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Queen Mary marks winning first-ever Platinum award for Public Engagement and launches Civic University Agreement

Queen Mary hosted an event celebrating becoming the first university to be awarded the Platinum-level Engage Watermark, alongside launching its Civic University Agreement.

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The Watermark was awarded by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) in December of last year. It was a direct recognition of Queen Mary’s sustained excellence in supporting public engagement. This achievement built on Queen Mary’s already exemplary reputation for public engagement excellence, having been the first university to be awarded a Gold Engage Watermark in 2016.

The evening also marked the inauguration of Queen Mary’s Civic University Agreement - a commitment developed by Queen Mary’s Centre for Public Engagement outlining how the University will support East London’s society, culture and economy. Over 300 people who live, work or study in East London – residents, third sector organisations, businesses, Queen Mary staff and students – helped us develop this agreement which sets out how Queen Mary can play a positive and engaged role in the future of our local community.

Speaking at the event was Bushra Nasir, CBE. Bushra was one of the first Muslim headteachers in the country when she became Headteacher at Plashet School in Newham. She was a former student at Queen Mary and was made an Honorary Fellow in 2008. Addressing those in attendance, Bushra recalled her time at Queen Mary and her pride in having attended the University, as well as the importance of having connections to the local community and the pleasure she takes from being involved with the University to this day.

She said: “Since I began my degree at Queen Mary in 1970, the university has been an intrinsic part of my personal and professional life. As a teacher and head teacher in East London, many of my students have gone on to study here, and many more have benefitted from the support Queen Mary, and its staff and students, provide to schools in the local area.

“I congratulate Queen Mary on the launch of its Civic University Agreement. I was delighted to play a part in its development and I look forward seeing the fruits of this work benefit the lives of our local communities in the months and years to come. I also congratulate Queen Mary on its Platinum Watermark for public engagement. These two achievements further underline Queen Mary’s unwavering commitment to its local community.”

Speaking at the event, Professor Colin Bailey, President and Principal at Queen Mary University of London, said: “A defining characteristic of all our work at Queen Mary is our commitment to our local community. When it comes to engaging with the public, we lead the way – it’s built within our DNA and shows what we stand for as a university.

“Today we acknowledge our work and celebrate success, but we also look forward to the future, launching our first ever Civic University Agreement. We also have exciting plans to evolve our civic work further, through flagship initiatives such as our London City Institute of Technology, in collaboration with Newham College.”

Professor Bailey also discussed Queen Mary’s engagement with the local community throughout the pandemic, hosting Tower Hamlets’ first vaccination centre on campus, housing key workers in Queen Mary accommodation and offering free meals for local families.

Guests were treated to performances by Phakama Young Creatives, a talented local artistic organisation based at Queen Mary, as well as music from the Queen Mary Jazz Quartet.

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