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The Blavatnik School of Government is one of the partners involved in a new initiative working to encourage and support people of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority-ethnic) to pursue careers in political leadership. Image credit: Shutterstock

New programme to find next generation of BAME leaders in the UK

The Blavatnik School of Government is one of the partners involved in a new initiative working to encourage and support people of BAME background (Black, Asian and Minority-ethnic), to pursue careers in political leadership. 

The new Pathway to Success Leadership and Development programme is led by the House of Commons, and aims to send out the message that diverse leadership is essential in politics and civil society, while creating a thriving parliamentary democracy.

Run by the UK Parliament and Operation Black Vote (OBV) in collaboration with Oxford University’s Magdalen College and Blavatnik School of Government and Lloyds Banking Group, the initiative works to equip BAME (Black, Asian and Minority-Ethnic) individuals with the tools and knowledge required to stand for political office in the UK.  Participants will gain first-hand experience of Parliament and an enhanced understanding of the political landscape, as well as the skills to take their first step towards a career in frontline politics.

 Professor Peter Kemp, the academic director for the programme, said: 'The Blavatnik School believes that achieving diversity in public policy is essential if governments are to more fully reflect the people they represent – in fact, two-thirds of our students, past and present, are BAME from all around the world. We are therefore delighted to be a partner in the Pathways To Success programme, which will help to prepare participants to better serve the needs of their communities in the UK.'

The residential programme will see participants undertake a week of intensive coaching to build their confidence and familiarity with political settings, and enhance their understanding of the political landscape. Participants will stay in Magdalen College and spend a day in London to visit the Houses of Parliament. They will engage with a variety of outstanding academics, top thinkers and experienced practitioners who have been at the top of the political game, including Blavatnik School’s faculty, such as; Professor Jonathan Wolff and Associate Professor Emily Jones, as well as former special advisor to the UK Prime Minister Nick Timothy, US presidential campaign strategist Parag Mehta and top sports and leadership psychologist Steven Sylvester amongst others.

The Pathway to Success Leadership Development Programme has been created following recommendations from Professor Sarah Childs’ 2016 The Good Parliament Report and is part of a comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to tackle under-representation at senior levels in the House of Commons by 2022.

The programme aims to build in-depth understanding of major political, civic and business ideas through discussion, group activities and input sessions, including:

  • Political philosophy, law and ethics
  • Understanding, making and driving policy
  • Understanding Parliament
  • The media and message framing
  • Understanding communities
  • Understanding the business world
  • The power of the collective and networks
  • Practical implementation
  • The power of storytelling
  • Ethics and decision-making.

OBV alumni Shadow Minister for the Treasury Clive Lewis MP said: 'What a fantastic partnership OBV has assembled. Having had the privilege to be on an OBV programme myself, I know how vital their work is in ensuring people from BAME backgrounds are equipped with the same tools and knowledge to stand for political office. There are still too many institutional barriers that continue to lock out talent, and this work will equip our next generation of leaders from BAME communities to fulfil their true leadership potential and enhance our local and national institutions.'