UN Sustainable Development Goals

Equality, inclusion and non-discrimination for all students and staff

Dr. Georgette Zinaty

Executive Vice President Corporate Class Inc.Leadership+DEIB Expert |2x TEDx Speaker | CILAR Innovator |1 of 6 Canadian Empowering Women | Founder WHEW! (Women Helping Empower Women) | Thought Leader | Forbes Contributor

February 22nd 2022 - Canada

WHERS, World Higher Education Ranking Summit - Ensuring Equality, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the inaugural World Higher Education Ranking Summit. This groundbreaking event brings together visionary leaders in higher education, dedicated change-makers, innovators, policymakers, and human rights activists. Together, they explore cutting-edge technologies and innovative systems to propel educational institutions forward. The focus of today's summit is a matter of paramount importance: how universities can secure equality, inclusion, and non-discrimination for all students and staff.

The esteemed panel of guests includes Dr. Georgette Zinati, the Executive Vice President at Corporate Class Inc. and Practice Lead for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Georgette, an alumna of the University of Toronto, brings her extensive expertise to the discussion, including her work empowering women through the initiative "Why Not? Women Helping Empower Women."

Rita Kakati Shah, a multi-award-winning Career Strategist, advisor to Fortune 500 companies, author, and TV show host, joins us. Rita founded Uma, an international diversity and inclusion coaching group and corporate training platform, aimed at empowering minorities worldwide.

Marc Limon, the Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group, joins us from Geneva. Marc's distinguished career includes diplomatic service at the United Nations Human Rights Council, where he actively contributed to human rights policy. The Universal Rights Group is renowned for its global efforts in strengthening international human rights.

The conversation begins with a focus on the definition of non-discrimination, rooted in Article One of international law. This definition encompasses any distinction, exclusion, or preference based on factors such as race, gender, religion, and social origin. Non-discrimination is fundamental to every educational institution worldwide.

The discussion shifts to address the challenges students face when encountering discrimination within educational environments. Marc emphasizes that discrimination violates international human rights principles, and states must ensure equal access to education, including at the university level. Universities, though not bound by international law, hold a moral responsibility to admit students without discrimination.

The panel highlights the pervasive issue of unconscious bias in decision-making processes and the importance of moving from good intentions to meaningful integration. Dr. Georgette shares an example of how online admissions reduced bias and led to a surge in female admissions at a prestigious French school during the pandemic.

Dr. Rita underscores that students' backgrounds and preconceptions play a significant role in their experiences within educational institutions. She emphasizes the need to address these biases and educate students and faculty about diversity and inclusive practices.

In conclusion, the panel stresses the significance of diversity and non-discrimination, not only as moral imperatives but also as factors that enhance educational experiences, benefit the national economy, and promote a fair and inclusive society. The future of education is global, and it necessitates a multifaceted approach encompassing training, policy changes, and shifts in mindset.

Join us in this pivotal discussion on achieving equality, inclusion, and non-discrimination in higher education, shaping the future of learning and society as a whole.

Speakers Info


Dr. Georgette Zinaty Executive in Residence at Redeemer University

Dr. Georgette Zinaty is an entrepreneurial, results-oriented professional with a seasoned ability to intelligently gauge the needs of others and turn them into effective strategies and actions. She is accustomed to seeking out innovative solutions to problems while harnessing the energy and intelligence of her team and her collaborative partners.


Dr. Rita Kakati-Shah Founder & CEO at UMA

Rita Kakati-Shah is a distinguished figure in the world of gender, diversity, inclusion, and career strategy. As an accomplished speaker, author, and trusted advisor to Fortune 500 corporations, she has left an indelible mark on the global business landscape.


Marc Limon Executive Director at Universal Rights Group

Marc Limon is an accomplished leader in the field of international relations and human rights, currently serving as the Executive Director at Universal Rights Group, a prominent organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. With a career spanning over a decade in various diplomatic and advocacy roles, Marc has consistently demonstrated his dedication to advancing global human rights and public policy.

Session Script: Equality, inclusion and non-discrimination for all students and staff


Ladies and gentlemen, I'm honored to welcome you to the very first World Higher Education Ranking Summit. And the summit brings together the world's brightest minds in higher education, prominent change makers, and innovators, policymakers, and human rights activists, to adopt new technologies, and implement new innovative systems that will drive your institution forward. And today's topic is imperative for every university and every higher institution across the globe. Because today, we will discuss how universities can guarantee equality and inclusion for all students and staff. And I'm honored because we have incredible people on board today, people that drive change in their communities and that work hard on implementing non-discrimination, empowerment, and equality policies around them. And let me start by introducing our honoree panelists today.

Let me introduce you to Dr. Georgette Zinati. Dr. Georgette is currently the Executive Vice President at corporate class Inc. and Practice Lead for their Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Georgette, we will extremely help happy to hear your insights on how you work within the field of diversity and inclusion. Dr. Georgette is an alumna of the University of Toronto. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Liverpool and a master of sound from the Henley School of Business and leading strategic change within the organization from Harvard University. She also holds a doctorate in Business Administration, and doctor now His research focuses on business leadership, diversity, inclusion, and the future of leadership. And I know that Dr. Georgette, you have your initiative that you help women help empower women, and I'm going to be honored if you tell us more about it after we start. It's called, why not? You women helping empower women.

Dr. Georgette
Women helping empower women.

Thank you so much. We're looking forward to hearing more about this extraordinary initiative. And now I would like to introduce Rita Kakati Shah. Rita, thank you so much for joining us today as a multi-award-winning Career Strategist, and adviser to Fortune 500. Companies, author, and TV show host Rita is an extraordinary woman who has founded Uma, an international diversity and inclusion coach, and consultant, consulting Group, and corporate training platform that empowers minorities around the world. This is truly extraordinary because we have Dr. Georgette and Rita with your initiative that is also aimed to tackle the issue of discrimination and help women around the world thrive. And it's amazing to see you as you're a graduate from King's College London, my alma mater, always a pleasure when King's College graduate is doing something incredible for the community.

So, Rita holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Commonwealth University See, and she has been advocating for gender equality, diversity, inclusion, and empowering women around the world. Thank you so much, Rita, for your time today.
I would like to introduce you to Marc Limon is joining us today from Geneva. And Marc Limon is an executive director of the universal rights group at Think Tank focused on international human rights policy, with offices in Geneva, New York, and Bogota. Before founding the universal rights group. In 2013, Marc Limon worked as a diplomat of the United Nations Human Rights Council, from the body's establishment in 22,016, until the end of 2012. This included participating in the negotiations are the institution-building package on the console midterm review, and negotiations towards implementing environmental rights between 2016 and 2012, Merced with marriage reports for UN human rights bodies, and has been extremely active within the field of human rights promotion. And it's truly impressive, the scope of work that the universal rights group has done to strengthen international human rights across the world. Thank you so much for joining us today from across the world. I'm honored to have such distinguished guests today, discussing an imperative topic, diversity and inclusion and non-discrimination and priority.

We start this conversation; I think it's very important to stress the definition of non-discrimination. And the useful definition of nondiscrimination is contained in Article One of me all, which provides that discrimination includes any distinction, exclusion, or preference made based on race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction, or social origin, which has the effect of impairing equality of opportunity, or treatment in the employment or occupation. And this is extremely vital for every institution across the globe, the notion of non-discrimination.

My first question today will be addressed to Marc, as you've been working in the field of human rights protection. And you've been working towards the implementation of new policies regarding human rights across the world. Could you please tell us what should be done when students face discrimination? And what are the international human rights organizations? What are their steps? What is their stand on that? How have you, for example, in the universal rights group, countered the discrimination and inequality that come from students, staff, or anyone who referred to you?

Students problems when they face discrimination

Thank you, Angelika. It's nice to be here and to see you all so many powerful women and powerful voices. It's good to be the one male voice on this panel, as you correctly say, and it's not just in the ILO conventions, nondiscrimination and equality are key founding principles of international human rights law. They are there, these principles of non-discrimination and equality is central to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are central to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
Now, the Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, one of the rights that's protected and promoted in that covenant, which all states are therefore supposed to promote, and protect, is the right to education, which of course, includes primary education, secondary education, and tertiary education. And the point I want to make is these principles of non-discrimination and equality refer to all of the rights in the covenant, including the right to education. So states must ensure there is equal access to education, including university education, as you said, nobody should be discriminated against because of their race, ethnic background or gender, or disability they might have, that it's just illegal. It's not even a question of doing the right thing. States have to ensure that none of that happens. And we've all seen the past a mess record in the 1960s, for example, where African Americans were prevented from attending school, what happens when governments violate those obligations?

Now, when it comes to universities, it's slightly more complicated than that, because University universities as private sector organizations don't have obligations under international human rights law. But they do have responsibilities. And this has been shown by the United Nations Human Rights Council. And its work on business and human rights, especially the UN guiding principles on business and human rights, which makes clear those businesses even though they don't have obligations, to promote the right to education, for example, without discrimination, do have a responsibility to do so. And so, what does that mean for universities, including those covered by your ranking? Well, it means they have a moral responsibility to ensure that all students are accepted. Not all students are accepted. But no students are discriminated against i.e., not able to enter the university because of their ethnic background or national background or gender, or disability status. The first part of your question, which will be the second part of my answer, is what happens when they don't do that? Well, students are protected under international human rights law, because students are like anybody else rights holders, even if they're minor, still, as children, they have full protection under international human rights law. So, they have recourse to remedy.

Of course, the first recourse to remedy is at the national level. So, if a child or a student feels they've been discriminated against because of the color of their skin, their gender, or their sexual orientation, then they can take that up with the national authorities, whether it's the ombudsman or whether it's going to court to hold the university accountable in court. And that's happened all over the world.
Once that domestic remedy is exhausted, for example, if the government or the court system doesn't want to address that violation of the person's human rights, then the student can have recourse to the international protection mechanisms, whether that's the UN Special Reporters, whether it's the High Commissioner, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, whether it's the treaty bodies, so they can make individual complaints to those un mechanisms and seek recourse. So that's human rights. So, it's really clear that universities are not allowed to discriminate against people.

I would also, then I'll finish, spin that on its head, and say that we shouldn't only look at this negatively, that universities are not allowed to discriminate against people, we should also spin it positively and make the very important point that promoting equality and non-discrimination is good, I mean, it's a good thing to do not only the right thing to do, but it's also the good thing to do for the university because it generates an inclusive, diverse student body, where it's more enjoyable for students to participate, the university will do better because it has a more diverse range of voices and students of different backgrounds. And the last thing is, it's good for the national economy as well. Because education and access to the right to education, especially university education, have enormous benefits for national economies. And again, the more diverse the range of people are, who can attend university, including those from different socio-economic backgrounds, then the better it is for the education system of the country. And the best better is in the long term for the economy and society in the country.

Dr. Georgette
I just want to, that all of that is very accurate. I would say that under my underlying all of that is unconscious bias. And so, the intent, I always talk about moving from good intentions to integration, not just implementation. So, if there's unconscious bias and decisions are being made about admissions, and they're skewed towards as we're making those decisions, we may not be realizing that we're all punching people out. So, what was interesting, for example, is there was an I covered this case in training that I do is there was a school in France called a cold, superior, normal, and I'm butchering my French here, in terms of how I said the name of the school, but this school was admitting students. And because of COVID, they were no longer doing in-person interviews. So, they went to these online where people were submitting stuff online, and they didn't know necessarily the gender of the people that were submitting. And so, as a result of that, they saw a super high increase of women being admitted compared to previous years, because it was based on the quality of the admission and no longer couldn’t they see the person.

It was sort of these that were not a factor in terms of the decision making. So, I couldn't see, I couldn't see read, I couldn't see you, I could just see great content. And so, they saw a surge in the number of women that were admitted as a result of that. And that was just last year or the year before, this was during COVID. We can talk about good intentions, and we can talk about all of the policies that you put into place. But if unconscious bias is still a play, that's not going to give you the outcome that you're looking for. So I think it’s, we have to be thinking about, taking all of that it's great, but how you apply that and put that into practice and, and these things is going to help us make a difference.

Thank you so much, Dr. Georgette. And applying to what Marc has just mentioned, this is imperative for every institution to follow those things. However, we have this thing where there is it's hard to gather evidence on the discrimination when it happens. And for students, for example, they can feel it, they can see this minor discriminations towards them in any way, shape or form. But it's not like they have been declined the right to study, it's not that it's this minor thing that can be felt in the classroom, this is prioritization to certain students. I know what I'm talking about, because I have bases, because, uh, when you're in the class, and certain students' opinion is referred to as more valuable. This is discrimination, and how do you go to international human rights organizations and talk about this? It's like, it seems to be minor, but this minor thing, shapes the fact that people from minority groups are afraid to speak out, they feel underrepresented, and they do not have as much of an opportunity, as others. What do you think should be done here? And maybe I can refer to Rita, I know you're doing a lot as well, on this front. Maybe you have some insights here.

Dr. Rita
Thank you very much. I just quickly touch upon what Marc said and Georgette said to Marc very eloquently put together, what recourse there is if somebody should feel that discrimination if they should feel that they're in that position to do something about it. And they can, however, I wanted to take a step back and just touches upon what you just said, Angelica, that so many times, these are ethical, educational institutions that students come from all over the world, but they don't all have the same opportunity when they come into the educational institution. So, it's not just getting into the educational institution, it's the culture they come from, do they come from a rural place? Do they come from urbanization? What are the views on women getting educated on certain minorities getting educated?

I know for a fact like my own relatives, cousins of mine that struggle to even get any sort of education because they're female. It's just not done. And if you do it, oh, what does society say? Oh, okay, well, you can have an education because if you're a woman, you will only get educated to get married later on. And these sort of, and I'm giving you an exaggerated example, just to home in the point that these things that infiltrated the inbred into the heads of the students, boys, and girls, that education is on a level, it's preferential before they even go in.

Once the students then go into these education institutions, they're already at that said, well, gosh, I'm just grateful to be here. I know I really, really would love to do something later on. But oh, I can't I have to kind of put myself in this box. That in it, they're discriminated against because they're in this box before they even get there. There are two factors when Angelica you mentioned that when you are in the lecture theatre, and there is a lecture a professor, somebody who's leading example that will choose one or the other. Some of it is because of that person coming in and maybe how they're sitting that level of confidence that level of them thinking I'm here to get an education, but I can't aspire to be all that I always wanted to be when I was five years old when I didn't even know what the word discrimination meant when boys and girls could feel they could do the same thing.

I still have those dreams but now I'm a teenager. I'm about to go into the Next formative years of my life, I can't quite do it. There are lots of things that play then part of it is the onus is on that student, they're now in a place where, technically, it's supposed to be equal grants for everyone. But then what do you do when you have a professor that will only pick a candidate, they feel has more voice, and this happens still happens, I have seen it as well, I go into lecture theatres, and I see this happening. And sometimes even have a polite word afterward, that communication to the person leading the thing, they don't always understand it, they don't understand they can't see what they're doing.

This sort of might, these things are, really, very much still exists, but part of it is on the onus of the student, as well, as well as the onus on the faculty, that is given the lecture. So, I think there's a lot at play there. Part of it is just communication, it's the background that you come from, , there is research that shows that if whether you are a student, or whether you are the lecturer, whether you are in the workplace, that if you happen to be a male, and you have a working parent, yourself or working mother, you are more likely to respect the opinion of someone female and an equal playing field to that of a male. And if you didn't, you just want and that isn't because you're openly discriminating. This is part of what Georgette talked about unconscious bias, this is inbred into your way of thinking in the way you were brought up.

There are so many little things that play, what we can do, we can just make the student a bit more aware of like, once you're in that university, this is, open playing field, just show them their aspirations, show them that they have this dream that it's up to them. The other thing we could do is open up to faculty and leadership teams to show that these things are real, this happens quite often, then again, an exaggerated example, the more experienced the more wisdom that a faculty member has, quite often they can be a little bit more archaic in their practices of delivering a lecture and the way they choose students as well.

Things like that, making them a little bit more aware of having everybody on a role-playing field having multiple different avenues to give responses, communication. We know, for example, that women and men communicate differently men have a more reporting time, women more of a report style, quite often lecturers from an older school of thought, don't know how to react with that. So that's where they only pick some people that they want to be short, and sharp. It's just things like that making them more aware that there are different ways of communicating listen to everybody. At the end of the day, their job is to get everybody on that playing field get themselves confident and out there again.

Dr. Georgette
Angelika just wants to say the things that you were talking about really are the micro aggressions and micro-inequities that we see every day that people face that are from marginalized communities that happen. And unfortunately, I also think if they don't get called out when they happen, they just get amplified over and over. And I was speaking to somebody on Instagram just a couple of days ago around Naomi Osaka, which was playing, and somebody sort of hurled an insult. And she broke down and she lost the game. And I sort of said in tennis, it's very quiet when you play.

And she had said something to the referee, and the referee just said, the person, and then it amplified, and she ended up losing the game, I don't know if it would have been different had that person been called out. But I say that when something bad happens, we have a responsibility. If something is continuously and micro aggressions are continuously happening, and you mentioned an example yourself, if that doesn't get called out, it doesn't get shifted, it doesn't get out just to get to amplify for that person in that experience. So, I think it's part of that is shifting mindsets. And to do that we require training. And it's more than just training, it's training, its changing mindsets, changing policies changing how we hire, it's a whole set of things that we have to do within organizations and universities to change the way we're going to go because the future is global. It just is.

Thank you so much, Rita. Dr. Georgette. This is extremely important for every institution. And I know there are lots of academics and faculty members that are watching write us right now. And please submit your question to the chat box because this is where our honoree panelists can respond. And I know Marc has lots to say about this issue, Marc.

Yeah, thanks. I just put my hand up because I didn't want to interrupt anybody. I just wanted to say one additional thing. And everybody's right, that we need to empower students, so they know their rights and they know how to seek recourse and remedy and what options are open to them. But we should all so really remember the role of the state here in the International System, of which the international human rights system is part is really state driven. I mean, it's the states that have these obligations to ensure nondiscrimination and inequality not Discrimination and equality, so not inequality. And in the context of education, that's incredibly important, because universities not only, as we've said before, should they not be discriminating whether it's the micro discrimination, as you talked about Angelica, or whether it's more widespread discrimination, they are not allowed to discriminate. I mean, these are people's human rights. And those human rights cannot be violated just because of the color of somebody's skin or, or their gender.

I see this I've seen universal rights groups have seen this a lot in western democracies. And one of those is the United Kingdom, the country I come from. Now the United Kingdom has an incredibly unequal education system. It's not only an equal as in access to people of color, for example, or, or people based on gender, but also based on the socioeconomic background. And we've talked already about subconscious bias and discrimination. But there's another element of discrimination, which is institutional discrimination. Now, a lot of the top universities in the UK, especially Oxford and Cambridge, heavily take or source their students from about 12, elite private schools, Eton Harrow, this kind of schools, which by the way, Boris Johnson, and all of his nearly all of the current Conservative government in the UK, they all went to these private schools. And from there, it's almost a conveyor belt to Oxford and Cambridge. And these universities have been promising to do something about improving diversity, including people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. For decades. I mean, as long as I've been on this earth, they've been promising it, but it's all I mean, Cambridge is slightly better than Oxford. But by and large, it's empty promises. And why?

Well, the question is, because then the answer is because they know they can get away with it. Because there's no sanction. The government doesn't, partly because the government, most of them, went to Oxford and Cambridge, and benefited from the current and institutional biases. They don't, there's no sanction, there's no calling out of the universities, and there's certainly no legal sanction, which is an obligation of the state under international law if they see clear evidence of discrimination. So, while we should, yes, focus on empowering students and informing them of their rights, while we should encourage universities to do the right thing, we should also point the finger at states and remind them that they should protect and promote the right to education without discrimination.

This is extremely important because this is the work of the state together with the universities. And just before we jump to Rita here, I just wanted to give a quick remark that one of the solutions that have been presented is a Unix engine that helps slow down the system, the ranking of universities based on the level of diversity and inclusion, and this what needs to be done because universities like you've mentioned Oxford, that can get away with it because they are ranked high in the system, still top university no matter what they do, but if we put this as one of the most important crucial, actually things that can matter. In the long term, the diversity index, inclusion, the nondiscrimination, this is where the change will start. And Rita at towards you. I know you have a lot to add to this.

Dr. Rita
Just really to add an echo what Marc said, I think a lot of it, and he's just literally hit the nail on the head there is because of there's a quota system that these universities follow. And when you follow a quota system, whether it's in academia, whether it's in the corporate world, this is exactly what you see is a very curated, diverse environment, which is actually in a way not real, it's not real life, but if you have the double-blinded stay, which is what Georgette referred to earlier on, where you kind of had blinded sort of CDs coming in, you have lines of UCaaS, for sort of the equivalent of your application system in the UK, and you're sort of GMAT scores, or whatever in the US. That way, it brings down a lot of these sorts of biases, as well. And if you compare just private institutions versus public or state institutions, the amount of diversity, the amount of socio-economic background you see there, you can see a real difference. The other thing is, when you are in an urban setting, a city of some sort, you will naturally see a bit more diversity as well because outside of the classroom, remember, and university education is very much of a holistic experience. What you do in the classroom is one thing, what you do outside the classroom within those 234 years, is also very, very formative in terms of somebody's education. And I think it's important to bring that up.

Because a lot of universities that I helped coach, I talked to them about that holistic experience, it's not just the classroom, it's what they can access outside, whether it's the clubs that students get to join, what happens there, what happens in who they can impact afterward, a lot of community-run initiatives that students have as well, what can they do? Who can they help, or the student runs body that can tackle this issue that we're talking about right now, on this panel discussion, which kings, as an example, Angelica does very well. Several institutions have done that from a student-run level that can help students and help call out because if you think about it, you can only call out if you feel comfortable doing so if, there's not going to be any recourse. There are certain examples where there is, unfortunately, recourse if you come from that minority background, if you come from a position where you don't have that village, then you don't have that tribe to support you, that if you say something to call what, rightfully so out, you can actually, your education will stop there. And that, unfortunately, is the reality with a lot of people face, especially when they come from minority countries and minority places. So, there is a balance. But I think if it's a holistic approach that isn't just happening in the classroom that happens outside as well.

Dr. Georgette
I just was going to add one more sentence to that, which is, as we're thinking about what universities look like, in the future, who we hire universities is going to make a difference. So, I spent 30 years in the top academic institution in Canada, and some of the challenges were that the university hiring was not diverse. So, I remember we were looking at doing something at one point, it's like, who do you put on the banners, and we couldn't find a diverse group of people to put on the banners, everybody looked the same. And, I remember being asked, well, we need to find diverse people. I said, and somebody was upset, and I said, well, this is your history. This is your history for the last 30 years, the campus had been around for 50 years, or whatever. And I said, this is your history, you can change your future in terms of the decisions you make moving forward. But I can't get to the diversity that you didn't guide finding people. So, I think when, to your point, Rita and your point, Marc, like he needs to, if you want students, students need to see themselves reflected as well, and who's teaching them not just the administration. And so I think, part of having that inclusion piece and not belonging, and if there's something and there's a human rights violation, you want to talk to someone, yes, there are processes, but if you want to have someone to speak to, you might want to go to someone who looks like your resembles you, in that team in that place.

Dr. Georgette my next question was referred to you. And within your experience, countering racism, countering discrimination, I believe that you've controlled the situation where staff has been discriminated against. And it's not only students we have a very big problem with system systemic racism, and systemic discrimination, where staff cannot reach certain positions in academia while leaving, they are minority groups from minority groups. Luckily, this is changing within the last few years since Black Lives Matter. However, it's, it's extremely concerning. And it's horrifying, that a moment had to take place to reshape things in academia as well. What do you think is needs to be done for every staff member to be guaranteed equality and non-discrimination?

Staff member’s discrimination and issues

Dr. Georgette
A few things so in Canada I'm considered a visible minority even though I'm maybe what you're going to call white passing I'm so I'm going to put that out there. And so when I worked in an academic institution, I had a very diverse group of people that worked for me, and with me, and so they were my colleagues. So I sort of for me, and I was very, they were a great group of people, I, the success that we had would not have been the success that we had without that team. And there were instances where, senior people, and people around the institution did not treat them. Well. There are a couple of systems I can recall very clearly. And so as a senior leader, and as their sort of their boss, if you will, I made sure I took those people to task.
There was one particular incident where I had an academic leader treat 1 am, I sent a message to one of my staff that was just very inappropriate. And this was a chair of a department. And, my staff came in and said, Oh, John, I'm sorry, no, you did nothing wrong. And I called that person and said, you need to apologize to my staff.

And he said, well, I said, No that was completely out of line, there is a code of conduct at this university, your behavior, you need to send him an apology. Or I'll say, we'll take this further up the food chain, which was what would you like to do? Because that's not acceptable, he makes a fraction of what you make, you are completely out of line, he was doing his job, he did nothing wrong unless you can point to something wrong that he did, which as far as I'm, as far as I'm aware, he didn't. He said he didn't. But then you Well, I was upset, not my problem. You owe him an apology. He's a human being. And he did. And, when so for me, it's important to be an advocate, not just, I will say I don't like people who tick off the box, you don't say, share posts, it's great to share posts, actually do the work that matters. You speak up for people when it matters. So, when I talk about calling it out, I'm going to call it out, am I going to stick my neck out? If it's wrong, I'm going to stick my neck out.

Because if I don't do that, and I'm in a senior leadership role, and I'm going to play nice, so I'm going to make somebody happy. And I just used a teachable moment. And I gave it up. So, I didn't give it up. Did that guy like me, I didn't care, and because what he now knew what he was dealing with. So, he had to change his behavior. And he knew that I was not going to tolerate that to men. And there was a gentleman, by the way, but he was a visible minority. But he was a fantastic employee. Fantastic. But the thing is, if we allowed that, that behavior to perpetuate, then what so when I talk about calling it out, you have to, I didn't do it in front of a ton of people who were, called, but then he got the email person came down and apologize. Did he do it again?

No, he's that twice about it. But I'm pretty sure he thought twice about it. Again, if he ever did again with somebody else, or so I hope. But if we don't do these things, then who will and if we're in leadership positions, and we don't take our positions of privilege, and I considered, being a senior leadership position of privilege if I don't do that, who well. So, I think part of that is leading by example. Part of that is to make those changes, and part of that is speaking up and speaking out. And part of that is holding people accountable when necessary. And the other part is my staff saw what I did that the team saw what I did. And I hope that as they become leaders in their organizations, they emulate that behavior when the opportunity comes for them to advocate for others.

Thank you so much, Dr. Georgette, we have just a few minutes left, and I loved how we summarized it. Because as Abraham Lincoln said, if you want to check a man, you need to give them the power. And unfortunately, we see lots of examples of power and misuse when it comes to issues of equality and discrimination. That's why as you raise to power position, that's the probability, I think, the mission of everyone who gets that privilege to speak out no matter what, and has just written mention that, to have that privilege to speak out is huge work because well, you have your tribe, you have your community, you're not alone, your voice matters. And this is what is extremely important. And I know that we have great news, both for Dr. Georgette and Rita, on their books being published. So please share this with our viewers and our audience. Because I know how much work you've done in this field, and how many more people can follow your examples. Just reading what you've done.

Dr. Georgette and Rita views on their book

Dr. Rita
Thank you so much for saying that. It's been such a pleasure to be here. I wanted to quickly just say one thing when we talk about equality, at the end of the day, it's about to do you feel that sense of community. Do you feel that sense of belonging? And if you focus on that, then everything else goes out? does anyone feel like they belong? And that's that place for them. So, on that note, I wrote this book called the goddess of go-getting, which was published last week on International Women's Day. It hit bestseller yesterday. So, I'm pleased. Pleased about that. And it's a book for empowerment for women and minorities and leadership. It's not just a business book. It's not just a memoir, it speaks to everybody. I've written it in prose, not in my English literature, hat on but with an enterprise that everybody can under Stan talks about the rules of the playground, going back from childhood, how picking up certain skills when you are young can make you more likable in a university in a workplace setting, later on, it is a book for everyone available everywhere on Amazon, another sort of major retailers and online. And if you do get it, I hope you like it and consider wanting to review it as well. Thanks so much.

Thank you so much, Rita. And this is extraordinary. And I know that Dr. Georgette has something else to share.

Dr. Georgette
This is my book; it's called Why not you. So, I strongly believe that you're actively including, you're probably accidentally excluding, so why not use a book I wrote based on my research, it was around a lot of work that I did around women, minorities, poor communities, and marginalized groups. And I also it takes my research and it's a book I use in my work, but it's also easy to read. It's not a tech-savvy type of book. So, 100% of the proceeds from the book, go to women helping empower women, which is the nonprofit that I run. And all the work that we do for that nonprofit is all free to women. We support marginalized communities all over the world. It's we support all sorts of initiatives globally. So, I hope that people will purchase it, you can purchase it off the website at www, whew, W, H, E, W, women.com, and 100% of all of the money from the book, goes to support that. So, thank you so much, again, for the opportunity.

Advice for students who face discrimination

This is amazing. And I'm extremely honored to be joined today by leaders that shape a better world culture, and discrimination, and help the community to become more equal, help academia become a more equal, and more tolerant place. And Marc, just before we finish this conversation, I just wanted to ask you a quick question. What would be your advice? Like just in, in one, maybe two sentences? If it's possible, what would be your advice for a student that has come to discrimination in a class? Where should they go? What should they contact first? What is their action point?

All right, just unmuting myself is very challenging. Last question, just when I thought I was off the hook because we were finishing. And, based on what everybody has said, I think I enjoyed everybody's interventions. And I think the key is that students should know their rights know, they're valuable, not to keep quiet. But to talk to people, if that's somebody they trust in the faculty and the in the teaching staff or if it's a mentor, just do talk how because universities, and as I've said, states are not allowed. It's illegal to discriminate. And it's bad for the university. It's bad for society, and so do speak out. And if they don't get the satisfaction I mean, not all teachers are as nice as Georgettes. Not all leaders are as nice as Georgette and Rita. So maybe they wouldn't get the answer they need. But if they don't, then as Georgette said it should go up the food chain. Any complaint should be made to the relevant authorities. And if that doesn't work, then as I said at the beginning, and students, sadly, people just generally people don't know that. They also have recourse to the international human rights protection mechanisms. And why not push it all the way because it's only by pushing that we get change.

This is a brilliant way to summarize our today's discussion. Only through pushing, we can make a change, do not be afraid to push. And it's been my privilege to be joined by leaders of today shaping leaders of tomorrow in their academic environment and their communities. Thank you so much, Rita, Dr. Georgette, and Marc. It's been a great honor and pleasure. And I'm sure that we will see you again soon in our next panel discussion. Thank you so much for everything.
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