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Launch of Queen's new Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and International Staff Network 'iRise'

The official launch of Queen's University Belfast's first Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic ('BAME') and International Staff Network, known as 'iRise', took place on Wednesday 12 June.

The reception was attended by the Vice-Chancellor, the Registrar, senior leaders and staff from across the University.

The launch event included Chinese folk music performances, a video launch and speeches by President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Mr Conor Curran, and iRise Co-Chairs Dr Michael Isichei (Queen's Management School) and Dr Yassin Brunger (School of Law).

Commenting on the launch, President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer said:

"As a university community, I want us to be reflective of the students and global society that we serve through our teaching and research. We recruit the best from around the world and it is vitally important that our people – in all of their diversity - feel supported, visible and listened to.

"The official launch of iRise represents a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the diversity of our staff and I am proud to extend my thanks and support to the network's membership. As a senior leadership team, we look forward to working with them and to seeing the network grow and develop over the coming years."

iRise is an acronym which stands for:

  • Internationally focused

  • Racial diversity

  • Inclusivity for all

  • Social Cohesion

  • Equality of opportunity

The purpose of iRise is to promote the University as a welcoming place to work for BAME and International members of staff, providing a forum for networking and a means of peer support and representing the interests of BAME and International staff to the University.

The network will also support a range of training and development opportunities, run a social programme, communicate information and updates to BAME and International colleagues and liaise with other staff networks and student societies.

Reflecting on the significance of the launch event, Dr Yassin Brunger, Co-Chair of iRise, commented:

"Our launch event was very well attended and we were delighted to be joined by staff, students and senior leaders who came to show their support and appreciation for our efforts. In particular, it was encouraging and very important to see the Vice-Chancellor's clear engagement with issues of diversity and inclusion and his commitment to supporting a diverse and inclusive culture here at Queen's. As we get started as a network, this support means a great deal – both to members of iRise and to BAME and International staff throughout Queen's."

Conor Curran, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Queen's, added:

"At the heart of our culture at Queen's is a commitment to promoting equality, respect for diversity and greater inclusion.

"While iRise will help improve the visibility of our BAME and International staff, allowing them to come together during and after work, to develop friendships and professional relationships, it is my hope that this staff network will also allow for meaningful engagement with our BAME and International staff.

"In this way, we will all be able to more fully appreciate and understand some of the unique contributions, perspectives and challenges which come from and face our International colleagues.

"This is a hugely significant step forward for Queen's – one which will help us to become even more inclusive and to keep attracting the best talent from around the world."


How to join iRise

If you would like to join iRise, please email or visit the iRise website to find out more information.

Alternatively, follow iRise on Twitter @QUBiRise for information on upcoming events and other activity.