University of Leicester sociologist Professor Surinder Sharma appointed High Sheriff of Leicestershire

Posted by pt91 at Apr 05, 2016 03:03 PM |
New appointment to historic role announced

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 5 April 2016

  • Professor Surinder Sharma will take office as High Sheriff of Leicestershire on April 8
  • The historic role will allow Professor Sharma to promote his vision of cultural diversity
  • He is currently a co-director of DICE and honorary visiting fellow in the Department of Sociology

Photograph of Professor Surinder Sharma available to download at:

The co-director of the University of Leicester's Unit for Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement (DICE) Professor Surinder Sharma will take up the role of High Sheriff of Leicestershire on April 8.

Professor Sharma, who moved to Leicester from Kenya in 1965, will take over from the current High Sheriff Gordon Arthur and spend 12 months in the post, before passing the baton to a new appointee.

He was formally appointed by the Queen at the Privy Council meeting on 15 March and will take office at the Handover Ceremony on 8 April at Leicester's Town Hall.

Professor Sharma, a former city councillor and honorary visiting fellow in the Department of Sociology, at the University of Leicester, said: "It's a real honour to nominated and chosen for the position of High Sheriff.

"It's a role which goes back to Saxon times, so there's a historical context to the appointment.

"We've all seen Robin Hood, and the Sheriff of Nottingham.

"That was the original purpose of the job - things like tax collecting, and upholding law and order.

"Now, it's still to do with those things, so it's about supporting the police, as well as the prison service and probation, but it's also about fund-raising and helping charities."

The official charity of the High Sheriff's office is Warning Zone - an interactive learning centre in the city which teaches youngster 'life skills'.

Professor Sharma is chair of the Leicester Race Equality Council and has been working in the diversity and inclusion field for over 35 years.

He said the new role will help him deliver his message of fairness and equality of opportunity to a wider audience - something which he said he strives toward in his role with DICE.

"That is one of the benefits of the role," said Professor Sharma, "I am able to put my own stamp on it.

"One of the many things I'll be working towards will be bringing communities together and greater cohesion within our society."

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “I am delighted that Professor Sharma has received this prestigious appointment that further cements the University’s relationship with the city of Leicester and comes so soon after the launch of the DICE Unit.

“Diversity and community cohesion have formed a core part of his work for many years and will contribute greatly to his role as High Sheriff of Leicestershire.”

The office of High Sheriff is at least one thousand years old and is a royal appointment.

Nowadays, the principal duties are to support the Lord-Lieutenant on royal visits and on other occasions as appropriate, and to offer hospitality and support to visiting High Court judges.

The office is non-political and unpaid.

DICE is a specialised unit based in the Department of Sociology which aims to be at the heart of debates about promoting inclusion and making positive benefits out of diversity.


Notes to editors:

For more information, contact Professor Sharma at or contact the University of Leicester Press Office.

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