DEGREE AWARDS '08: Alla’s 3,000 Mile Journey To Learn The Law

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 DEGREE AWARDS '08: Alla’s 3,000 Mile Journey To Learn The Law

Date posted: 27 December 2007

An Iraqi Kurd set to become a Derby law graduate next month – only six years after arriving in the UK – intends to return to his homeland to pass on his knowledge to others.

Alla Omer Ahmed, 26, currently living in Derby, left Kurdistan in northern Iraq with A-level equivalent qualifications in English Language, Arabic, Kurdish, Maths, Geography, Economics and History.

After a year’s study in Intermediate English Language at a London college to improve his grasp of the language, he applied to join the University of Derby’s LL.B (Hons) Law course and was accepted.

Despite initially “struggling” with the University culture, Alla is now set to pick up a 2:1 grade for his degree in January and has already embarked on a Masters degree (MA) in Law at the University of Nottingham.

He eventually intends to return home to Kurdistan to pass on what he has learned, as a university lecturer.

Alla said, despite the recent war and current conflict, he had enjoyed a relatively stable home life in Kurdistan before journeying abroad to study.

He said: “I had a friend who was on a Foundation Degree course at the University of Derby who said ‘you ought to come here’.

“I visited for an open day and I thought it was very good. Derby seemed a nice small town that you could get around quite easily.”

While on his three–year University law course he also did work experience at the Derby Law Centre, which offers free legal advice including advising people on immigration and employment rights.

“I have found the Law course very interesting. The first three months were a struggle but my lecturers were very helpful,” added Alla.

Kevin Bampton, Head of the School of Law and Criminology at the University of Derby, said: "Alla is one of the most remarkable students I have taught. He has not only learned but already advised literally hundreds of people in the Derby area, as part of our Law Clinic programme (which works with Derby Law Centre).

“Overseas students like Alla bring so much with them and take the best of British values with them when they return home."

His parents plan to make the 3,000 mile trip from Kurdistan to see him graduate on the second day of the University of Derby’s two days of Awards Ceremonies, on Saturday 19 January, at the Derby Assembly Rooms.

Now on his Masters degree course – and hoping to eventually undertake a PhD specialising in medical law – he would like to return to Kurdistan to teach, possibly at the University of Salahddin in Erbil.


For further media information please contact Press and PR Officer Simon Butt on 01332 591891, or 07748 920023, or email

Press release by Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 593004 or email

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