Dr Nazia Khanum has a BA (Hons) and MA in Political Science from Dhaka University and a PhD in History from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. After performing senior roles in five English local authorities, she became founder Director of Equality in Diversity - an independent management, research, training and community empowerment Community Interest Company. She is Chair of Luton British Bangladesh Helping Hand, Luton Multicultural Women’s Coalition (1996 to date) and Purbachal – the eastern sky. Her previous jobs included: lecturer in Political Science at the University of Dhaka; Commonwealth Speaker and Teaching Fellow at Commonwealth Institute, London; Education Officer at Luton Community Relations Council; Senior Health Promotion Officer in Bedfordshire Health Promotion Agency. She is the first Asian woman to become a Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire in its 500 year- history.
Dr Khanum is a tireless international champion of human rights, education, equalities, especially gender equality and elimination of violence and promotion of respect for and celebration for diversity and peace. Her passion and achievements have been recognised by numerous awards including: OBE from HM the Queen, Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bedfordshire, Ambassador for Peace from Women’s Federation of World Peace; Kobi Mozammel Haque Foundation, Bangladesh; Rotary Club - Dhaka West; Asiatic Society of Bangladesh; Luton Committee for Racial Harmony; Luton Forum; Pakistan Kashmir Youth Forum; House of Lords Honours Award for British Muslims; Gujarati Mitra Mandal; Bangladesh Youth League; Grassroots; Luton Council of Faiths; Bedfordshire Community Development Foundation, Luton Training and Mentoring; UK Bangla Mirror Group.
David Cheesman was brought up in India, Ghana, Nigeria, Jersey and Turkey, and mostly educated in England. His first job was as a Lecturer in English at the University of Constantine, Algeria. He has a PhD in South Asian history from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and has published academic articles and a book on the economic and social history of Sindh in Pakistan, as well as papers about decolonisation in Africa, community cohesion in the UK, and Islam and secularism in Britain and France. He was an external examiner and later Visiting Professor of Society and Development at Sheffield Hallam University.
During the 1980s, he carried out efficiency initiatives in the court service of England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a member of the Lord Chancellor’s management scrutiny team, and later ran the UK government’s urban programme for inner city development in Hackney and Southwark. As Head of Policy and Research at the Housing Corporation, the government agency formerly responsible for regulating social housing in England, he operated a £2m per year research programme, directing over 200 projects designed to support and improve housing policy. He has arranged, chaired or spoken at numerous national and international seminars and conferences. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Statistical Society, and a member of the American Statistical Association.
As well as being a director of Equality in Diversity, he works in financial services, is a board member and former chair of Squared Housing Association and a board member of the United Nations Association – Luton Branch.