UCLan academic and youngest opposition life peer receives University of Gujurat's first ever Honorary Doctorate
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The honour was bestowed on him by Pervez Ellahi, the Chief Minister of Punjab, at a special ceremony in front of 4,000.
Wajid, who was the youngest Mayor of Burnley, said: “I’m so delighted that I was chosen to be the first ever recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Gujrat.
“I felt so much pride, not only for me but my entire family, when I stood on that stage to accept my doctorate. My mum and dad emigrated from Gujrat, in Pakistan, in the late 1960s and arrived in Lancashire to make Burnley their home. That was a major, life-changing moment in their lives so for me to be awarded this prestigious award from their district really made the occasion even more special.”
Throughout his career to date, the dad-of-two has combined his academic work with politics. In addition to his record-breaking position within the House of Lords, he has served as a local councillor for Daneshouse and Stoneyholme ward in Burnley, was the town’s Mayor in 2020-2021, and was an MEP for the North West from 2017 to 2019.
While in the European Parliament, he was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Human Rights Subcommittee.
Wajid co-authored both UCLan’s undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes in community leadership and his interest in empowering South Asian female mature students to re-engage in Higher Education led him to start working with the University of Gujrat in 2007.
With his Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership colleague Professor Alethea Melling MBE by his side, the duo created a Memorandum of Understanding between both universities. A global youth leadership programme was set up in Gujrat and exchange visits of students now regularly take place between the students from both institutions.
During his time as a UCLan academic, he was awarded the Sitara-i-Qaide Azam Award by the President of Pakistan for his work on International Human Rights, is also a fellow of the prestigious Higher Education Academy.