Gold standard for SU
The Students’ Union has been awarded the prestigious Investors in People
Gold Award, in recognition of its first class people management.
The Gold award represents the achievement of world class best practice
and shows the organisation is operating at the very highest levels of
Students’ Union staff and guests released gold
balloons to celebrate their Gold award
Less than one in 1,000 organisations recognised by Investors in
People have achieved the Gold standard and Essex is believed to be the
first Students’ Union in the country to do so.
‘This award is a fantastic achievement for the Students’ Union and is as
a direct result of the energy and effort shown every day by our
permanent and student staff’, said SU President Ibby Mehmet. ‘Essex is
widely recognised as having one of the best Students’ Unions in the UK
and this is because we have first class staff that are always prepared
to go the extra mile when it comes to looking out for the needs of our
The Students’ Union employs more than 400 staff, including over 350
student staff, to deliver services and activities designed to provide
the best possible student life at Essex. Services include a dedicated
student Advice Centre, more than 150 sports clubs and societies, plus
shops, bars and venues.
Elaine Johnson, Managing Director of Investors in People, presented the
Students’ Union with the award at a celebration event at the Colchester
Campus last month.
Picture (SU award.jpg) caption: Students’ Union staff and guests
released gold balloons to celebrate their Gold award
Quiet diplomacy aids conflict
Behind the scenes, Essex is at the forefront of a global initiative
to prevent and resolve conflicts around the world.
The Initiative on Conflict Prevention through Quiet Diplomacy (ICPQD)
has worked recently with Tamil-speaking political leaders from Sri
Lanka, the OSCE Mission to Kosovo and the United Nations Centre for
Preventative Diplomacy in Central Asia.
Director of the Human Rights Centre, Professor John Packer, who acts as
Senior Adviser, brought the Initiative to Essex in 2008. It employs a
unique approach by linking the traditionally separate fields of human
rights and conflict resolution.
In late November, the Initiative co-convened an historic meeting of the
Tamil-speaking political leadership from Sri Lanka in Zurich,
Switzerland, hosted by the Swiss Federal Department for Foreign Affairs.
This resulted in unprecedented agreement on basic principles and a
working paper for dialogue.
Started in 2004 by Professor Packer in collaboration with His Excellency
Dr Max van der Stoel, former Foreign Minister of The Netherlands, the
Initiative uses the human rights framework for analysis and
problem-solving to assist conflict parties and intermediaries in
identifying and addressing the underlying causes of tensions that can
erupt in violence. The approach seeks to build sustainable peace by
addressing grievances often grounded in the denial of fundamental rights
or exclusionary politics.
The Initiative’s principal aim is to build capacity at the
inter-governmental level to prevent conflict through a quiet diplomatic
approach and facilitating dialogue.
In early November the Initiative delivered a programme at the United
Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia
(UNRCCA) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. During a week-long course,
Initiative staff provided diplomats from the foreign ministries of
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan
practical knowledge and skills around human rights and conflict
The Initiative has also assisted the OSCE Mission to Kosovo over the
past year with training for 130 staff and an innovative engagement with
local authorities, community representatives and NGOs from the five main
regions to help them to bridge differences.
Principally funded by a grant from the Department for International
Development with additional funding from OSCE and Cordaid, the
Initiative has given work to a number of HRC graduates. For further
information, please contact Maria Luisa Aguilar, ICPQD Project Officer,
Refurb for bio-imaging unit
The bio-imaging facility in the Department of Biological Sciences, which
is pivotal to some of the Department’s most ground-breaking research
projects, has undergone a major refurbishment.
The facility, founded in 1999, houses state-of-the-art microscopes
and equipment used to study cells and tissues using advanced
fluorescence methods, known as bio-imaging technologies.
Professor Nelson Fernández, of the Department, explained the
importance of the facility: ‘Bio-imaging techniques are used to examine
cells, which are one hundredth of a millimetre in size, as well as
sub-cellular structures and molecules. One project at Essex uses imaging
techniques to study individual DNA molecules. This is giving exciting
insights into how DNA is repaired, which is a vital response to DNA
damage caused by molecules in the environment or sunlight, which may
otherwise cause damage to tissues or even tumour formation.
‘The other main focus is an understanding of how pathogens such as
viruses or bacteria attach to the cell membranes of healthy cells to
cause infection and disease, the intracellular changes caused by
infection and how the immune system recognises and deals with pathogens.
Bio-imaging allows these processes to be examined in exquisite detail.’
The Department has recently appointed a new manager for the facility,
Dr Philippe Laissue, which will also continue to be used to aid
Also in the printed January edition of Wyvern:
- Olly mania hits campus
- Snow closes campus for afternoon
- Annual Review wins publications award