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Deena

Tissera

Deena Tissera is a politician, entrepreneur, a former Beauty Queen, and she was named as one of the 35 under 35 Scotland's rising political stars in 2020. 

 

Deena is the Labour Councillor for Hilton/ Woodside/ Stockethill ward in Aberdeen and she is the first woman of colour elected into the Aberdeen city council. Deena is also the representative for the North East of Scotland Highlands and Islands in the Scottish Executive of the Labour Party.

 

Deena has an academic background in global and public health and she is an entrepreneur . Deena has also been involved in several health projects globally, including war zone volunteering.

 

Deena is the  Regional Chair for North East Scotland G100 Global women's leadership network.

Deena sits on to the advisory board for the Rt Hon Gordon Brown's Think Tank – Our Scottish Future.

Scroll down to read more about Deena's education, early life, and journey in politics.

You can also navigate pages of this website to read more about Deena's ongoing work.

Educational

Background

Born in Sri Lanka, Deena schooled at the British School in Colombo and moved to Aberdeen to pursue her university education. She attended Robert Gordon University where she attained her undergraduate degree in the field of medical science. Her interest in policy and social justice led her to do a master’s degree in Global Health and Management at the University of Aberdeen and further continued into Public Health while conducting research for her PhD in Public Health.

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Early life and Passion for Improving people’s lives

From a very young age, Deena’s parents have inspired her to be involved in humanitarian work. From as little as the age of 8 years old, Deena would accompany her late father, who was a medical doctor, on humanitarian missions to lend a helping hand to people in need in rural and deprived regions, war zones, and disaster-hit areas in Sri Lanka. Since then, Deena has worked in various public health, and humanitarian projects globally including the Northeast of Scotland. Inspired by her mother who is a former movie star and a beauty queen, Deena is also a former beauty queen, she participated at the Miss Sri Lanka  Miss World pageant in 2010. Deena uses this platform to empower women and youth of developing countries. 

Deena- public health project in Asia

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Deena- public health project in Asia

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Grassroot Involvement in Politics

Deena is a grassroots campaigner who started her political journey in student union politics. Her first taste in politics happened over a decade ago when she was elected as the vice president International of the Robert Gordon University Student Union. She served three terms in the position and campaigned on various causes such as unfair immigration laws that discriminated international students, education attainment gap, anti-discrimination, equal opportunity, mental health and wellbeing, and improving study experience in higher education. Deena has received multiple awards for her work and commitment towards campaigning for students' rights from the Scottish Government and Robert Gordon University.

In 2013, Deena cofounded a UK-wide political movement called the SASU that represents and promotes the educational welfare of its members including the social, economic, and cultural interests of South Asian students across the UK. Through this organisation she championed for equal rights and successfully campaigned against the British Government on discriminatory immigration laws that affected international students.

Deena being presented an award at the RGU student achievement awards ball

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Deena being presented an award at the RGU student achievement awards ball

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Deena being presented an award at the RGU student achievement awards ball

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Experience with the Labour Party

Deena has served as the Vice chairwoman of Aberdeen Central CLP since 2017. Deena has held positions as a member of the Selection committee and the Local Government committee within her CLP. She has helped organise and has actively campaigned for the last 9 elections, for the vision of the Labour party. 

 

In 2016, Deena became one of the five women in Scotland who was chosen for the first cohort of the Jo Cox Women in Leadership programme with UK Labour. She has been trained with specialised skills that are necessary for women to take up leadership in politics and she was also mentored by the former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale at the Scottish parliament. Deena has attended several party conferences as her CLP delegate, she has been interviewed by the BBC on politics several times and she was recognised as one of the 35 under 35 Scotland’s rising political stars in 2020 by the Press and Journal.

 

In February 2022, Deena was elected on to the Scottish Executive of the Labour Party to represent the Northeast, Highlands, and the Islands where she is working to steer Scottish Labour towards progressive and inclusive policies such as energy transition, green-freeports, national strategies to tackling food poverty at local levels, and improving diversity in representation.

 

In May 2022, Deena was elected as the Scottish Labour Councillor for Hilton/ Woodside/ Stockethill ward and became the first ever woman of colour elected to the Aberdeen City Council. Deena was appointed as the Public Health Lead for Labour in Aberdeen and sits on the Integrate Joint Board.

Deena Campaigning for Local Government elections
Deena Campaigning for Local Government elections

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Deena speaking at party conference

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Deena campaigning for Scottish Parliamentary elections

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Deena Campaigning for Local Government elections
Deena Campaigning for Local Government elections

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Community and Other Work

Deena has served as a local community councillor for 4 years in representing her community members to the local authorities. Deena has worked on various public health projects in such as: welcoming Afghan refugees, programs tackling food poverty, working with charities to assist women victimised by domestic violence who are subjected to no recourse to public funds on their visas, and many more.

Deena has experience sitting on various steering committees and associate bodies including London World Health Organisation, Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science, Centre for global development, and Aberdeen MELA one world day – a cultural carnival and food festival that celebrates the diversity of Aberdeen.

Deena is a young female entrepreneur, she is the founder of a higher education consultancy that works with Universities and education institutions globally in the aim of delivering higher education and collaboration opportunities to students across the world.

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