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A ‘Diwali Celebration Event’ was held on the Derry~Londonderry campus on Friday 17 November 2023.

The event was hosted by Ulster University Students’ Union’s International Students Society-Magee, in collaboration with the university’s BAME+ Network.

'Diwali' is a Hindi language word derived from the Sanskrit word 'Deepavali' which means 'a row of light'. It is celebrated by Hindus worldwide by lighting rows of traditional clay oil lamps outside their homes to symbolise the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

Staff and students along with their spouses, partners, kids, and friends, joined the event with full enthusiasm, with several donning their traditional attire. The event facilitated discussion among the participants about Diwali and its significance in the Hindu religion and traditions.

Professor Mary Hannon-Fletcher, Dean of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, welcomed all the attendees, and said:

“It was a pleasure to join in with the Diwali Celebrations. I met so many interesting students and colleagues, learned a lot about Diwali not least there is more than one story! I always enjoy the opportunity to meet colleagues and students (and their children) and learn about their traditions and religion. I always come away inspired.”

Nomathamsanqa Tholo, Vice-Chair of UUSU’s International Students Society, said:

"In celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights, we came together staff and students to illuminate our campus with joy and cultural vibrancy. The event was a spectacular fusion of traditional rituals, vibrant evening, and the warmth of shared traditions. It showcased the International Students Society's dedication to fostering an inclusive environment and embracing the diversity of our international community. The laughter, colours, and spirit of Diwali created lasting memories, reinforcing our commitment to unity in diversity and the richness it brings to our university experience.”

Dr Priyank Shukla, Chair of Ulster University’s BAME+ Membership & Community Working Group, said:

“The idea of such events, organised by BAME+ Network in collaboration Ulster University Student Union’s societies, is to connect BAME+ international students and staff with local students and staff in the university and local community. Events such as this are very important as they not only facilitate in raising cultural awareness, as we learn about different cultures and traditions, but they also help in building new friendships and collaborations. The event also gave us the opportunity to discover new and different opportunities to work together. This is especially important for our international community who are away from their home countries.”

Find out more

Ulster University’s BAME+ Network aims to create a community for both staff and students from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to connect and support each other. The network seeks to identify, address, and find solutions to the disparities, needs, priorities and concerns of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic staff and students, so that the BAME community in the University feel represented, appreciated and have equal opportunities.

Contact Ulster University’s BAME+ Network by email to

Ulster University Students’ Union’s International Students Society-Magee aims to build an international community where all international students are welcome, as well as home students who are interested in learning more about cultural diversity and making international friends. The society is open to those on other campuses, and we encourage all students to come be a part of our exciting journey.

Find out more by visiting UUSU’s International Students Society-Magee.