Baroness Valerie Amos: First-ever black College Head at Oxford University

Theodora Aidoo February 18, 2020
Valerie Ann Amos, Baroness Amos, the first woman master of University College and the first Black person to lead any college at Oxford University - Pic Credit:

Baroness Valerie Amos becomes the first female Master of University College, Oxford, and the first black head of any Oxford college.

Baroness Amos is a woman with so many local and international achievements. She was the first Black woman to sit in the British cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development.

Subsequently, she became Leader of the House of Lords and served as the United Kingdom’s High Commissioner to Australia.

Born in Guyana, Amos attended Bexley Technical High School for Girls (now Townley Grammar School), Bexleyheath, where she was the first black deputy head girl.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Warwick and a master’s degree in cultural studies from the University of Birmingham.

She has served as both Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission, and an adviser to the Mandela Government on leadership and change management issues between 1994 and 1998.

Throughout her career, she has supported equality and humanitarianism. Amos was elevated to the peerage in August 1997 as Baroness and since then she has played a vital role in dealing with workplace discrimination as well as enabling international emergency relief efforts.

Baroness Valerie Ann Amos
Pic Credit:

She was Minister for Africa in 2001-2003. She served as international development secretary and as leader of the House of Lords from 2003-2007.

Before serving as undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the United Nations from 2010 to 2015, Baroness Amos was also UK High Commissioner to Australia.

Since 2015, Baroness Amos has served as director of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

The Government of Ghana awarded her the Order of the Volta in 2008, and in June 2016, she was made a Companion of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for her services to the United Nations and emergency relief in conflict areas.

And quite recently, the Right Honourable Baroness Amos CH PC, has been appointed as the new Master of University College.

“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 that 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,” Baroness Amos said.

According to Professor Peter Jezzard, Vice-Master of University College, “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”.

“She brings a wealth and diversity of experience to the role, including a deep knowledge of the higher education sector,” he said.

Baroness Amos will take office as the Master of University College at Oxford University in England on August 1, 2020.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: February 18, 2020


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates