Professor Surinder Sharma (Doctor of Laws)

Wednesday 12 July, 11am

Surinder Sharma was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and moved to the UK in 1965; he has lived in Leicester ever since. He attended Gateway Grammar School and studied Law at the University of Kent. He began his professional career with the Commission for Racial Equality in 1978, and has worked in the diversity and inclusion field for over 35 years. His career has taken him to a variety of different organisations, including the BBC, the Littlewoods Organisation and Ford Motor Company (Europe). He was elected as a Councillor at Leicester City Council in 1983 and appointed a Justice of the Peace in the same year; he served as a magistrate until 2006. He served as a Commissioner at the Equal Opportunities Commission from 1999 to 2007, where he chaired the Legal Committee, and was appointed in 2004 as the first National Director for Equality and Human Rights at the Department of Health, serving until 2012. He now chairs the Leicester Race Equality Centre. He was a diversity and inclusion consultant globally and to Novartis AG from 2005 to 2012. He is a Trustee of UNICEF UK and of the National Space Centre, and serves as an Independent Person at Leicestershire County Council and chairs the National Governing Council of the Health and Social Care BME Staff Network. He is a Member of the Ministry of Defence Diversity Advisory Panel, a Member of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills Equality Advisory Group and member of the Council of Aston University. He was appointed as an Honorary Alderman of the City of Leicester in 2013 and served as High Sheriff of Leicestershire in 2016/17. He holds Honorary Professorships at the University of Wolverhampton and the University of Manchester Business School and is an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the School of Media, Communications and Sociology at the University of Leicester. He was commissioned as a Deputy Lieutenant for Leicestershire in June this year and that has received honorary doctorates from Birmingham City University & De Montfort University.

Press comment:

"I am very pleased and honoured by this award especially because it is from my home town University in recognition of my contribution to public life and community service both nationally but particularly in Leicester and Leicestershire. This City and County has been my home since my arrival in the United Kingdom in 1965 and has provided me with many opportunities to realise my potential and ambitions. This University had given me the opportunity to continue to promote fairness, equality and cohesion  through working in partnership with local people, local communities and organisations."

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