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Baroness Amos Backs Boxing Test at University of Warwick lecture

Baroness Amos, Leader of the House of Lords and a graduate of the University of Warwick, will tonight (Wednesday 27th October) say the collective national support for Olympic boxer Amir Khan should eclipse the "infamous" Norman Tebbit "cricket test" of national loyalty.

She will make her remarks at "The Walter Rodney Lecture" - an annual lecture organised by the Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick. This year the lecture will also mark the launch of a new "Warwick Caribbean Endowment Fund Appeal" designed to raise funds for scholarships for postgraduate students and research fellowships in the University of Warwick's Centre for Caribbean Studies for young people from the Caribbean. In her speech Lady Amos will say:

"Britain's identity has always been multi-layered and plural. It has been dependent on the coming together of different peoples and diverse influences to build our unique economic, linguistic, social and cultural wealth and diversity. Making us who we are as a nation and as individuals.

"If I look at myself, I am Guyanese born but African via the Caribbean, I am a first generation immigrant who arrived in the specific context of 1960s British society. But even if none of this applied, I would still be shaped by my identity as a woman, by growing up in Kent and living in London, by having the opportunity to go to university, by working in local government, becoming a peer, a minister and a member of the Cabinet. I have had the opportunity to have rich experiences, travel and meet interesting people. This has made me and continues to make me the person that I am. Change just one thing and my experiences and perceptions of the world would have been different."

"I would not be the same if my family had not moved to Britain. And whoever we are, aspects of our identity emerge and take precedence at different points in our lives."

"An absolute positive was the success of our British Olympic team this summer. Stunning performances from so many but perhaps the story of our Games being told through Kelly Holmes' amazing double gold medals, the men's 4 by 100 metre relay team victory against the American favourites, Matthew Pinsent's fourth successive win in the rowing, and Amir Khan going from Bolton schoolboy to front page news in less than a fortnight. Mixed race, black, white and Asian. All drawn from different cultures and traditions and all competing in Britain's vest."

Speaking in the Guardian newspaper today about tonight's lecture she went on to say that "It depresses me that people still give credit to the Tebbit test, not least because it's an incredibly un-British test to make because it can't get past the colour of one's skin" She called on people to use the more positive boxing test citing Olympic boxing silver medallist Amir Khan's declaration that "I'm Asian, but I'm British - I was born here, I went to school here, all my mates are British, and I am proud to represent my country"

For further information contact:

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager
University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 523708
PR144 PJD 27th October 2004