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Dr Halima Begum receives honorary degree at Queen Mary Graduation

The final honorary degree of our winter graduation ceremonies was awarded to Dr Halima Begum, the next chief executive of Oxfam GB and current CEO of ActionAid UK, an international charity working with women and girls living in poverty.

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Prior to her work with ActionAid UK, Halima was CEO of the Runnymede Trust, the United Kingdom's leading race equality think tank where she played a nationally significant role in combating inequalities related to the Covid pandemic and supporting wider public understanding of racial justice.   

She is a lifelong campaigner for equality and civil rights, and a role model to others who have come to study at Queen Mary from our diverse local communities.    

On receiving a Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters, Halima said:   

“Queen Mary meant so much to me as a research student. My experiences here, and my exceptional supervisors, contributed enormously in preparing me for my career. I am truly humbled to be awarded this Honorary Degree in recognition of work done with colleagues, supporters and our communities to challenge inequality - particularly during that incredibly complex period where Black Lives Matter coincided with the Covid pandemic.  

In every meaningful way, I am just as honoured to be identified as a role model for today’s students, particularly anyone from the local British Bangladeshi community that is so integral to Queen Mary’s student body.   

Pursuing a degree is so much more than just a personal choice. Undertaking a degree empowers the entire community around you. Queen Mary’s commitment to social justice and its vision to become the most inclusive research-intensive university in the world are laudable. I am proud even to be considered a role model to our current generation of students who, I have no doubt, will go on to play their own full role in ensuring a just, equitable and sustainable world.”  

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