To mark three decades of the IWA’s role in making Wales better, we decided to look forward to ‘the next thirty years’ by introducing some of the people who will be shaping ‘the Welsh agenda’ as the future unfolds. We have teamed up with PricewaterhouseCoopers and their #GreatWales campaign, which celebrates the ideas and people who contribute to the Wales of the future.
Shazia Awan, 34, is a Presenter, Communications Consultant, Writer and Equality Campaigner
working in Cardiff & London
I am incredibly proud to be Welsh and having grown up in Wales and studied here it is important to me that I’m always showcasing Wales in everything that I do. One day it might be talking about the importance of devolution, the Welsh Language and the Eisteddfod on the live three-hour debate show I host on BBC Asian Network and some days it’s things such as writing articles about the importance of equality and diversity in Welsh life and politics and often highlighting when politicians or indeed the Assembly commission get things wrong.
Last year I wrote an article for the New Statesman which highlighted how very wrong the Assembly Commission had got things with their equality form: they only had an option for people to identify as white and Welsh. I feel compelled to use my voice to highlights wrongs such as this. Within 24 hours of filing my piece, the Assembly Commission had publicly given a statement saying they would amend their form. Wales has a long way to go in the equality and diversity agenda in many areas and only by working together can we get on the right path.
I am passionate about creating a fairer society for all and I believe that’s reflected in my writing and broadcasting. I love the challenge of interviewing people on the show from the perpetrators of domestic violence to A-list Actors and the Government’s independent counter-terror advisor. I love writing for national publications and my campaigning work has always been incredibly important to me.
Being born in Caerphilly and growing up Cardiff, I’ve grown up in a Wales where I have not seen people who look like me take roles of power whether it be in politics in Wales or third sector organisations. This has never felt good enough. It is clear to me that the Welsh Government and third sector organisations and businesses have a lot of work to do in Wales if they are to fully represent the strong heritage and diversity of people that live and work here and proudly identify as Welsh. Ultimately I’d like to see Wales flourish on the international stage at every opportunity and for that to happen the people and politics that we see must reflect all that live here.
Each day, throughout the month of June, we are celebrating the exceptional people on the Next 30 list by publishing a short pen portrait here on Click on Wales, as well as raising their profile on Twitter using #IWAnext30 and #GreatWales to highlight the exciting contributions these people are making to Wales’ future.
While you’re here, we’ve got something to ask you: will you join us?
We’re working every day to bring the right people together and generate the ideas to make Wales a world-leading force.
We’re independent of government and political parties. We provide a much-needed space for open, transparent debate about the ideas that can make Wales better.
To continue to do this, we need people like you to join us.
Join us today and you’ll be supporting vital work that’s making our country better than ever.