First Nelson Mandela Anti-Racism Week at University of Galway

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University of Galway has launched its inaugural Nelson Mandela Anti-Racism Week which will be taking place until Friday 24 March.

The events coincide with International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, observed each year on March 21.

The week-long programme also commemorates the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela being awarded an honorary doctorate by University of Galway in 2003.

On that occasion, Mandela said it was a source of great pride to be honoured by an Irish university.

“To stand here at the University and receive an honorary doctorate makes one feel part of that proud lineage of scholarship, learning and wisdom that had been passed down the centuries of Irish history,” he said.

The extensive range of initiatives outlined in the programme of events includes both student and staff led activities such as workshops, a diversity café, exhibitions, virtual reality experience, race equality training, Traveller and Roma film festival, society events, and cultural events. Guest speakers include Emer O’Neill, Rosemarie Maughan, Dr Amanullah De Sondy, Ikenna Anyabuike, Ashwin Chacko, Mary Watson and Sharmilla Beezmohun.

Highlights during the week include:

  • Photo Exhibition: Celebrating Racial Diversity at University of Galway
  • Experiencing Direct Provision through the eyes of University of Galway Students (Virtual Reality Experience),
  • Remembering Nelson Mandela’s Conferring Ceremony at the University of Galway, (Thursday, March 23 at 11.30am in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle) where South African Ambassador to Ireland, Yolisa Maya, will deliver the keynote address
  • Panel discussion: The Intersection between Racism and Public Spaces by Emer O’Neill, Rosemarie Maughan and Amanullah De Sondy (Friday March 24 at 11am, The Cube, Áras na Mac Léinn)

Dr Helen Maher, Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion said: “The week aims to empower the University community to act on Nelson Mandela’s Anti-Racism vision and the University’s values of respect, openness, excellence and sustainability, through the advancement of race equality and anti-racism which aligns with the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy.

“I very much look forward to continuing to engage with everyone in progressing a transformative equality, diversity and inclusion agenda at University of Galway.”

To mark the inaugural Nelson Mandela Anti-Racism Week, the Office of the Vice President for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion has awarded funding to 11 projects as part of the annual Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Project Fund.

The funding is available to staff and students on a competitive basis for a variety of Anti-Racism projects within the University.

In addition, the University is hosting the first national HEA conference on Race Equality in Higher Education on March 20 to highlight the structural, institutional, and historical dimensions of racism which have informed past and current practices in HEIs and the societies in which they are situated.

Owen Ward, EDI Programme Manager for Race Equality at University of Galway, said: “The diverse programme of events during Nelson Mandela Anti-Racism week is based on a collaborative approach throughout the university, supported by the Office of the Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

“The events are designed to be deliberative and interactive, facilitating discussion, learning and engagement on a wide range of issues relevant to race, ethnicity and anti-racism.”

For further information and to register for events, visit here.