Shami Chakrabarti

Shami Chakrabarti and Dame Barbara Young become Honorary Graduates

On the fourth day of graduation, two eminent women are honoured.

Shami Chakrabarti has been Director of Liberty (The National Council for Civil Liberties) since September 2003. Shami first joined Liberty as In-House Counsel on 10 September 2001.

She became heavily involved in its engagement with the “War on Terror” and with the defence and promotion of human rights values in Parliament, the Courts and wider society.

A Barrister by background, she was called to the Bar in 1994 after graduating from the London School of Economics and worked as a lawyer in the Home Office from 1996 until 2001.

Since becoming Liberty’s Director she has written, spoken and broadcast widely on the importance of the post-WW2 human rights framework as an essential component of democratic society.

Professor Susan Banducci from the Politics Department said ‘Through her relentless work, Shami Chakrabarti has demonstrated the importance of human rights as part of our political culture and institutions. As a University which embraces cultural diversity, it is entirely fitting that she is here to inspire our students, the leaders of the future, to become protectors of individual rights and community values as they graduate from this University.’

Earlier in the day, Dame Barbara Young was also awarded an honorary degree.

Barbara Young’s early career was spent in public relations and in health services management. She was Chairman then President of the Institute of Health Services Management from 1986 to 1988, and A King’s Fund International Fellow in 1985-86 and 1990-1991.

After 20 years in health care, she switched to an environmental career and has held posts as Chief Executive of the Environment Agency and Chairman of English Nature. From 1990 to 1998, she held the post of Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). She is active in the conservation and environment voluntary sector as President of the British Trust for Ornithology and of the Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough Wildlife Trust, and as Vice-President of RSPB, Birdlife International, Plantlife and Flora and Fauna International. She sits on the government’s Climate Change Adaptation Committee. She is also Chancellor of Cranfield University.

Date: 15 July 2010

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