Pupils have taken part in a live Q&A at this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival with the author, barrister and broadcaster Hashi Mohamed to discuss his book ‘People Like Us; Social Mobility, Inequality and Making It in Modern Britain.’ The event, organised by the University of Gloucestershire and Cheltenham Festivals, gave students from six local schools from Gloucestershire and the West Midlands the chance to question Hashi about the issues raised in the book and tips and advice on future career aspirations. The schools taking part included Cheltenham Bourneside School and Cleeve School in Cheltenham, Tewkesbury School, Fortis Academy, Holyhead School and Birmingham Metropolitian College.
After coming to the UK as an unaccompanied refugee, Hashi Mohamed made it to Oxford and the bar and though his story is unique, he argues that it should not be. In his book he shares what he has learned about social mobility and students had the chance to ask Hashi about his experience of education, his career as a barrister and the challenges he has overcome.
Hashi Mohamed’s appearance at the Q&A follows his interview with the Canadian writer Malcolm Gladwell, which was sponsored by the University of Gloucestershire at this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival 2020. The Canadian writers latest book explores how we might better understand the psychology of those we don’t know, in his latest international bestseller ‘Talking to Strangers’.
Abby Taylor, a student at Cleeve School studying A-Level law said:
“Hashi was insightful and inspiring; prompting the opportunities in law and how you can be successful. Many students hear of how difficult and exclusive the profession can be, yet Hashi has been motivating and assuring that more people like us are required for diversity.”
Fatamato Tunarka, a student at Fortis Academy in Birmingham said:
“It was really insightful to see how Hashi perceives social mobility and education, it has been an eye opening experience for us.”
Olivia Skellern, a student at Holyhead School in Birmingham said:
“Hashi is such a lovely down to earth guy, you really feel he is on your side, it’s important that people like him encourage young people to feel like they can make it in the world.”
Gary Watson, Headteacher at Tewkesbury School said:
“Our aspiring barristers, Andreea Necula and Flo Strawford could have few better opportunities than to observe and question Hashi Mohamad at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. I am sure this will further spur them on in their A-level studies, enrich their learning and inspire them to seek further opportunities beyond the classroom through placements in local law firms and webinars for those aspiring towards a career in the law.”
Ali Mawle, Director of Education for Cheltenham Festivals said:
"We are delighted to be able to provide this opportunity to young people in our region through partnership with the University of Gloucestershire. Hashi's story inspires hope and possibility; he is a great role model in these challenging times."