Pharmacy student Dalal Ghanim wins UAF Audience Award

Pharmacy student Dalal Ghanim from Utrecht has won the UAF Audience Award. The Audience Award symbolises the competences and perseverance of refugees who build new futures here. On 5 October, Foundation for Refugee Students UAF announced that musicians Karoun Baghboudarian and Rani Elias won the UAF Award.

The UAF devotes itself to the development of fled students and professionals, and for their integration into the Dutch job market. With the election, the UAF offers a platform to talented refugees who stand out because of their dedication, their study and work performances, and their contributions to society. They also ask for attention for the great effort refugees put into shaping their own futures at the same time, something that often goes unnoticed.

portrait picture Dalal Ghanim
Dalal Ghanim

Dalal Ghanim

The 23-year old Dalal Ghanim was 17 years old when she and part of her family fled Iraq. Especially Yazidis, the demographic the Ghanim family belongs to, had a degrading existence there.

Strong motivation

Dalal was initially advised to go for an mbo 1 education due to her limited mastery of Dutch, but she was determined to go to university. “We had no university-level doctors and pharmacists in the area I come from. Many people over there die because they are prescribed the wrong medications. I want to contribute to the improvement of medical care in my country of origin and in other parts of the world, such as in Africa.”

This strong motivation resulted in Dalal obtaining her vwo degree in one year. She is now in her third year of the Pharmacy degree programme of Utrecht University and even obtained a scholarship for excellent students. She will soon finish her Bachelor's programme. She does all of this under difficult circumstances, as she is still being confronted with news about family members who died in Iraq and friends who were taken as sex slaves by ISIS.

I want to contribute to the improvement of medical care in my country of origin and in other countries.


Besides her studies, Dalal partakes in public debates in order to give the Yazidis a voice. She works at a pharmacy in Almere and tutors in mathematics and chemistry: “I think Chemistry is the most beautiful subject. It's the foundation of life. I see all that's happening on molecular and electronic levels. There is so much to discover.” After her studies, she wants to keep devoting herself to others. “I want to go to areas where medical care is bad. I want to continue doing research besides that, especially in biochemistry. I really want to contribute to research projects into new medications, especially for rare conditions.”