Councillor Lubna Arshad was sworn in as the new Lord Mayor of Oxford at the Annual Council Meeting on Wednesday, 17 May, in Oxford Town Hall.
Guests and fellow councillors watched the traditional ceremony in person as the retiring Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor James Fry, officially stepped down and handed over his chains of office to Councillor Arshad.
Councillor James Fry was appointed Deputy Lord Mayor, and Councillor Mark Lygo was appointed Sheriff.
The councillors nominated to the three civic posts were announced at the Council meeting on 20 March before being approved at last night’s meeting.
Councillor Lubna Arshad, Lord Mayor of Oxford, said: “I am honoured to be chosen as the new Lord Mayor of Oxford. It is an honour of a lifetime to serve the city where I was born and raised, to be valued and respected, and have an opportunity to serve the people of the city. As a public servant, I am always ready to serve our nation, and I pray for peace and justice to prevail across the globe.”
The new Lord Mayor
Lubna Arshad, born in Oxford, UK, was raised in the city and completed her studies with a BSC (Hons) degree in Computer Network Technologies from Manchester.
With over 15 years of experience in the IT industry, Lubna’s passion for equality and fairness led her to be elected as a City Councillor in 2018, representing Cowley Marsh, initially and later, due to electoral boundary changes, serving Temple Cowley.
Lubna Arshad is a former MEP candidate for the SE Region and has also represented various committees, including the Scrutiny Panel, Planning and the Housing Panel.
Lubna has made history as the first woman of colour, the first Muslim woman of intersectional background, and the youngest Lord Mayor representing the city. Her achievement is groundbreaking and represents significant progress towards diversity, inclusivity, and representation in leadership roles.
As a trailblazer for equal representation, Lubna is known for making a difference and advocating for ambitious initiatives to close the gender pay gap and protect religious freedom, with a particular passion for supporting ambitious programs for young people and eradicating poverty.
Her dedication to humanitarian projects and pursuit of justice resonates strongly, and she serves as an aspiring role model for fearless change, ensuring that all voices are heard.
The Lord Mayor’s charities for 2023/24 are Humanity First, Oxford Community Action and Asylum Welcome.
Lubna added: “Humanity First supports works with disaster-struck and socially disadvantaged individuals and families in the poorer communities of the world and nationally with food banks. My brother, sister, and I have all helped raise funds for disaster relief.
“I also volunteer for Oxford Community Action and have seen first-hand the massive difference this charity has made to families who are still struggling with energy bills and enduring food poverty.
“Asylum Welcome do a wonderful job in helping those who have been persecuted and experienced trauma in their home countries, including Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan.”
The Lord Mayor generally carries out more than 300 engagements each year. These cover a wide range, from Royal visits and leading the city’s annual Remembrance Sunday service to small community group meetings and charity events.
The first recorded Mayor of Oxford is Laurence Kepeharme, 1205-1209, and Mayors’ names stretch in an unbroken line until 1962 when the dignity of Lord Mayor was granted to Oxford by Queen Elizabeth II.
The bells of Carfax Tower were rung by the Oxford Society of Change Ringers to commemorate the ceremony.
For more information, visit the Lord Mayor of Oxford, the Deputy Lord Mayor and the Sheriff of Oxford webpage.