Meet your 2017-18 Black Students’ Officer

Thursday 10-08-2017 - 08:46

Re-launching the #StudentsNotSuspects campaign, continuing to tackle the black attainment gap and undertaking a consultation on the campaign’s name are some of Ilyas’ priorities for the year.

Hi, I'm Ilyas and I’m the full-time NUS officer representing over a million students of African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean descent at colleges and universities across the UK. After studying Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Manchester, I was a sabbatical officer at my students’ union for a year before being elected as your national officer.  

I first got involved in student activism when I met a group of friends who brought me into the NUS Black Students’ Campaign, where together we campaigned on decolonising the curriculum, the black attainment gapPrevent and Palestine. I was just one student eager to get stuck into campaigning and the campaign gave me the resources, people and energy to play a part and I hope I can give you similar support this year!

After lots of planning and discussions, I’ve whittled down my priorities for the year. Before Christmas, I’ll be rushing around the country supporting Black History Month events, re-launching the #StudentsNotSuspects campaign against the Prevent duty with Hareem, and helping build the capacity of activists and students’ unions to further our work on the black attainment gap. I’ll also launch a handbook detailing how we can support anti-deportation activism with Yinbo and host events for Islamophobia Awareness Month. Alongside prepping for our Winter Conference on the 25-26th November in London (get the dates in your diaries now!), I'll undertake a consultation to begin the process to change the name of our campaign

In the New Year, I’ll be working with Ali and Yinbo to launch guidance on making election processes fairer for students’ unions, launch a resource hub on the attainment gap, and launch a project celebrating the contributions and achievements of women of colour. Over the year, I’ll also work on NUS’ work on race equity, and work with trade unions to help better support students of colour who work alongside studying.

Some random things about me: 

  • My favourite pizza toppings are tandoori chicken, red onion, peppers and sweetcorn.
  • Singapore is one of favourite countries to visit. For short trips I also like Florence in Italy but Granada, Spain and Berlin, Germany are my favourite cities to visit in Europe!
  • Favourite band: let’s not pretend we didn’t all go through a Paramore phase and occasionally still listen to their songs because they were so great once upon a time.
  • In my spare time you’ll find me making ridiculous polls on twitter (@ilyas_nagdee), hanging out with my cat and hiding from my mother.
  • I’ve tried so many random things to look after myself and zone out but nothing beats those days where I just sit in bed and watch an unhealthy amount of TV. Netflix, I love you.
  • One of my favourite quotes are the words of Malcolm X: ‘If you have no critics you'll likely have no success.’ 

If you ever have any questions / need me for something where you are / want to send me photos of your cat, you can get me at and follow me on Twitter to keep up with what I’m up to.    



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