Intercultural dialogue between Europe and Islam

November 1, 2012 in Gus talks, Lectures by Gus John

On October 31st, professor Gus John delivered a research seminar entitled “Intercultural Dialogue and Mutual Respect between Europe and Islam – The challenge for Education” at the University of Birmingham. Here is the lecture in full:

Let me thank my friend and comrade Dave Gillborn for nominating me to deliver this lecture and thank the School of Education for the invitation to do so.

Professor David Gillborn is one of the few academics in this country who has courageously and consistently engaged education practitioners, policymakers and fellow academics on the issue of race, ethnicity and education in the last period, especially in this era of neo-liberalism and the marketization of schooling and education.  We owe a lot to him for his clarity of vision, the incisiveness of his analysis, the relevance of his research and his perseverance in encouraging teachers, students and voluntary education projects to be bold, to think outside the box and to challenge establishment ‘wisdom’. Activists for children’s education rights, like myself, in communities across the country, continue to look to him for academic research evidence and policy analysis to support our perennial struggles.  For me, and I dare to say it in this forum, that is an even more critical endorsement for any academic than the validation of one’s peers.  It therefore gives me great pleasure to be able to share some thoughts with you today to mark the start of Prof Gillborn’s professorship at this university.

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Mending Broken Britain? Education’s Response

September 28, 2012 in Blog, Lectures, Speeches by Gus John

Last February, Professor Gus John delivered a keynote address at the “Mending Broken Britain? Education’s Response” Conference, which was organised by Curriculum Enrichment for the Common Era (CE4CE) and sponsored by Birmingham City University.

Against the background of the riots that spread across Britain in August 2011, this national conference aimed to unpick something of the complex causes of the unrest and analyse the crucial role of education in addressing these profound issues. The output of the conference has now been turned into a report that you can read here. Read the rest of this entry →

Promoting social justice through schooling and education

October 10, 2008 in Gus talks, Lectures by Gus John

This speech was delivered on October 10th, 2008, at the Second Anthony Walker Memorial Lecture (promoted by the National Union of Teachers) in London.

Chair, I am deeply honoured to have been asked to deliver this, the second Anthony Walker Lecture.

Let me first of all pay tribute to two people.  The first is Mrs Gee Walker, Anthony’s mother, who delivered the inaugural lecture last October and is with us here today.  Gee Walker is by any measure a formidable and extraordinary woman, formidable in her strength and her capacity to sow peace and not let herself or her family be destroyed by a corrosive anger and rage at the senseless murder of Anthony.  Extraordinary because she was and still insists on remaining an ordinary mother, living her values and doing the best by her children.  If Hazel Blears and her REACH committee really want to hold up role models for black young men or anybody else to emulate, they should acknowledge and pay due respect to the Gee Walkers of this land and the hundreds of thousands more like her that lead and steer holistic families of sons, daughters, uncles, nephews and grandparents.

The second person to whom I wish to pay the warmest of tributes is my late friend and comrade, Steve Sinnott, General Secretary of this great Union until his untimely death in April this year.  Steve it was whose inspiration gave rise to the establishment of this lecture. He wanted the National Union of Teachers to honour Anthony and his memory by erecting this dynamic monument.  He wanted the Union on its own behalf and on behalf of teachers and professional educators everywhere to honour the Walker family and to rise to their heartfelt plea, a plea made by Gee Walker at the end of her lecture last year:

Help me to make this world a safer place for Anthony’s niece and nephew and for all children to live and work, to live the dream of that great man, Dr Martin Luther King. Read the rest of this entry →