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Race Equality

Race Equality Network

In 2023, UCC launhced the UCC Race equality Network, with co-chairs Dr Sanaa Khabbar and Dr Jatin Nagpal.  It was launched as part of UCC's annual Equality Week on Tuesday, 3 October in the Staff Common Room. The foundational work for the Network began in 2019 with the establishment of the Race Equality Forum in UCC.

Dr Amanullah De Sondy, Chair of the UCC Race Equality Forum, said: “I’m delighted to see our Race Equality Forum progress to a Race Equality Network with this launch. Unfortunately, racism is real, on the rise and connected to all our inequalities. This transition continues to highlight UCC's commitment to anti-racism as established by the Higher Education Authority's (HEA) Anti-Racism Principles. The Race Equality Network will support, strengthen and nurture our minority ethnic staff and students in solidarity with our allies.”
Chair of the UCC Equality Committee,  Professor Nuala Finnegan said: “Earlier in the year, UCC was proud to sign up to the Anti-Racism Principles for Higher Education. As part of this work, we are committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and diverse campus that encourages a culture of respect for all staff and students regardless of race or ethnicity. The Race Equality Network is a vital part of that work and will provide a supportive space for all staff to connect further and build solidarity.”
You can contact the Race Equality Network at
Dr Amanullah de Sondy, Dr Sanaa Khabbar and Dr Jatin Nagpal
Pictured: Dr Amanullah De Sondy, Dr Sanaa Khabbar & Dr Jatin Nagpal

UCC signs the Anti-Racism Principles

University College Cork (UCC), on July 24th 2023, reaffirmed its commitment to challenging racism and embedding a culture of race equality by signing the Anti-Racism Principles for Irish Higher Education.
UCC President Professor John O’Halloran officially signed the principles at an event with representatives from the Higher Education Authority which launched  the Anti-Racism Principles for Irish Higher Education Institutions earlier this year. This commitment was reaffirmed at a UCC-based event.   For more information on this, click here.

The Principles seek to challenge race inequality across higher education and call on HEI leadership to actively acknowledge that race inequality exists in higher education and acknowledge the power of universities to take action and to influence Irish society. 

Speaking at the signing,  UCC President Professor O’Halloran said: “We acknowledge that the progressive achievement of equality for staff and students can only be realised through meaningful action. By endorsing these principles, UCC aims to be a leader of positive change, to embed and drive anti-racism initiatives and policies that focus on long-term culture change.”
By signing up for the Principles, UCC commits to action across key areas including – a commitment to embedding race equality as part of the university’s culture and strategic priorities; educating staff and students in relation to structural, institutional, and historical dimensions of racism, as well as individual racism seen in acts of abuse and discrimination; fostering an intersectional and intercultural approach when developing anti-racism actions and policies. 
A group of people standing formally behind a table covered in a blue cloth and in front of a large, full bookcase.




Conversations on Racism in Ireland

Race equality in Ireland is a societal challenge that requires urgent attention. It features in the UN sustainable development goals to transform our world. This series of conversations on race and racism in Ireland in general and universities in particular, begins a constructive discussion on the lived experiences of minorities in the academy. It hopes to build toward a race equality action plan. The discussions will be moderated by Dr Amanullah De Sondy, current Co-chair of University College Cork's Race Equality Forum and Head of the Study of Religions Department.


A Conversation on Douglass and Being Irish in Modern Ireland (Feb 14th, Douglass Week 2022)

Virtual roundtable discussion about the legacy of Frederick Douglass, migrants and Irishness with Dr. Amanullah De Sondy (University College Cork, Ireland), Amin Sharifi Isaloo, Roja Fazaeli, Fiona Finn and others. Expert panellists will explore the legacy of Frederick Douglass exploring his legacy on Cork. Where is Irish society on issues of race and racism? We will discuss identities and issues of belonging in being “Irish” in a modern Ireland that is diverse and inclusive.


2020/21 ARCHIVE

Conversations on Racism in Ireland - UCC Students Speak
Friday 26th March - 11-12pm
Dr. Amanullah De Sondy, Head of Study of Religions Department and Co-Chair of UCC Race Equality Forum hosted a special panel with students of UCC. 

Amano Miura is a second year BA Study of Religions and Politics students at UCC. She is the Vice-Chair of UCC Fáilte Refugees Society and the Racial and Ethnic Minorities Representative on the Student's Union Equality Working Group (EWG). Amano is of Irish and Japanese descent and she grew up in Co. Kerry.  

Marium Baig is a 2nd year BCom at UCC. International and Chinese Studies student. Originally from Pakistan but immigrated to Ireland at a young age. Marium is a current standing committee member for UCC's Chinese and Korean societies 

Raphael Olympio is a healthcare worker and Occupational Therapy student at UCC. He is a musician and activist who is involved in the Cork Migrant Centre, UCC Africa Society and other projects. His heritage is Tongan and grew up in Ireland.


We are back with our monthly Conversations on Racism in Ireland’ with a special live event during UCC’s Equality Week 2021.

Monday 15th March from 12-1.  

Reflections, Questions and a wee laugh with:  

Professor Kalpana Shankar is a Professor of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin.  She researches and teaches about scholarly research practices and data management and is currently the PI of SFI funded SPRING, Studying Peer Review in Grants. She has been part of the Athena SWAN Intersectionality Working Group that worked with the Irish Higher Education Authority to develop and launch the National Race Equality Survey. (twitter: @Dublin_kshankar)  

Moonyoung Hong is a PhD candidate in the School of English at Trinity College, Dublin. Having previously studied in Seoul, she first came to Ireland in 2015 for a Master’s in Irish Writing, and now lives in Ballyfermot. (twitter: @h_moonie)  

Rosemarie Maughan is National Traveller Accommodation Policy Officer with the Irish Traveller Movement. (twitter: @Minceirbeoir) 


As part of Douglass Week 2021, on February 8th Dr. Amanullah De Sondy, Head of the Study of Religions, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam and Chair of the Race Equality Forum at University College Cork, Ireland, spoke with: 

Anthea Butler, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Her book Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making A Sanctified World,  is published by The University of North Carolina Press. Her new book White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America, is out March 22 on Ferris and Ferris, a division of UNC Press.  Professor Butler is a sought after media commentator on Catholicism, religion, politics and gender 

Timi Ogunyemi, an Irish curator, videographer, multi-award winning photographer and 'retired' blogger with ‘Picture This Dublin’. Born in Lagos, Made in Dublin. In a career spanning Retail Management, Professional Consultancy and Creative Management, Timi has worked on concepting and implementing award winning campaigns with both local and global brands. He is passionate about using Social platforms to make a positive impact on society.' 

Sir Geoff Palmer, who was born in Jamaica and lives in Scotland. He came to London as an immigrant in 1955. After various difficulties, he worked and attended evening classes to improve his qualifications. In 1989, he became the first black professor in Scotland. Sir Geoff is Professor Emeritus in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, and a human rights activist. Sir Geoff is the author of many scientific papers and has published books on grain science and the history of Slavery in the West Indies. He serves on the Boards of various charitable organisations. He is the Freeman of Midlothian and the Honorary Consul for Jamaica in Scotland. Professor Palmer was awarded the OBE in 2003 and a Knighthood in 2014 for his contributions to science, charity and human rights.  


On Wednesday 13th January 2-3 p.m., Dr Amanullah De Sondy was joined by Sara EbrahimiProfessor Kalpana Shankar and Dr Arpita Chakraborty. We look forward to seeing you there.


Sara Honarmand Ebrahimi is a Research Associate at the UCD Humanities Institute, where they finished their PhD in 2018 (IRC doctoral scholar). They are currently finishing a monograph which is under contract for publication with Edinburgh University Press in 2022 and are co-convening the Institute of Historical Research (University of London) new partnership seminar series entitled, 'The Archives of Global History in a Time of International Immobility.'

Professor Kalpana Shankar is a Professor of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin.  She researches and teaches about scholarly research practices and data management and is currently the PI of SFI funded SPRING, Studying Peer Review in Grants. She has been part of the Athena SWAN Intersectionality Working Group that worked with the Irish Higher Education Authority to develop and launch the National Race Equality Survey.    

Dr Arpita Chakraborty is an IRC scholar working on sexual violence in collaboration with Dublin City University and ActionAid Ireland. She was the first PhD scholar at the Ireland India Institute, former Chair of the Sibeal Network of Feminist and Gender Studies Scholars in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and also the organiser of the Annual South Asian Studies Conference in Dublin.


On Wednesday 9th December 2-3 p.m., Dr Amanullah De Sondy, Head of the Study of Religions Department was joined by Hussein Omar and Sahar Ahmed.

Hussein AH Omar is a historian of anticolonial ideas in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His monograph Rule of Strangers is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. At UCD he convenes the Global History seminar, teaches on the Global History MA and is designing a new BA in Global Studies. He is committed to challenging the eurocentricity of the curriculum.

Sahar Ahmed is a PhD candidate in the School of Law at Trinity College Dublin. Her research examines and offers a reinterpretation of the right to freedom of religion under International Human Rights Law and Islamic jurisprudence. Sahar is from Lahore, Pakistan, where she worked as a Barrister for many years, being dual qualified at The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn (England & Wales) and as an Advocate of the High Courts of Pakistan. Sahar holds a Masters in Law from SOAS, University of London, where she was an Annemarie Schimmel Scholar. You can find Sahar on Twitter discussing race, feminism, religion, and the law @saharisright



In 2019, the EDI Unit in cooperation with the Equality Committee started the Race Equality Initiative.  It commenced with a number of meetings to try and gauge what issues are most prevalent.  It emerged early on that the first step should be to establish a university-wide space for Black and Minority Ethnic staff and students, where they could express and explore their experiences in UCC in a safe and free environment.  These forums were to be moderated by two co-chairs, a UCC staff member of colour/minority ethnic background and an external facilitator of colour/minority ethnic background with experience in this area.  The proposal involved holding four fora between October and March (2019-2020).  This original timeline was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  This became known  the Race Equality Forum.  From these discussions in the four forums, a report would be drafted with suggestions, from which the University Equality Committee would draft proposals for the university, with the hope that those proposals would form part of an embedded programme of action for the university.  This does not preclude any anti-racist or training/awareness initiatives happening in the meantime.

To date, two forums have been held and were chaired by Dr Mark Chu, Dept. of Italian and external co-chair Dr Brigid Quilligan, Director at Irish Traveller Movement.  The second two forums were postponed due to Covid-19.  Drs Chu and Quiliigan stepped down as co-chairs at the end of 2019/20 and the role of internal co-chair was taken up by Dr Amanullah De Sondy.  Marguerita O'Driscoll came on board with Dr De Sondy as external co-chair for the second two forums, which concluded in spring of 2021.  The report to the Equality Committee has been submitted.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Unit

Comhionannas, Éagsúlacht agus Ionchuimsitheacht

South Lodge, College Road, University College, Cork, T12 RXA9