We were honoured to host the latest instalment of our annual student-led formal to celebrate Oxford University’s BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds) community on November 10th.

Over a hundred students and their guests enjoyed a menu designed to embrace the diversity of the diners, complemented by speeches from Somerville alumni and academics. Common themes of experiences, defying expectations, and the power of those gathered in the packed hall to create change emerged between the evening’s guest speakers, including Jacques Delors Professor of Law Iyiola Solanke; former JCR President and founder of the BAME formals Talisha Ariarasa (2018, Law); Martha Mends (PPE, 2010); and Cambridge University Master of Law student, Richard Wagenländer (2018, Law).

The BAME formal is organised each year through the brilliant efforts of students from our JCR. Ethnic Minorities Officers Minshu Gupta (2021, Medicine) and Tariq Saeed (2021, Biology) did an amazing job of creating this year’s moving celebration.

“The importance of events like these were felt in the empowering atmosphere of the night, challenging perceptions of Oxford and who belongs here,” said Tariq.

“The event was a much-needed opportunity for POC in Somerville and across the university to celebrate our diversity,” Minshu added.

“It is extremely important in institutions like Oxford to create safe spaces for individuals who contribute so much to its growth and success.”

The dinner was followed by a performance in the Terrace Bar by Briana Williams, whose soulful singing was a perfect way to round off the evening’s atmosphere of joy and festivity.

Hosting the BAME formal is such a privilege for us, and we are so proud of our students who have created this tradition. We hope we can welcome you back next year!

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