World peace campaigner to be honoured at graduation ceremonies

A tireless campaigner against child abuse, a world-leading peace activist and one of the most respected academics in De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) history will be honoured at next week’s summer graduation ceremonies.

Over the course of seven days and 19 ceremonies – beginning on Saturday - thousands of final year students will graduate in style at a series of spectacular events held at The Venue@DMU.


To stirring music and dynamic lighting, each newly-crowned graduate will walk across the centre of a stage in the middle of the venue’s main hall, watched by hundreds of cheering parents and classmates.

And this year, DMU will pay tribute to the work and life of three individuals with honorary degrees.

The first of these will go to Padmashri SP Varma, Vice-President of the Gandhi Global Family (GGF).

The GGF runs social awareness programmes in collaboration with the UN, teaching young people about different faiths and promoting diversity and inclusion.


Padmashri SP Varma (right)

Padmashri Varma was inspired to change his life when he met a leading Gandhian, Dr Nirmala Deshpande, in his home state of Jammu and Kashmir.

He left his government job and dedicated himself to the Gandhian movement. He engaged communities in inter-faith meetings, working to rebuild trust in turbulent Doda, Udhampur, Rajouri and Poonch.

Earlier this year DMU’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dominic Shellard, was appointed as a special representative to the United Nations (UN) by the GGF.

Also honoured will be District Judge Sunita Mason CBE, at one time the country’s youngest female Asian judge.

As legal director of children’s charity the National Youth Advocacy Service; as a District Judge, and as adviser to The Home Office, leading a review into the criminal records regime.

That work led to recognition by the Queen, becoming a CBE.

Today, Sunita is a key part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, investigating whether institutions have taken seriously their responsibility to protect children.

And also recognised will be Professor David Wilson, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor at DMU.

A widely-published expert in local government, Professor Wilson became Head of the Department of Public Policy, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law, and ultimately Deputy Vice-Chancellor at DMU, a post he held until retirement. He was then made Professor Emeritus and Pro Chancellor.

This year’s summer graduations start on Saturday with graduates from the Faculty of Technology.

They will be streamed live on DMU’s Facebook page, with live updates on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Posted on Thursday 13th July 2017

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