November 05 2018
At our incredible Knowledge Guild event we managed to steal five minutes of Konnie's time! We chatted to her about travel, charity work, and writing, thinking about how diversity plays a part in all areas. Konnie is part of a wealth of incredible projects, we wish we had more time to hear about them in more detail.
Hi Konnie! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure! I’m Konnie Kuq. I’m a TV presenter, broadcaster and also a writer.
You are the longest-serving female presenter on Blue Peter, a role which took you to some far-flung corners of the earth. How did travelling inform your view of diversity?
I did a lot of travelling in my years on Blue Peter! I remember really on I did a trip to Mozambique. It was trips like that that changed my whole view on everything, because it made me realise that I could have had such a different life. My parents were born in Bangladesh, so it is plausible that I could have been born in a village there. But life has twists of fate and I ended in the UK and following a different path. I put clothes on and I see ‘made in Bangladesh’ on the label, and I think about the possibility of working in a sweat shop making those clothes. On the Blue Peter trips, I reassessed everything and realised how lucky we are. You must grab every opportunity that life gives you, because it’s a lottery. We are lucky people to be in the situation we are in because there is always someone worse off.
You are currently an ambassador for the Princes Trust and the British Asian Trust. Could you tell us a bit about these charities and your role?
I am a British Asian Trust ambassador and my role is to help raise awareness with issues of diversity and inclusivity. We look at how we can make a more progressive nation by just changing things at the micro level and how that can impact the macro level. British Asian Trust works with many different charities on initiatives both here at home and abroad to help raise awareness of the situation for ethic minorities and British Asians specifically.
The Princes Trust works with young people that often come from underprivileged backgrounds and helps them turn their lives around. There are many different programmes and initiatives that can help lift people out of a rut and give them a new lease of life. The work I do for them is very rewarding. Young people are tomorrow’s future. If you can change thinking, the lower down the pecking order you do it, the earlier you do it, the brighter tomorrow will be.
You have written your own children’s books where the character of Cookie is inspired by your own background. Could you tell us a bit about this?
The character of Cookie is inspired by my own background and the work I do. I do a lot of work with STEM initiatives, for instance the Institute of Engineering and Technology. What I always find really interesting is that my parents really wanted me to go to into science. I did love the sciences, but I have also always loved the arts. I have always felt a bit torn between the two. But, I think more and more in society today, we are realising that you can marry the two. This is something I explore through the character of Cookie. I also noticed that lots of children’s books have a male protagonist and there aren’t many about females. It’s about inclusivity, changing perceptions, and we must engage the next generation while they are young.
And finally, what is next for you?
I will be pushing the books! But I also have a podcast coming out with the BBC, and a few other things in the pipeline…
For further information, to book Konnie or another speaker, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070+44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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