Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) members of staff at the University of Leicester have been recognised for their contributions to the university at a special event called ‘Celebrating Ethnic Diversity at Leicester’ on Friday 16 October.
The event which was part of Black History Month, a month long celebration of heritage, history, arts and culture of people from across the African and African Caribbean Diaspora awarded five inspirational figures.
They were, Dr Saeeda Shah, School of Education, Professor Neil Chakraborti, Department of Criminology, Ather Mirza, News and Corporate Events, Dr Harjinder Sembhi, Department of Physics & Astronomy and Cherese Lewis, Residential and Commercial Services.
Dr Harjinder Sembhi, Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, said: “It is a great privilege to accept this award and I hope that I can be an inspiration to anyone considering a career in science but may be reluctant because of their ethnicity or cultural differences. I have been inspired by so many great mentors and colleagues and it is very encouraging to see the University invest such time and effort to positively promote equality and diversity.”
Ather Mirza, Director of the University of Leicester’s News Centre, said: “It is heartening to be recognised by my colleagues for this leadership award. This is a milestone event for the University and it is a testament to the University’s commitment to championing equality that, so soon after the UN selected Leicester as a HeForShe champion for gender equality, we are showcasing the talent of BME staff on campus. We are proud to be a part of the University and to contribute to its success and achievements.”
‘Celebrating Ethnic Diversity at Leicester: A Story of Staff Experiences’ was introduced by President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Paul Boyle, which was followed by a key note speech from guest speaker Dr Jane Esuantsiwa Goldsmith (Honorary Doctor of Laws).
Professor Paul Boyle said: “This is the first time that the university has come together to celebrate the staff who come from a BME background, we have a lot of BME staff here at the University of Leicester, we thought it was a great idea to celebrate their achievements”.
Speaking of the diversity in Britain today, Dr Jane Esuantsiwa Goldsmith said: “I was giving a few examples of how Vindaloo Curry is Britain’s favourite dish and Nadia Hussein has just won the British bake off, so in one way we have got that amazing diversity and people celebrate it on the other hand I feel we have a big anti immigration sentiment among politicians and in Europe and among the British press here, so I think we still have a lot more work to do”