Founder & Director

Royan Khayri

Having moved from Afghanistan with his family he pursued his studies in London. Royan moved to Cambridge to study a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences, specialising in Genomic Medicine and Oncology. He received his pioneering scholarship from St George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London to read his Master of Research in Translational Medicine. Royan built a wealth of research experience during his time researching at Anglia Ruskin University, University of Cambridge and St George’s. Utilizing his transferable academic skills, he was able to analyse data sets provided by Genomics England and COSMIC, into finding genetic biomarkers driving prostate cancer tumorigenesis with migration of cancers cells. He conducted preliminary research on BRCA1 affiliate gene using stable cell lines and immunofluorescence microscopy. Finding cell culture laboratories a lonely environment, he understood the need for greater social interactions from university life. On top of his studies, he has served as Free the Children (WE) Advocate, International Ambassador for UNICEF UK Children's Champion, Farkhunda (Rahela Trust) Women's Education Ambassador and sat on the Youth Advocate Panel for War Child UK.

During this time as an undergraduate student, in 2015 he enrolled as a Lifetime Member at the Cambridge Union Society (CUS). In 2017, he became the first Anglia Ruskin Officer on the Full Committee. He owed it to the Michaelmas term President of CUS Page Nyame-Satterthwaite, for it was her kindness, support and guidance that inspired Royan to take the steps in engaging further with the Union. Royan and several other members of the London Union Board gained the experience of conducting Cambridge Union events, observing debates, and accompanying speakers. He was inspired and motivated to think outside the box, meeting Sir Ian McKellen, Baroness Hale, Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein and the late Professor Stephen Hawking. After returning to London, he recognised that there was an opportunity in the capital, to create a union that provides a platform to all other students from the University of London, to connect and in the same way be inspired by world renowned speakers.

An initial mission was for London based students to come together and experience the globally renowned form of debating, the British Parliamentary Model of debating. Approaching several members of his network, Royan and the Union team began working on the Collective's principles. They admired the foundations of traditional and the historic organisation of debating, taking inspiration from many different organisations and their efforts for accessibility, inclusivity and diversity. They wanted a collective forum for London students and academics to come together and engage with policy makers, leading experts and public figures. To bring about an impact with passing on knowledge of experiences and research. The London Union would be a modern and current platform accessible and available to students from the University of London, with hopes in the future to expanding to other universities in London.