The timing could not have been better. Two women leaders – Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and Secretary-General Designate Dr Joanna Newman, of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) – meeting on International Women’s Day, discussing how their two organisations could work even more closely together.
“I spoke at the biennial ACU Conference of University Leaders last year in Ghana weeks shortly after being elected to office,” said Secretary-General Scotland. “I had such wonderful support from Professor John Wood, the out-going Secretary-General, for whom I have immense respect. He’s now passing on the baton to an exceptional leader who just happens to be a woman.”
Dr Newman is currently a vice-principal of King's College London in the UK and will take up her post next month.
“Joanna will join an organisation with a sterling reputation. We at the Commonwealth Secretariat look forward to working together with the ACU to develop real benefits for the 2.4 billion citizens in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary-General Scotland.”
During a career in academia and journalism, Dr Newman studied for her PhD at the University of Southampton where she was awarded the Parkes Studentship and researched Britain, the West Indies and refuge during the 1930s and 1940s.
Dr Newman said, “The ACU has over 500 member universities in 52 countries, representing enormous diversity and talent, and I am keen to collaborate with organisations such as the Commonwealth Secretariat to support our members to produce the knowledge and people that can solve global challenges. I look forward to working with Baroness Scotland doing even more to secure our shared Commonwealth goals.”
Secretary-General Scotland and Secretary-General designate Newman have agreed to meet on a regular basis to ensure progress on issues including empowering women, ensuring and extending education for all, helping those who need refuge and providing solutions to the existential threat of climate change.