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    Welcome to the official website for Future Leaders magazine, an annual publication which profiles 100 of the UK’s most outstanding African and African Caribbean students and new graduates.

3. Sofia Akel, 23

School: University of Lancaster
Course: Management (MSc)
Grade Average: First Class (equivalent)
First degree: History (BA)
School: University of Lancaster
Grade: 2:1

 

In 2016, So a brought the NUS Campaign of ‘Why is my Curriculum White?’ to Lancaster University. The campaign, part of a global movement, challenges Eurocentric domination and lack of diversity in the higher education curricula. This resulted in a campus-wide, cross-departmental debate, which led to the auditing of some of the course modules and teaching styles. Sofia and her team also organised a separate successful teacher- training event, in which a module based on the campaign was unveiled. Based on its success, the campaign was named ‘Campaign of the Year’ and ‘Ethnic Minority Campaign of the Year’ at the Student Union end- of-year awards. “It took a lot of dedication, passion and perseverance,” reveals So a, “and we were met with a lot of backlash and ‘blocks’ set to prevent us from achieving our goals, as it is such a highly political debate.

“However, I relied on my personal experience to enable me to continue forming a group, fighting, and launching the most successful student-led campaign on campus in recent years.” In 2015, So a founded One Love Radio (now One Love Org), a social enterprise that gives a voice to the BME student community at Lancaster University and beyond, by tackling issues faced due to race, and by creating opportunities. “When I first joined Lancaster University in 2013, I was astounded by the lack of diversity and resultant lack of representative media which failed to cater to our expanding presence, so I decided it was imperative to fill that gap in order to build a community for BME students,” she says. As the magazine went to print So a was announced as the Director, Trustee and Welfare and Community Officer for the University of Lancaster’s Student Union.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? With my social enterprise reaching communities, not just universities.

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