GUYANESE-born Baroness Valerie Amos has been appointed Master of University College, Oxford. Her new appointment makes her the first Black head of an Oxford College.
According to a report in the Oxford Student, Baroness Amos, who is the current director of SOAS University of London, will take up the post on the first of August 2020, following the retirement of Sir Ivor Crewe, who has held the position for 12 years.
“The college was fortunate in attracting a number of outstanding applicants to become its next master to follow Sir Ivor Crewe in his distinguished tenure in the role. The Governing Body is excited that Baroness Amos agreed to accept our invitation to take on the role from next summer, and we very much look forward to welcoming her to the college and to working with her in the future,” the University College said.
“She brings a wealth and diversity of experience to the role, including a deep knowledge of the higher education sector, and will help us continue Univ’s outstanding reputation for excellence, access and innovation in Oxford.”
Baroness Amos stated that she was honoured to be appointed to her new post.
“I am honoured to have been appointed as Master of University College, Oxford. I look forward to taking up my role next year and joining a community which prides itself on providing an outstanding scholarly environment, excellent teaching and world-class research.
“Univ has been engaged in opening up access and opportunity through its Opportunity Programme and I also look forward to making a contribution to that work.”
The former leader of the House of Lord and United Nations official, who assumed the position of Director for the SOAS –University of London (formerly known as the School of Oriental and African Studies) in 2015, was born at Dry Shore on the Essequibo Coast and lived in Wakenaam until she was nine years old.
She became the first woman of African descent in the United Kingdom to head a University in the UK when she was appointed Director of SOAS University of London.
Before taking up the post at SOAS, she served as Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations (UN).
She has also served in a number of roles in the public sector in the United Kingdom including in local government and as Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission.