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Baroness Amos becomes first black female university leader

NEW ROLE: Baroness Amos

BARONESS VALERIE Amos has become the first-ever female black leader at a university in the UK.

The senior United Nations official and former Cabinet minister, who is set to take charge of SOAS University of London in September, said she was “honoured” to be joining the institution.

“SOAS is a special institution with global recognition for its research and teaching on Asia, Africa and the Middle East, bringing different perspectives to scholarship,” she said.

Since it was founded in 1916, SOAS University of London has forged a global reputation for research and teaching with a focus on the three places as mentioned by Baroness Amos, who will be replacing Professor Paul Webley who is retiring from SOAS due to ill health.

The new leader hailed the school’s “vast repository of knowledge and expertise on its specialist regions” and added: “SOAS is uniquely placed to inform and shape current thinking about the religious, political, cultural, security and economic challenges of our world.”

“SOAS is a place where I can continue to grow and learn and use the skills, knowledge and experience I have gained over the years.”

Born in Guyana, the Baroness was educated at Bexley Technical High School for Girls (now Townley Grammar School) in south-east London.

She went on to earn a BA in Sociology from the University of Warwick and an MA in Cultural Studies from the University of Birmingham.

Baroness Amos is also co-founder and Patron of the Amos Bursary, which promotes higher education opportunities for young men of African and Caribbean heritage in the UK.

Tim Miller, Chair of SOAS’ Governing Body said: "Valerie Amos is a major figure on the international stage. Like SOAS, she is renowned for formidable intellect, international outlook, cultural fluency and engagement with contemporary issues. She also brings impressive experience of operational and strategic management to the role. We look forward to welcoming her to SOAS."

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