SOAS University of London

Equality and Diversity Office

Meet the Team

Dr Awino Okech – Associate Director Equity and Accountability

Dr. Okech is an Associate Professor of Political Sociology at SOAS, University of London where she teaches in the Department of Politics and International Studies. She also serves as Associate Director Equity and Accountability providing leadership on the university’s racial justice work.

Dr Okech is a feminist scholar activist whose teaching and research interests lie in the nexus between gender, sexuality, security, and nation-state making projects as they occur in conflict and post-conflict societies. Her work is grounded in African feminist, queer, and Black internationalist thought as central frameworks for thinking about power and justice.

Across her work is an exploration of racial justice and Black solidarity that focusses on the majority world and Africa to reimagine Pan African and Internationalist strategies for anti-racist, feminist, and queer liberation.

Dr Okech continues to work with and support a range of international and African feminist movement support and multilateral organisations on projects that sit at the intersection of gender and security as well as broader organisational development concerns.

Dr Okech is a member of the Human Sciences Research Council editorial board, the Board of Trustees of SOAS University of London, co-chair of the Just Associates Board and adjunct faculty with the African Leadership Centre at King’s College, London.

Jumara Stone - EDI Manager

Jumara (she/her) oversees the different equality projects/initiatives at the School, and her role is to assess what positive changes can be implemented to meet the unique needs of the SOAS community.

She specialises in EDI within wellbeing and mental health, is a qualified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and works to encourage better support for disadvantaged groups in terms of their mental health.

“I work within the field of EDI because as a woman of colour I know the direct impact this work has on underrepresented people and groups. I know what it can do for our careers, our self-esteem, our voices. I also work within EDI because I know the power of allyship and having someone in your corner championing what you need. I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't have those advocates. SOAS is a beautifully diverse place and I want to see our community empower one another in all our spaces as allies.”

Fun fact - I can eat a tray of Ferrero Rocher in about 4 mins and still want more

Karun Maudgil - Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Project Lead

Karun has previously worked in the same capacity at other HE institutions including London South Bank University and the University of Cambridge, with a particular focus on race equality.

His work at SOAS has focused on a number of projects, including contributing towards the development of the EDI Strategy and Annual Report, and identifying key actions to progress the School’s application for the Race Equality Charter

Karun is also Development Officer at Race On The Agenda, a social policy think-tank that aims to raise awareness (and address) issues of inequality, that impact Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, through anti-racism advocacy and campaigning.

“I’ve worked within EDI for 7 years, and have always had a passion for ensuring that people, regardless of their background, do not face discrimination, and have equal access to opportunities. Tackling racism and other forms of discrimination are fundamental in our duty to ensure that all of our student and staff community feel welcome, accepted for who they are, and have a positive experience at SOAS.”

Fun fact - I appeared as an extra in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Rob Drury - Race Equity Project Lead

Rob (he/him) worked in a similar role at another university prior to SOAS, and has a history in Human Resources within the charitable and third sector. In his role, Rob will coordinate SOAS’ first submission to Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter, as well as supporting other projects centred around race at SOAS.

“I work within EDI as I want to use my skills and privilege to facilitate positive change in organisations, and support individuals in their development as changemakers. I’m really interested in how we, as a community, can make small changes to challenge and develop our views, and how coalition and collaboration can have a huge impact on equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging.”

Fun fact: I studied Film at university, and on different occasions filmed a zombie attack, at New Covent Garden Fruit Market at 3AM, and a WWII drama in real (and very muddy!) trenches