I was delighted to be invited to deliver a few opening words at the launch of the University’s International Staff Network last month. As Professor Nora de Leeuw addressed in her most recent blog post, we are – and are proud to be – an international institution, with over 7,500 international students and staff from 78 countries.
This staff-led network is the result of the Cardiff Futures programme. Even at this early stage the network has recruited nearly 50 members of international staff from 29 countries across the world to act as a point of contact and mentors for new members of staff. I know the value of international collaboration directly from my own work, having published with colleagues from places including the U.S., Colombia, Germany, China and Catalonia.
The work of the international staff network is incredibly important. Not only does it allow us to celebrate our international identity and the diverse community we are privileged to work within at Cardiff, but it gives our international staff a place to get together, to share experiences and to support one another.
Never has the way we connect with our international colleagues (and students) been more important than in recent months. While uncertainty is still prevalent following the outcome of the Brexit vote, what we can be certain of – and need both current and prospective staff to be confident in – is that we are an international and friendly institution that welcomes and encourages diversity.
Networks like this will go a long way to supporting both incoming and current international staff. My congratulations and gratitude go to Monika Hennemann, Stephen Man, Christopher Jones and Carlos Ugalde Loo for their hard work in setting this up. I look forward to watching it develop over the coming months and years.