2019 Opening plenary: the policy and politics of international students

Wednesday 3 July, 2-3pm

Welcome to UKCISA conference 2019: Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE, DL

Lord Bilimoria, has been UKCISA’s President since 2015. He is the founder of Cobra Beer, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Limited and of Molson Coors Cobra India, both joint ventures with the global brewing company, Molson Coors.

He is the Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, a former Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London), Chancellor of the University of Birmingham and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Judge Business School, Cambridge. He was himself an international student coming to the UK on a scholarship for a diploma in accounting at what is now London Metropolitan University and then graduated in law from Cambridge.

In 2004 Karan was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to business and entrepreneurship, and in 2006 he was appointed an Independent Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords and created Baron Bilimoria of Chelsea in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Amongst a range of other roles and responsibilities he is also now co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Students.


Shahid Omer, Deputy Director, International Higher Education and EU Exit, Higher and Further Education Directorate at Department for Education

Shahid will provide the Department for Education perspective on the cross-Government International Education Strategy and what it means for prospective and current international students.

Shahid Omer is the Deputy Director for International Higher Education and EU Exit at the Dept. for Education. Prior to that, he was Head of Widening Participation in higher education after acting as a Senior Policy Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office under the Coalition Government, advising on economic policy. This followed roles on Industrial Strategy and Business Finance policy at the Business Department in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Shahid joined the civil service in 2010 after a lengthy career in the magazine industry; a career featuring stints as Publisher and Advertising Director at various points.

Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI)

Based on his first hand in-depth knowledge of the workings of government, Nick will provide us with an insight into how policy is formed, what to make of current politics surrounding international students and highlight recent  HEPI research on international students.


Nick Hillman has been the Director of HEPI since 2014.

He worked for the Rt Hon David Willetts MP (now Lord Willetts), the Minister for Universities and Science, from 2007 until the end of 2013, as Chief of Staff and then Special Adviser in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Previously, he was a History teacher and worked at the Association of British Insurers.

At the 2010 general election, he was the runner-up in Cambridge.



Download Nick's presentation.

Nick references a number of HEPI reports in the presentation, please see links to them below: