkable young people we heard about tonight have taken their UK education as a starting point to excel in many fields, and to share their passion for learning with those around them.

"This year's awards ceremony was testimony to the diversity of UK alumni and the transformative impact of a UK education. These alumni are a credit to their universities and an inspiration to international students. With more than 600,000 Chinese alumni of a UK education back here in China, we have a lot to celebrate."

The UK continues to be one of the most popular countries that students from China choose to study in, with more than 250,000 Chinese nationals graduating from a UK institution since 2005.

Birmingham City University currently has 800 students from China and recent alumni from the institution now occupy senior positions in a wide range of organisations including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Jaguar Land Rover, Kimberly-Clark Professional, Lenovo, Michael Kors and Shanghai Disney Resort.

Yifan Ling's tutor at Birmingham City University, Professor of Graphic Art, Andrew Kulman said:

"Yifan came to Birmingham City University with an excellent reputation as a leading comic artist and it was great to be able to introduce her to new ways of thinking and making images. We enjoyed really fruitful conversations and the resulting work was astounding.

"This is why we do what we do – it is always great to be surprised by new directions and seeing someone reach higher. I wish Yifan well with her successes and we are all delighted that she has won this award."

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