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26th March, 2015

Policy Idol 2015 – the results are in

Our final ten ‘idols’ took to the stage in last night’s final to compete for the title of Policy Idol 2015. At the event compered by BBC News Home Editor, Mark Easton, finalists had just three minutes to present their ideas to the judges and a live audience. Finalists were students selected from heats run across King’s campuses earlier this year.

From education to healthcare and foreign policy to political engagement, the evening saw ideas pitched across a broad range of policy areas. The winning pitch was presented by Vageesh Jain, who presented ‘The rise and fall of the World Health Organisation’. Arguing that the WHO’s structure makes financial decision-making difficult, he presented an alternative structure. Vageesh is a medical student, currently intercalating a Master’s in Public Health.

Two runner-up prizes of £500 were also awarded on the evening:
• Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood received the runner-up prize for the evidence and analysis that underpinned her pitch on ‘Getting it right in FGM’. Ifesinachi is a PhD candidate at the African Leadership Centre within the International Development Institute at King’s.
• Bakht Baryar was awarded the runner-up prize for the style and delivery of his pitch on ‘Solving the Somalia puzzle: a nudge for UK foreign policy’. Bakht is a final year BSc Political Economy student with research interests in state building, governance in failed states and counter-insurgency.
• Rich Morris and Rupert Evetts were chosen as the audience favourite on the night, for their joint pitch, ‘The population time bomb: two ways to diffuse the bomb’

We would like to thank the judging panel for their participation in the event:
• Baroness Jay of Paddington
• Professor Denise Lievesley, Dean of the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy at King’s College London
• Dr Jennifer Rubin, Executive Vice President, RAND Europe
• Rt Hon David Willetts MP
• Professor Jonathan Grant, Director, The Policy Institute at King’s College London

Throughout the heats stage of our competition, there were a number of individuals who gave up their time to help us select the finalists. Our thanks also go to:
• Professor Becky Francis, Professor of Social Justice, King’s College London
• Daniel Glaser, Director, Science Gallery
• John Hilary, Executive Director, War on Want
• Susan Hitch, Manager of Lord Sainsbury of Turville’s pro bono programme
• Professor Jeremy Jennings, Professor of Political Theory, King’s College London
• John Rentoul, Chief Political Commentator, The Independent on Sunday
• Lynne Saylor, Associate Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs, RAND Europe
• Hetan Shah, Executive Director, Royal Statistical Society
• Sally Taylor, Executive Director, Culture Capital Exchange
• Sir Kevin Tebbit, former Director of GCHQ and Permanent Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence
• Chris Tyler, Director, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

Particular thanks also goes to Ross Pow, Co-founder of Idenk, and Dr Benedict Wilkinson of the Policy Institute, who worked with our finalists ahead of last night’s event to provide them with bespoke training in policy analysis and communications.


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Suzie Leighton

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