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Welcome to Professor Karen O’Brien, our new Vice-Chancellor and Warden.

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Professor O’Brien became the 25th Vice-Chancellor in our near-200-year history when she took up her position on 4 January. She joins us from the University of Oxford, where for the last five years she led the Humanities Division with great success.

She was previously Vice-Principal of Education at King’s College London and has held a number of national and international leadership roles. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse, University of Cambridge, she has published widely on the literature and intellectual history of the Enlightenment

In her introductory video to staff and students, Professor O’Brien said: “I am delighted and honoured to be taking up this post in a university with such a long and outstanding reputation for the quality of its education, research, wider student experience, and keen sense of community.

“I am thrilled to be joining such an internationally diverse body of students, staff and alumni that has for so long made such a positive impact upon the knowledge base and mutual understanding of our world.”

“As your Vice-Chancellor it will be my role to support and foster Durham’s great strengths of enquiry, learning and intellectual integrity. And it is in keeping with these, that we will continue to strive for equity, inclusion, and a sense of global outlook and social purpose in all that we do.”

Professor O’Brien also expressed her gratitude and appreciation to Professor Antony Long for his service as acting Vice-Chancellor since August, and to her predecessor, Professor Stuart Corbridge.

You can watch Professor O’Brien’s video here.



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