On 21 March 2022, we were delighted to welcome OV Jabba Riaz (Br 91-96) back to School as our newest Barnabas Speaker.
Inspired by St Barnabas, ‘son of encouragement’, our Barnabas speakers are distinguished, inspirational OVs who are are invited to join our ‘Barnabas Group’ and return to speak in College Hall to share their experiences and life lessons with pupils.
At King’s, Jabba was an active member of the School community. He enjoyed playing for the 1st Cricket and Football teams, took part in Young Enterprise and won a prize for his part in the community service scheme.
Jabba went on to the University of Leicester, where he secured his Bachelor of Business Administration. Since then, he has undertaken a variety of roles in planning and management. At Worcester City Council Jabba was elected Cabinet member for Safer and Stronger Communities. He was appointed Mayor of Worcester in 2018 and is currently Vice-Chair of the Council Income Generation Committee.
Jabba’s professional career sees him in charge of the logistics and distribution for Cyroservice, a national supplier of liquid Argon, Nitrogen, Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide.
The Barnabas Day began with Jabba giving an inspirational and exceptional address to the Sixth Form in College Hall, and to the rest of the School via video link. ‘Love not Hate’ was the guiding principle of Jabba’s message to the pupils. Now a Governor of King’s, Jabba spoke most movingly of the initial difficulties of isolation that he faced at King’s in the early 1990s. He found his success through sport and his co-curricular passions, supported particularly by the School Chaplain at that time, Rev’d Jonathan Charles, and watched the School develop in mutual respect, tolerance and love. He closed his inspiring address by reminding us all that we each have the power to stand up against discrimination and inequality of all kinds and the duty to call such things out, refusing to accept such injustice wherever we find it, to resounding applause from all present.
Having addressed the School, Jabba was thrilled to spend the morning joining Sixth Formers enjoying a range of lessons: Business Studies, Religion and Philosophy, and Politics, all subjects very close to Jabba’s heart. Jabba also enjoyed coffee with Headmaster Gareth Doodes and Heads of School, Josh R and Charlotte M, which was a time to reflect on the day.
Jabba’s visit was rounded off with a wonderful lunch joined by Head of Sixth Form Josh Hand, himself an OV, Head of Key Skills, Catriona Rees, Director of Finance, Georgina Mason, and the Heads of School, as well as some Politics students keen to speak with Jabba.
Talking about his day, Jabba said, “It was an honour to be invited as the Barnabas Day speaker by the School to talk about my experiences with racism whilst growing up; tolerance, respect, and acceptance were a key part of my King’s education and lessons that I have used in my role as Mayor and beyond to bring unity and harmony within the city! I leave the School with my message of love not hate, a message that is universal in condemnation of hate and prejudice and a message especially relevant today.”
Thank you for giving your time so generously, Jabba, and your thoughtful words.