Dr Melanie-Marie Haywood, Co-Chair
Melanie-Marie Haywood is an international higher education consultant with a passion for academic development, and quality in education. She has worked across the field of education, in primary, secondary, and higher education in the Caribbean and the UK. She has specialised in quality enhancement of higher education provision in Trinidad and the UK for a number of years working as a consultant, and senior administrator in academia.
She currently serves as the Head of Library, Learning & Teaching Innovation at SOAS University of London, where she is responsible for the support and enhancement of teaching and learning across the institution, both culturally and strategically. She is also co-chair for Race, Accountability, and Listening at SOAS responsible for developing strategic outcomes for Race equity, awareness, and accountability. She keeps connected to the Caribbean through active research, writing, and capacity building for higher education.
Lucia Kula, Co-Chair
Sidonia Lucia Kula is an Angolan-Dutch doctoral researcher/teaching fellow in the School of Law and Black Students Support Coordinator at SOAS University of London where she teaches Legal Systems of Asia and Africa, EU Law, Tort Law, and more. She has expertise and interest in international (refugee) law, migration studies, and interdisciplinary race scholarship.
As a member of the SOAS Decolonising Working Group, she is passionate about reshaping the conversations on decolonial scholarship, TWAIL, race, equity and access in higher education. Within the merit of her role, she co-chairs the Race, Accountability and Listening Action Group, and co-coordinates The Ebony Initiative programme, and the BAME Careers Mentorship programme.
Adwoa Darko is the Retention and Success Coordinator in SOAS University of London. She is an alumnus of SOAS Law, completing her LLB in 2016, then going on to become Co-President in the Students’ Union.
For the past five years she has worked on many projects supporting equality, diversity and inclusivity, as well as access and success at SOAS, working directly with students from targeted widening participation backgrounds. Most recently, she is the Chair of the Black Staff and Students’ Forum. She is currently studying for a Masters in International Higher Education Management at the University of Bath.
Dr Amina Yaqin
Amina Yaqin is Reader in Urdu and Postcolonial Studies at SOAS. She is Chair of the Decolonising Working Group and the Director of the SOAS Festival of Ideas. Her monograph, Gender, Sexuality and Feminism in Pakistani women's poetry is forthcoming with Anthem Press in 2021. She is co-author with Peter Morey of Framing Muslims: Stereotyping and Representation after 911 (Harvard University Press, 2011) and has co-edited Contesting Islamophobia: media, politics and culture (IB Tauris/Bloomsbury 2019); Muslims, Trust and Multiculturalism: New Directions (Palgrave MacMillan 2018); and Culture, Diaspora and Modernity in Muslim Writing (Routledge 2012).
Her research is interdisciplinary and engages with contemporary contexts of Muslim life as well as the politics of culture in Pakistan where she grew up. She has been a collaborating Co-PI on two projects, the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded International Research Network on Framing Muslims and the Research Councils UK funded Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue. She is a book series co-editor on Multicultural Textualities published by Manchester University Press and on the Advisory Board of Anthem Studies in South Asian Literature, Aesthetics and Culture, the Pakistan Journal of Women's Studies, Journal of Research (Humanities) Punjab university, Sindhu: An interdisciplinary journal of South Asian Studies and the Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Amina is the founding Chair of the Centre for the Study of Pakistan at SOAS and the co-founder of the Centre for Gender Studies. Amina's articles have appeared in numerous peer reviewed journals. She is an international media commentator and contributes feature articles for newspapers and magazines.
Professor Andrea Cornwall
Andrea Cornwall is Pro-Director (Research & Enterprise) and Chair of the Equality and Diversity Committee at SOAS. She was formerly Head of the School of Global Studies and Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Equalities and Diversity at the University of Sussex.
Andrea’s research and writing is on gender, rights, inclusion, power and empowerment. Before working in academia, she was a trainer, facilitator and practitioner involved in the design and delivery of communication and relationship skills-building, community engagement and behaviour change interventions.
Dr Awino Okech
Awino Okech is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Gender Studies at SOAS University of London. Her teaching and research interests lie in the nexus between gender, sexuality and nation/state making projects as they occur in conflict and post-conflict societies. Dr Okech also has a much longer history of gender and conflict programming work in Africa with a range of international and national organisations. Awino’s recent publications include ‘African Feminist Epistemic Communities and Decoloniality’ (2020), ‘Gender, Protests and Political Change in Africa’ (2020) and ‘COVID-19 Responses and Human Rights in Selected African Countries’ (2021).
Dr Dominik Jackson-Cole
Dom Jackson-Cole (he/they) is the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Learning Adviser at SOAS. Dom has over 14 years of practitioner, policy maker and researcher experience in the UK higher education sector, with expertise in the fields of widening participation (WP) and equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), particularly as it pertains to 'race' equity. Additionally Dom has nearly two decades of experience as a trainer and workshop facilitator in a variety of contexts. Dom's PhD explored whiteness in postgraduate education in England. In 2019-20 Dom was part of the Universities UK's Advisory Board on tackling racial harassment on campus which culminated in publishing a nationwide guidance for universities on this issue. Dom's current interest include anti-racist pedagogy and decolonisation.
Dr Ilana Webster-Kogen
Marva de la Coudray
Marva de la Coudray is Head of Access, Participation and Student Success at SOAS University of London. She is an experienced strategist and has worked in widening participation and access for nearly twenty years and sits on several national and regional boards.
At SOAS, Marva is responsible for the strategic direction of strategies relating to the access and success of students from a wide variety of backgrounds. She works with a wide variety of governmental, educational and community partners as part of her role in addressing barriers to education. A passionate advocate for student achievement and education, her broad ranging role includes developing transformative approaches for students from underrepresented groups, and culture change programmes that result in improved outcomes for both students and institutions.
Marva is particularly passionate about the Black student experience from her own journey into and through education, and believes centering Black voices (the most marginalised in society and education) is the key to addressing institutional racism. She is clear that plans, processes, practices and people must change to see true equality of opportunity at SOAS. This is why she has committed to join the Race, Accountability and Listening Action Group.
Karun is the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Project Lead at SOAS, and has previously worked in the same capacity at other higher education institutions including London South Bank University and the University of Cambridge, with a focus on race equality.
Karun’s work at SOAS has focused on a number of projects, including contributing towards the development of the EDI Strategy and Annual Report, identifying key actions to progress the School’s application for the Race Equality Charter, attending Culture@SOAS meetings, and sitting on the Report and Support Action Group, as well as the Steering Group for the Race, Accountability and Listening Project,
Karun also works as Development Officer for 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.
“At SOAS, we have such a vibrant community, which includes staff from a wide range of diverse backgrounds and cultures. In conjunction with this diversity, we must ensure that our ethnic minority staff feel respected and supported, as part of an inclusive working environment. Tackling racism is fundamental in our duty to ensure that all colleagues feel welcome, accepted for who they are, and have a positive experience as part of this shared community.”