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Leicester graduate to receive First Citizenship Award

Former student in European Politics Riaz Ravat.

Leicester graduate to receive First Citizenship Award

Riaz Ravat recognised for work in promoting good interfaith relations

Issued on 05 July 2010

An interfaith worker who has worked tirelessly with communities and public organisations to promote interfaith understanding is to receive a major award in recognition of his efforts.

On Monday 12th July 2010, Riaz Ravat is to receive the Leicestershire First Citizenship Award at a ceremony together with a cheque for £3000 which will be given to St Philip’s Centre to develop its work in promoting good interfaith relations.

Riaz graduated with an MA in European Politics in 2000.

The award is a celebration of Riaz’s achievements both inside and outside of work in strengthening interfaith dialogue and action. Riaz is currently Faith Training Development Manager at St Philip’s Centre where he has accomplished notable successes. He manages the religion and belief training courses for public bodies including the Police, local authorities, schools and colleges, mentors young trainees in secure institutions, co-ordinates interfaith sports projects and works with colleagues to organise public dialogue groups.

Riaz has a strong track record of wider local and national interfaith work. He was Leicester’s first Faiths Regeneration Development Officer in 2003, leading a project sponsored by the Diocese of Leicester, Leicester Council of Faiths and Voluntary Action Leicester which produced a report analysing faith-led social action. He also pioneered the Discover Leicester Faiths open top Bus Tours which visited places of worship. From 2004 – 2007, Riaz was appointed Publicity Officer for the Burton upon Trent Interfaith Network and since 2005 he has been advisor to MBCOL - a social welfare charity. He is currently working with the Faith-based Regeneration Network UK to mentor a faith-based project in Bedford.

Riaz said, “I was stunned when I received news of this award because it is a tremendous honour to be recognised by my home county. Although I am the recipient of this award, I do not forget those past and present who have impacted upon my life and they must share this mark of distinction. Receiving this award makes me even more determined in my work and I look forward to pressing ahead with the interfaith agenda both locally and beyond”.

Riaz has received many congratulations from faith communities and beyond:

The Revd Canon Dr John Hall, Director of St Philip’s Centre said, “Riaz has made an invaluable contribution to the development of St Philip’s Centre for study of faith and engagement in multi faith Leicester. In no small part the St Philip’s Centre’s growing national and international reputation for excellence in this field is down to the groundwork and contribution Riaz has made”.

Resham Singh Sandhu MBE, Vice Chair Leicestershire Faiths Forum and Trustee of Faiths Forum East Midlands said, “I have known Riaz for many years through his work in interfaith matters. Riaz wrote an excellent report in 2004 looking into issues facing the different faith communities in Leicester and this is still widely referenced today. His work over the years has had a great impact on the way faith communities work within the city. Riaz has a very good understanding of multi faith issues, he has a flexible, intellectual approach and is a good listener and of sound judgement”.

Councillor Manjula Sood MBE said, “On behalf of the Leicester Council of Faiths, I am delighted that Riaz has won this award. Riaz has made a remarkable contribution to interfaith understanding and cohesion within the city. He is a dynamic individual and an inspirational role model for young people – he is very hardworking and I am pleased his efforts have been recognised and rewarded”.

Leon Charikar from the Jewish community commented, “Riaz takes every effort to reach out to the different communities in Leicester. He has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the different faiths and respects their different approaches. Riaz is very good at building relationships between different faith communities”.

Suleman Nagdi MBE from the Federation of Muslim Organisations added, “I am absolutely thrilled that Riaz has won this award, it is a well deserved honour for someone who is young, dynamic and who has set such a fine example of how people from minority backgrounds can contribute to the life of our city and country. Riaz is an inspiration to others in the community and we share in this reward”.

Dr. Harriet Crabtree, Director of the Inter Faith Network for the UK said, "I was delighted to learn that Riaz Ravat has received a Citizenship Award from Leicestershire First. It is a most fitting recognition for his committed, creative and innovative work over many years to promote community cohesion and good inter faith relations".

Two important organisations Riaz has worked very closely with are the Police and Leicester College. Detective Inspector Geoff Brooks of Leicestershire Constabulary said, “I am personally very pleased that Riaz has been given this important award and it is richly deserved. Riaz has been influential in delivering training to local officers, police staff and Police Community Support Officers to raise their awareness and understanding of the diverse communities we work within”.

Ruth Pickersgill, Diversity Manager at Leicester College said, “Since working with Riaz and the St Philip’s Centre the college has raised the profile of faith and interfaith issues as well as improving the understanding and tolerance of our staff and students in relation to these issues”.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

  1. St Philip’s Centre is a charity set up in 2006 and is rooted in the multi-faith environment of Leicester, the UK’s most ethnically diverse city. We have a superb track record of promoting positive community relations through our dialogue groups, leadership programmes for young people, charitable activities and organisation of community events such as the UK’s first ever Imams Vs Clergy football and cricket matches. St Philip’s Centre also specialises in providing religion and belief training to numerous public bodies including the Police, local authorities and educational institutions as well as initiatives for members of the public. In 2008 the Centre received a commendation from the Institute of Community Cohesion in recognition of its work in building bridges across cultures.
  2. www.stphilipscentre.co.uk
  3. For more information about the Leicestershire First Awards visit www.leicestershirefirst.org.uk
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