LSE student and alumnus receive prestigious Diana Award for social action work

I got the email informing me about the award in the middle of exam season, so it's nice to receive such positive news during a very stressful time!
- Akhila Potluru
Akhila 747 x 560
LSE student Akhila Potluru

LSE undergraduate student Akhila Potluru and alumnus Raihan Karim have received Diana Awards in recognition of their social action work.

Established in memory of Princess Diana, the award is one of the highest accolades a young person can achieve for volunteering and humanitarian work.

Akhila, who studies in the Department of Social Policy and will be going into her final year in September, received the award for her involvement in water advocacy.

Having served as President of the UK Youth Parliament for Water, she is dedicated to increasing youth participation in the UK water sector and raising awareness of water issues, particularly those related to wastewater and sewage management.

To achieve this, Akhila has collaborated with numerous organisations including Water UK, Global Citizen and Xylem to produce videos addressing water challenges, with some of this work shown at COP26.

The 20-year-old is currently involved in the launch of Rights for Rivers UK, a youth-led non-profit that aims to protect vulnerable rivers in the UK from harmful chemicals and sewage dumping. This initiative will grant rivers environmental personhood, enabling local communities to take legal action against polluters.

Commenting on the award, Akhila said: “I couldn't be more grateful and honoured! I was so surprised to learn that I had been nominated and selected. I actually got the email informing me about the award in the middle of exam season, so it’s nice to receive such positive news during a very stressful time.”

Going forwards, Akhila will be involved with a team working with Transition Exmouth. Together, they will be seeking legal protection for the River Exe. Long term, she wants to see tighter regulations around wastewater management and drastic reduction, as well as increased monitoring, in the amount of untreated sewage entering our waterways.

Raihan 747 x 560

Alongside Akhila, LSE alumnus Raihan Karim (pictured above), aged 23, also received an award. As co-founder and CEO of The Legacy Project (TLP), Raihan supports disadvantaged youth achieve their potential by helping them secure offers from top universities, jobs, or start impact projects.

The Legacy Project annually assists over 1,000 students from low socio-economic backgrounds through tailored workshops.

Commenting on the motivation behind his work, Raihan said: “I am truly grateful and humbled by the blessings I have received. It seems like only a few weeks ago when I was contemplating the rapid passage of time. Back then, my siblings and I were huddled together in a cramped council estate, diligently studying for our exams. Today, I find myself in a position where I can inspire thousands of individuals to unlock their true potential, regardless of the obstacles they face.”

Raihan graduated with a BSc in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in 2022 and his passion for inclusivity and community engagement came to the fore during his time at LSE.

As the Vice President of LSESU Islamic Society, he was involved with the organisation of the LSESU Islamic Society Aspire Conference, which aimed to empower students from state schools by providing valuable insights into the university application process.

Going forwards, Raihan hopes to expand The Legacy Project on an international scale and is keen to establish partnerships and collaborations with diverse grassroots organisations. By joining forces with these organisations, he hopes to amplify impact and reach even more people around the world.

He adds: “I believe it is crucial to spark meaningful discussions and drive conversations about mobility within the workplace, schools, and universities. By actively engaging in these dialogues, we can inspire positive change, foster greater opportunities, and create a more inclusive society for all.”

To find out more about the Diana Award and read more about this year’s winner, please visit