Ethnic Diversity Forum (EDF)

The Ethnic Diversity Forum (EDF) is a sub-group of the UL Human Rights – EDI Steering Committee and leads UL’s ongoing efforts to advance inclusion on campus in relation to ethnic equality diversity and inclusion.




    The aim of this forum is to better understand our campus culture in relation to race and minority groups and to develop related policies and implementation plans to ensure that UL develops a culture of inclusion, mutual respect, and equity where difference is valued. 

    The purpose of the forum is to understand and advocate for a positive campus climate in relation to ethnicity, equality, diversity and inclusion and to make recommendations and progress actions that aim to make UL an equitable, safe and respectful work and study environment for all.

    The EDF understands ethnicity to represent groups of people according to their cultural expression nationality, regional culture, ancestry, and language and race to represent a sociological designation that identifies a group sharing some outward physical characteristics and some commonalities of culture and history. Commonalities such as racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin may be used to describe someone’s ethnicity.

    The key objectives of the Forum are:

    •  to educate and engage with staff and students from all ethnic backgrounds to gain a more in-depth understanding of people’s perspectives and lived experiences in UL.
    • to publicly commit to tackling racial and ethnic culturally diverse group harassment, inequality and discrimination as a priority issue and foster a campus-wide culture in which all members of the University community can participate and fulfil their potential regardless of ethnicity, race or minority group membership.
    •  to heighten awareness of intersectionality between culture and ethnicity and other forms of social identity and review and develop policies and procedures and institution-wide strategies for tackling racism and ethnic group harassment, inequality, and discrimination.


    The Ethnic Diversity Forum is led by the Forum Steering Committee. The EDF Steering Committee oversees the workings of the Ethnic Diversity Forum and will report on a quarterly basis through the Chairperson and the Co-Chairperson to the UL Human Rights Equality, Diversity & Inclusions Committee, a sub-committee of the Executive Committee.

    On January 29, 2024, Dr Mariano Paz was appointed Chairperson of the EDF, succeeding Dr Yoga Nathan, and Dr Niloufar Omidi assumed the role of Co-Chairperson.

    The Chairperson and Co-Chairperson lead discussions, set agendas, and maintain focus for the forum. They also oversee communication by representing the forum on the Human Rights EDI Steering Committee, keeping members informed, and acting as spokespersons. Additionally, they will foster collaboration and encourage engagement in EDF activities. 

    The membership of the Committee consists of:

    1. Dr Anca Minescu   
    2. Dr Andrew Shorten 
    3. Dr George Barreto 
    4. Prof Helen Phelan     
    5. Dr James Carr          
    6. Dr Maria Rieder      
    7. Dr Mariano Paz       
    8. Dr Marie Connolly 
    9. Dr Yoga Nathan     
    10. Prof Hussain Mahdi 
    11. Roger Dsilva (Postgraduate Student Union President)
    12. Ronan Cahir (Student Life President)
    13. Dr Niloufar Omidi


    The Forum consists of 3 Working Groups:

    1- The Action Planning Working Group

    2- The Policy, Research and Survey Design Working Group

    3- Events and Social Media Working Group

    For further details, please click here to view the EDF Terms of Reference.

    The Ethnic Diversity Forum (EDF) was set up in 2021 as a consultative forum to support ensuring an inclusive culture where every student and staff member can thrive.

    The forum was officially launched by UL President Kerstin Mey on December 1, 2021, and featured discussions on the forum’s goals and future plans. It initially included UL HR EDI Director, Dr. Marie Connolly, and Forum Co-Chairs, Yoga Nathan, and Mamobo Oghene Ogoro.

    Dr. Amanullah De Sondy, a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam at University College Cork (UCC), joined the event as the keynote speaker, sharing his insights and reflections on race and ethnicity in the HE sector. Dr. Amanullah De Sondy holds a concurrent B.A. in Religious Studies and Education Studies with the Diploma in Education, as well as an M. Litt in Islamic Jerusalem Studies.

    The event also featured an engaging panel discussion facilitated by Mamobo Ogoro, with participants including Sandrine Ndahiro, Catherine Osikoya, and Omar Saal, exploring ‘The Intersectional Perspective on Ethnicity.’ The panelists comprised Mamobo Ogoro, a UL Social Psychology & Applied Linguistics Ph.D. candidate and Deputy Chair of the EDF; Sandrine Ndahiro, a UL English Literature Ph.D. student; Catherine Osikoya, a UL Architecture Graduate; and Omar Saal, a UL Ph.D. candidate in the School of Law and Department of Sociology.


    Please click here to view the EDF Terms of Reference.


    Other related documents:

    Please click here to visit the UL EDI Webpage on Race Equality, where you can find details about the key findings from the sectoral Race Equality Survey conducted in 2021 and the launch of the HEA's Race Equality in the Higher Education Sector Implementation Plan 2022-2024.