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“We have to be able to recognize that we have discrimination in our society, that there is prejudice and that we are going to have to do some concrete things to deal with it. But if we are not even prepared to admit that its there, we are not going to make any progress.” Valerie Amos (2017)
Director of SOAS since September 2015, Baroness Valerie Amos has already become a formidable presence on the campus. As the first black woman to be the Director of any UK university, what better person to profile during Black History Month to highlight issues around both gender and racial discrimination, whilst simultaneously demonstrating how accomplished black women like her are navigating their careers and breaking the glass ceiling in the process.
This interview has come out of a collaboration between the Women’s Empowerment Group and New Beings:
The Women’s Empowerment Group is a progressive, forward-thinking initiative set up by Joelle Moeckli and Motsabi Rooper at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy. The group aimed to promote women’s voices and work towards equality in the international relations and diplomacy field.
New Beings is a platform that facilitates monthly conversations at SOAS on race, religion, gender and how these, and other social identities, intersect together in the hope of gaining a better understanding and dissolving negative narratives. The aim is to add Black, Asian and Minority voices to the discourse on the British experience. The corporate arm of New Beings addresses how public and private sector organisations can become more diverse and inclusive, having delivered workshops for Aviva, the Ministry of Defence and partnered with Afropunk and RockCorp.
The interview is conducted by Karim Perrineau, an MA graduate in International Studies and Diplomacy from SOAS University and founder/director of New Beings.