The Martin Luther King Multi-faith Centre was officially opened on 4 April 2011 by the Vice-Chancellor, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ceremony was attended by senior representatives from major faith and religious groups in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region including guests from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan and Sikh faiths.
The official opening coincided with the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, whose famous “I have a dream” speech captured the hearts and minds of people of all heritages across the world.
The Centre opens its doors to students and staff, irrespective of whatever faith, if any, and features a series of tailored rooms for prayer, meetings and social gatherings.
Kate Parsons, Staff & Student Diversity & Wellbeing Manager at the University, said:
“We are very proud of the multicultural make-up of our staff and student communities and this Centre is a fantastic addition to Aston. The Martin Luther King Multi-faith Centre is an ideal place to share, celebrate and recognise our different ways of life, beliefs, attitudes to faith and religion and can ultimately add further value to our well-recognised work on widening participation.”
Kate explained the thinking behind attributing the Centre to Martin Luther King: “This is a reminder to us all about the ethos and values of this remarkable man. Themes which were close to his heart, such as justice, peace, mutual understanding and faith, are all relevant to us today.”
The opening of Aston’s Martin Luther King Centre comes just weeks after the launch of the University's diversity initiative, Crossing Boundaries, which celebrates the diversity of cultures and nationalities at Aston University.
Words by Dhiren Katwa and Louise Russell
12 April 2011