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Feeling inspired? You are sure to be after this day-long Inspiring Women: Celebration Event.

Packed with amazing speakers and designed to energise and engage, we want you to be a part of it. But at UWS it’s not just about listening, it’s about your own personal development and growth, and that’s why we’ve put on a selection of workshops from which you can choose one to attend. Plus the chance to network, make new friends and catch up with colleagues – what’s not to love?

Keynote Speakers

This year, we are delighted to announce four hugely inspirational keynote speakers for our Inspiring Women Celebration Event (#UWSInspiringWomen):

Taban Shoresh (founder of The Lotus Flower and humanitarian activist)

A former child genocide survivor, Taban Shoresh is founder of The Lotus Flower, a non-profit organisation working in Kurdistan and Iraq with conflict survivors. To date the charity has supported over 5,000 vulnerable women and girls at its three centers.

With a political activist father during Saddam Hussein’s regime, Taban was imprisoned with her family aged four, narrowly escaping being buried alive before Amnesty International flew them to the UK. When Taban saw ISIS waging another genocide in Kurdistan in 2014, she returned as an aid worker. Fifteen months later, she launched The Lotus Flower which runs education, livelihoods, wellbeing, peace-building, human rights and gender equality programmes.

Last September, a statue of Taban was unveiled in London to honour her work, and she was a finalist in Red magazine’s Women of the Year awards. In 2017, she spoke at One Young World alongside Sir Bob Geldof and the late Kofi Annan.

Hamira Khan (Regional Scottish Development International Manager)

Hamira is the Regional Director for Scottish Development International (SDI) and is based in the British Embassy, Dubai leading a team of in-market specialists to support Scottish companies to win contracts across the Gulf region.

Prior to taking on this role, Hamira led a range of campaigns with a particular emphasis to inspire, motivate and enable young people to achieve lobbying success - most notably securing the right for 16-17 year olds to vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum. In October 2014, Hamira was recognised by the Saltire Society as one of Scotland’s most influential women who has made an outstanding contribution to Scottish life, culture and society.

Sarah Murray (NASA STEM ambassador and lead on the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Programme)

Deputy, Vehicle Systems Performance & Analysis, NASA – Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Program Sarah is a senior NASA leader. She is the former Deputy Chief of EVA (space walks), Robotics & Crew Systems on board the International Space Station and has served as the Mission Support and Partnership Council Executive at NASA Headquarters in a team that includes the NASA Administrator and the Directors of the NASA Space Centres across the United States.

As an Army veteran, she has military and medical experience that includes working in the emergency room while stationed in Germany. She was also awarded the Expert Medal for M-16 Rifle.

Karen Darke, MBE (Paralympian, adventurer, author and motivational speaker)

Karen has the philosophy that to have the most impact in life we should challenge our constraints, adopt a positive mind-set and support each other to be the best we can each be. Somewhat an expert in overcoming challenges, Karen finds much of her inspiration through outdoor adventure. She was a keen runner and mountaineer before becoming paralysed in a rock-climbing accident, and has since pursued alternative ways to access the outdoors – canoeing, sea-kayaking, sit-skiing and hand-cycling. Karen sea-kayaked along the coastlines of British Columbia and Alaska, skied across the Greenland icecap and climbed the kilometre-high vertical rock-face of El Capitan.

As a coach and facilitator, author and speaker, Karen works regularly with young people, schools, businesses and other organisations particularly on the subject of challenge and change. She is currently a full-time athlete with the British Para-cycling Team. She won a silver medal in the London 2012 Paralympics, was World Para-triathlon Champion in 2012, silver medallist in 2013, and has represented Scotland in triathlon at the Commonwealth Games 2018. In Rio 2016, Karen was proud to become Paralympic Champion. Since then she has gained two World Records for land-speed by arm power, achieved in the Nevada desert in 2018.

Why should I attend?

You’ve been feeling stuck in a rut, or maybe need a refreshing reminder of what ‘inspirational’ can look and feel like? Then this is your day - a day filled with the opportunity to hear from a variety of different speakers, with different backgrounds and experience. And you can pick one from the selection of fantastic workshops to build your perfect inspiring day.

Who can attend?

Anyone: professional or student or otherwise. Plus it is open to those out with UWS and it’s not just open to women, everyone is welcome. (Please note it is not geared towards children under 14 years of age).

When is it?

Wednesday 5th June: Registration opens at 8.45am, the event closes 3.30pm

Where is it?

University of the West of Scotland’s Paisley Campus, High Street, Paisley PA1 2BE

How much will it cost me?

Nothing. The event is completely free to attend. However, spaces are limited so if you change your mind after booking a ticket please let us know so someone else can get the chance to take your spot.

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UWS Inspiring Women Lecture Series

Find out more about about the UWS Inspiring Women Lecture Series including all our previous guest speakers and links to our dedicated YouTube Playlist:

UWS Inspiring Women Lecture Series


Inspiring Women: Celebration Event


5 June

08:45 - 15:30


University of the West of Scotland
Paisley Campus