As Director of the LJMU Foundation for Citizenship, Zia will lead the University’s social engagement activity, building on LJMU’s long history of community engagement and impact, ensuring that the University maintains strong and innovative partnerships with other community organisations and maximises the opportunities for students to contribute positively to society and to encourage active, informed and responsible citizens.
Zia, a criminal barrister and author, was recognised by the University with an Honorary Fellowship in 2017 for his outstanding contribution to community and interfaith relations. Aside from his legal practice, he has been involved in inter-faith dialogue for nearly two decades. He was previously Chair of the Merseyside Council of Faiths and was a founding member of the North West Forum of Faiths. He is also involved in other inter-faith groups and is regularly invited to comment on contemporary issues related to faith and citizenship on TV and radio and in the papers.
His book Just Your Average Muslim (2013) is a timely story of his personal journey growing up as a Muslim in the United Kingdom and is a call for mutual understanding rooted in the education and tolerance of 21st Century Britain.
Zia was awarded an MBE for services to interfaith relations and on receiving the honour, he commented: “I've done nothing more than try to be a good Muslim, which as it happens is pretty much the same as being a good British citizen.”
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Weatherill comments:
“I’m delighted that Zia will be joining us to lead our commitment to citizenship through the Foundation. He has a clear understanding of what it means to be a good citizen in this ever-changing world. The Foundation has been part of the University for the last two decades, providing a platform to celebrate the many ways in which we are making an impact, as individuals and as an academic community. With a civic mission and a global reach, we have a responsibility to share our ideas and challenge the accepted notions of citizenship and society.”
“Since receiving my Honorary Fellowship last year I have discovered just how wide-ranging LJMU’s activities are and have wanted to get more involved in its innovative work on citizenship. I am thrilled, therefore, to be joining the university and very much looking forward to adding my experience to the impressive social engagement work already taking place here.”