Category Archives: Ethnicity

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – October 2013


Trevor McDonald 1

October is Black History Month and with this in mind we have chosen Trevor McDonald as our Inspirational Diversity Champion.

Trevor McDonald was born in Trinidad in 1939, he worked in various aspects of the media including local newspapers, radio and television before he joined the Caribbean regional service of the BBC World Service in 1960 as a producer.  He moved to London at the end of that decade to work for the corporation (BBC Radio, London).

In 1973 he moved to Independent Television News (ITN) and rose steadily through the ranks to become the first black newsreader in the UK.  He was twice voted Newscaster of the year, and is perceived as the face of ITN after years of fronting its flagship ‘News at Ten’ bulletin.

He is an accomplished journalist, he has written several books including autobiographies on cricketers Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards. His own biography, ‘Fortunate Circumstances’, was published in 1993.

Once viewed as the best-spoken person in the country, he fronted a two-year inquiry into the state of language learning. It warned that government education policy failed to teach pupils the necessary language skills needed for later life.

Trevor McDonald read the news for ITN for over 30 years, in 1992 he received an OBE in the Queen’s Honours List, and in 1999 received a knighthood for services to journalism.  Although now retired from reading the news Trevor continues to broadcast on TV most recently last month when he presented the show ‘Women Behind Bars’ an insight into the Indiana Rockville Correctional Facility.


Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – August 2013


Diane Abbott 2

World Breastfeeding Week takes place between 1 – 7 August and as such, we have chosen someone who has combined their role as a mother with a successful working life as our Diversity Champion for August.

Diane Abbott is a mother and politician. She has been the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987, when she was elected to the House of Commons and became part of the first Black and Asian intake in Parliament for almost 100 years. She was the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons. In 2010, she became Shadow Public Health Minister after unsuccessfully standing for election as leader of the Labour Party.

She has a record of differing from some party policies; voting against the Iraq War, opposing ID cards and campaigning against the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons. She has been seen as a “maverick, a free-thinker, willing to rebel against the party machine”.

More …

BME into Leadership Conference – 24 October 2013

The annual BME into Leadership conference examines how BME leaders, at whatever grade, can utilise their strengths and become the leader they aspire to be.

This conference involves hands-on advice and coaching, featuring contributions by inspirational speakers from all levels of the civil service and beyond.  The event will also provide an opportunity to network with colleagues and counterparts across Government, many of whom are working to tackle the challenges facing BME Public Servants and looking for opportunities to further their own careers in the public sector.

Attending this conference allows delegates to:

  • Hear from the Head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake
  • Explore the challenges currently facing BME leaders looking to further their career in the Civil Service and discuss how to overcome them
  • Network with peers and counterparts from across Government who are also contemplating furthering their career in the Civil Service
  • Share experiences, learning and best practice with peers across the country

To book and for more information see:

Honorary Awards for Baroness Amos and Baroness Grey-Thompson

Baroness-Amos-and-Baroness-Grey-ThompsonThe University of Greenwich is awarding honorary degrees today (Tuesday 30 July) to Baroness Amos, the first black woman to become a Cabinet minister, and to champion Paralympic athlete Baroness ‘Tanni’ Grey-Thompson.

They are both being honoured in graduation ceremonies taking place at Rochester Cathedral.  More …


Sickle Cell Awareness Month

July is Sickle Cell Awareness Month.

The different kinds of Sickle Cell Disorders and the different traits are found mainly in people whose families come from Africa, the Caribbean, the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia.* In Britain SCD is most common in people of African and Caribbean descent (at least 1 in 10-40 have sickle cell trait and 1 in 60-200 have SCD). It is estimated there are over 6,000 adults and children with SCD in Britain at present. There are other inherited conditions that mainly affect other groups, e.g. Cystic Fibrosis in Europeans, and Tay-Sachs disease in Jewish people.

If you would like to find out more about Sickle Cell Awareness Month go to the Sickle Cell Society website at

B0007446 Sickle-cell anaemia

Different Backgrounds Lead to Different Student Experiences of HE

HEFCE’s recent report Higher education and beyond: outcomes from full-time first degree study highlights that students experience and benefit from higher education differently depending on their background. The report looks at degree attainment and subsequent employment of students from the 2006/07 cohort.

The report highlights that disabled students receiving Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) are more likely to achieve a 1st or 2:1 degree than disabled students who don’t receive DSA. On completion of their first degree, they are also more likely to be in employment or further study, and more likely to be in a graduate job.

The report also adds to the growing body of evidence that students from minority ethnic backgrounds have a different experience of HE from their white peers. This points to the need for more inclusive curriculum design, assessments and culture.

Equality Challenge Unit have produced guidance in response to the report, found at:

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – June 2013

This month is Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month.  With this in mind we have chosen Ian Hancock as our Inspirational Diversity Champion for June.

Hancock was born in Britain of both British and Hungarian Romani descent and was raised according to Romani traditions. He experienced firsthand the prejudice, discrimination and alienation that so many centuries of Romanies before him had endured.

Although he dropped out of school to go to work, which was very common for Romani people, Ian went onto study at London University and became the first Romani in Britain to receive a Ph.D. He has since devoted most of his adult life to dispelling ignorance about his ethnic origins.

Since his London University days, Hancock has used his somewhat unique position as a Romani-born, university-educated scholar to speak for an oppressed population that has traditionally had no voice or representation, to preserve information about Romani customs and history and to fight for Romani political and civil rights.

He is the Chairman of the United Romani Educational Foundation Inc., the official ambassador to the United Nations and UNICEF for the world’s 15 million Romanies and the only Romani to have been appointed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.

Educating the public about Romani history and culture has been a colossal task for Hancock because most individuals do, unfortunately, have a graphic mental image of the “typical gypsy,” but they have formed their ideas from all the wrong information.

“They do not know that seventy percent of the Romani population of Nazi-occupied Europe were murdered during the Holocaust.”

“This ridiculous fictional image has taken on a life of its own,” says Hancock. “The cliché description of Romanies is so deeply rooted that it may never totally be eradicated. There are countless representations in films and books of Italians as Mafia members, but no one actually believes that all Italians are Mafia members. That is not true for my people”.