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UCD EDI Conference: 20 March 2024

Tackling Racism and embracing Cultural Diversity and Intersectionality


UCD EDI Annual Conference 20 March 2024: Tackling Racism and embracing Cultural Diversity and Intersectionality

On 20 March 2024 EDI held its Annual Conference, this year the focus was on Anti-Racism and Cultural Awareness.

We were delighted that the conference was opened by the UCD President Professor Orla Feely.  The keynote speaker was Siobhan McKenna, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Public Appointments Service. We have invited the speakers from the Irish organisations such as Black&Irish, INAR, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre,  Immigrant Council of Ireland, Anti- Racism activist.  The panellists shared their thoughts and experiences on how to create a more equal and inclusive environment for people from all backgrounds and particularly from a minority ethnic group, intersectionality with other equality characteristics and how to raise greater cultural awareness.

One part of the conference was a Consultation session with the UCD Community where we invited employees from all backgrounds and all genders where they had the opportunity to give open and honest opinions and ideas that will feed into the development of the UCD Anti-Racism and Cultural Awareness Action Plan.  During the Lightning Presentations session, UCD academics, researchers and professional staff presented their research and activities in the area of Race, Ethnicity & Cultural Diversity. 

Tristan Aitken, Chief People Officer and Director of SIRC & Legal Services launched the  EDI Report 2022/2023

To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March) and support the development of UCD’s Anti-Racism Action Plan in line with the HEA Anti-Racism Principles, UCD community members were invited to the half day conference and lunch.

Registration 9:30pm - 10am

Opening Address 10:00 -10:15

Professor Orla Feely, UCD President 

Keynote speaker 10:15 - 11:00

Siobhan McKenna, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Public Appointments Service

Moderator: Rory Carey, Director - Culture & Engagement

Panel Discussion 11:00 - 12:00

Moderator: Dipti Pandya, Co - chair of the EDI Anti-racism and Cultural Awareness sub-group  


  • Pierre Yimbog, Black&Irish organisation
  • Dr Prospera Tedam, UCD, Professor in Social Work
  • Shane O'Curry, Director INAR - Irish Network Against Racism
  • Emer O’Neill, Anti- Racism activist, TV presenter,  Author of “The Same But Different”
  • Patrick Reilly, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre
  • Amanda McCabe, Social Care Worker, final year student, UCD School of Policy, Social Work and Social Justice

Launch of the EDI Report 12:00 -12:15

Tristan Aitken, Chief People Officer and Director of SIRC & Legal Services

Master Class: Cross cultural communication 12:20 - 12:50

Kensika Monshengwo, Intercultural Training Coordinator, Immigrant Council of Ireland

Lunch & Consultation session 12:50 - 14:00

Employees from all backgrounds and all genders are invited to a consultation where they will have the opportunity to give open and honest opinions and ideas that will feed into the development of the UCD Anti-Racism and Cultural Awareness Action Plan.  

Lightning Presentations 14:00 - 14:45

UCD academics, researchers and professional staff will present their research and activities in the area of Race, Ethnicity & Cultural Diversity

Dr Elaine O'Reilly, School of Chemistry

Presentation: Missing Elements, RISE Programme.

Dr Elaine Wilson, Dr Niamh Flanagan and students from Wesley College Dublin

Presentation: Starting a conversation about racism with teenagers.

Dr Sheena Hyland, Teaching and Learning

Presentation: Teaching and Learning Across Cultures.

Madame Olayinka Aremu, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems

Presentation: Cultural Diversity and Integration for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs).

Caroline Mangan, UCD Global

Presentation: Cultural Intelligence: A Masterclass Series for UCD students

Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice

Presentation: From student engagement to partnership: Reflections on teaching racism on a social work programme.

Wear Red Day

Wear Red Day is part of our broader campaign, Show Racism the Red Card.

Wear Red Day is on Thursday, the 21st of March, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. People all over Ireland are asked to show their support by standing up to racism and wearing red. Wear Red Day is an important opportunity to send out a strong message that we, as communities, welcome diversity, celebrate it, and take a stand against racism in all forms. Check out our YouTube video, 'Show Racism the Red Card' clip (opens in a new window)here.

We encourage you to Wear Red for the day. Initiative organised by The Immigrant Council of Ireland ((opens in a new window)website)

Consultation session:

Join us for lunch and share your views during the consultation and networking session.

UCD is currently developing its Anti-Racism Action Plan in line with the commitments made under the Anti-Racism Principles developed by the Higher Education Authority for the higher education sector. We would like to invite employees from all backgrounds and all genders to a consultation where you will have the opportunity to give open and honest opinion and ideas that will feed into the development of the UCD Anti-Racism and Cultural Awareness Action Plan. The purpose of the consultations is to understand the experiences of individuals from minority ethnic/race backgrounds in UCD as we strive to make the study and work environment and the experiences of students and employees more inclusive. We therefore invite colleagues of diverse backgrounds, genders, disciplines and employee categories to join and welcome your ideas and lived experiences. 

In case you wish to participate in the consultation session but you are unable to join us for the morning conference sessions, please still register using the conference link

We would like to re-assure all participants that these sessions are confidential and any feedback received will be anonymised so only themes will be fed back. We value everyone’s voice and by coming to the group, participants are making a contribution to UCD's effort in achieving equality.  

Some key themes that will be discussed during the consultation session:

  • Attracting, Retaining and Developing minority ethnic employees in UCD
  • Race/Ethnicity data collation and monitoring (Quantitative and Qualitative) / Platform to have a Voice.
  • Training and Awareness Raising.
  • Reporting harassment/discrimination.
  • Visibility/Participation on Committees, Panels and other fora Supporting diversity amongst students and staff/Teaching and Research


Siobhán McKenna is the Head of ED&I at Publicjobs where she works to ensure that the Irish public sector workforce reflects the diversity of the community it serves. Siobhán returned to Dublin in 2021 after 20 years in the non-profit and public sectors in London. In 2009 she joined Greater London Authority where she developed and delivered programmes for disadvantaged young Londoners and later was a senior advisor on social policy. Siobhán also developed and delivered the workplace equality, diversity and inclusion priorities for the Mayor of London, including the development of a sponsorship programme for women, helping to reduce City Hall’s gender pay gap in 2020 to less than 1%. A board member of Black & Irish, an organisation dedicated to amplifying and empowering the voice and lived experience of the black and mixed-race Irish community. She holds a Batchelors degree in International Social Science from UCD and a Masters in Ethnic and Racial Studies, from Trinity College.

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Prospera Tedam is Professor of Social Work in the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. She has held positions at Universities in England and the United Arab Emirates University. Her research interests are in the areas of culturally sensitive social work, anti-oppression and anti-racism in social work, school social work, as well as decolonising social work research, education and practice.

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Pierre Yimbog is a Co-founder and Managing Director of Black and Irish established in June 2020 to advocate for and make Ireland an inclusive society for the black and mixed race Irish community. Pierre is also Co-Founder & CEO of SoloBook; an early stage travel start up and President for the young professional network; Junior Chambers International Dublin. He graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Law from DIT, and stayed on to become Vice President for Education and President for DIT Students’ Union, and the first President of Technological University Dublin Students’ Union in 2019. He previously worked for Engineers Ireland as Community Engagement Executive for two years. He has a Diploma in Technology and Intellectual Property Law from the Law Society and is currently undertaking a Masters in Corporate Governance at the University of Law.

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Kensika Monshengwo was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and holds a postgraduate degree from the Sorbonne in Paris (1995); his research focused on “The Americanisation of young people of African descent in the Parisian suburbs”. He worked with the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism, under the aegis of the Department of Justice, as Training and Resources Officer; he has extensive experience in Intercultural Training and has worked primarily with decision-makers from government departments, service providers, private sector employers, media organisations and non-governmental organisations in Ireland and abroad. He has also written and disseminated a wide range of advocacy and training materials.

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Amanda McCabe

Amanda McCabe is originally from the island of St.Lucia in the Caribbean. She has lived in Ireland for the past 11 years. Presently, she is a final year student on the Professional Masters in Social Work program, at the School of Policy, Social Work, and Social Justice at UCD.
She also holds a level 8 Bachelor of Arts degree and a Higher National Diploma in Social Care practice. She is a qualified social Care Worker and has worked within the disability sector for the past 10 years. She decided to pursue a career in Social work because she is passionate about supporting marginalised groups and advocating for cultural representation at all levels of leadership

Call for extracts for Lightning Presentations to be presented at the conference:

If you have been involved in research, projects or implementation of actions in your area related to topics such as anti-racism, decolonising the curriculum, enhancing cultural diversity, intersectionality or other topics related to race and ethnicity or we would like to hear from you. Please submit a brief extract of approximately 200 words max to edi@ucd.ie by 5pm on Wednesday, 6 March if you wish to present at the EDI conference. Presentations on the day will be 5 minutes maximum duration.

What are lightning presentations?

Lightning presentations are short presentations that focus on just a couple of key points. Their purpose is to get your point across in a small amount of time where speakers edit their message to focus on the most important elements.

Some tips for preparing lightning presentations:

Background: Keep your message simple and appropriate for a general audience.

Explain the broader significance and rationale for your project/research/initiative.

Think of a good “hook” to get the listener’s attention. You might address these questions:

  • Why did you do this project/research/initiative?
  • Big picture—what is the issue, interest, or need for this work?
  • Why does this work matter to the field of research/School/Unit etc?
  • What was the motivation for this initiative?

Contact UCD Equality Diversity and Inclusion

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
E: edi@ucd.ie