Baroness celebrates diversity at The Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester
- Credit: Archant
Staff and students alike arrived en masse to hear Baroness Floella Benjamin give her keynote speech at The Royal Agricultural University’s Inaugural IED (Inclusivity, Equality and Diversity) Conference.
Baroness Benjamin addressed the packed lecture hall at the historic campus in Cirencester, talking about her childhood and growing up in 1960s Britain.
Her speech drew upon examples from large organisations and her own personal experience, placing emphasis on her wholehearted belief that diversity, equality and inclusion should be embedded into the very DNA of an institution.
Baroness Floella Benjamin said: “The RAU has a special quality, with which comes a massive responsibility. It’s the perfect place for learning and influencing global thinking and sustainability as we face the challenges of climate change, increasing population and economic turmoil.
“The RAU is a great international institution that reaches out to an ever-changing wounded world. So diversity, equality and inclusion must be embedded in your ethos, it cannot be an add-on or a box ticking exercise, it must be part of the living breathing soul of the institution and infiltrate every aspect of your thinking and planning.
“The art of achieving pure, true, real ‘diversity nirvana’ is to use imagination. To put yourself in the place of others. To imagine how it feels to be a blind person, a deaf person someone who is different.”
The keynote speech was then followed by Principal, Professor Chris Gaskell’s talk on leadership and inclusivity at the multicultural University.
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The Schools of Agriculture, Business and Entrepreneurship, and Real Estate and Land Management invited industry professionals to come and give talks, including the Reggae Reggae Sauce creator Levi Roots, which were attended by freshers, returning students, and staff.
During the afternoon, the Student Union gave a presentation on the benefits of studying in the multicultural environment of the RAU, whilst The Centre for Leadership gave a talk about their up-coming workshops on women in leadership.
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