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Baroness Warsi Appointed Visiting Professor at St Mary's

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has been appointed Visiting Professor at St Mary’s University, Twickenham starting her role in September.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has been appointed Visiting Professor at St Mary’s University, Twickenham starting her role in September. Baroness Warsi will work closely with the University’s Centre for Initiatives in Spirituality and Reconciliation (InSpiRe) to promote reconciliation within and beyond faith groups through seminars, conferences and outreach. Baroness Warsi was Britain's first Muslim Cabinet minister and at the time of her appointment in 2007 became the youngest member of the House of Lords. In Government, Warsi combined a role in the foreign office and a domestic department as Senior Minister of State in the Foreign Office and Minister for Faith and Communities before resigning from the Government in August 2014 over the Governments policy on Gaza. Prior to politics, Warsi ran her own legal practice specialising in criminal defence, mental health and human rights law. She served as a special adviser to Michael Howard and Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party before she was created a Life Peer as Baroness Warsi, of Dewsbury in the County of West Yorkshire and appointed Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action. David Cameron then appointed Warsi as Minister without Portfolio in Cabinet in 2010 and she succeeded Eric Pickles as Chairman of the Conservative Party. Baroness Warsi has a keen interest in the field of inter-faith relations and was the Government representative who welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to the inter-faith gathering at St Mary's University in 2010. In Government she made the case for Faith in the Public Sphere in a series of high profile speeches and interventions. In February 2012 Warsi led the UK’s largest ministerial delegation on an official visit to Rome to mark the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment of full diplomatic ties between the UK and the Vatican. She has consistently been named by the Royal Strategic Studies Centre as 1 of 500 of the most influential Muslims in the world. St Mary’s Vice-Chancellor Francis Campbell said, “Baroness Warsi will be a tremendous asset to St Mary’s as her dedication to fostering inter-faith relations and strong international links will help our University reach out across borders and forge new relationships overseas. I am delighted to be able to welcome her and look forward to working together across a number of issues, including promoting the role of faith in the public square.” Baroness Sayeeda Warsi said, “I’m proud to be joining St Mary’s and its very distinguished roster of Visiting Professors. The University’s outward looking and progressive stance on faith is impressive as is the crucial role it plays in public life and in education. The role will enable me to continue to build on important work being advanced by St Mary's focussing on the positive power of faith and the great benefit it can have on society.” Baroness Warsi’s appointment is the latest in a series of high-profile appointments as former Secretary of State for Education Ruth Kelly is to join St Mary’s in a new role as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise while former Irish President Mary McAleese was made Distinguished Professor in Irish Studies. Meanwhile, leading barrister Cherie Blair, the UK’s Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland and Rugby World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward were all appointed as Visiting Professors in recent months. This year St Mary’s celebrates its 165th anniversary. The milestone is being marked by a number of high-profile events, including the recent installation of Cardinal Vincent Nichols as Chancellor in a service at Westminster Cathedral, in addition to organising a number of events involving staff, students and the local community at its Strawberry Hill campus.

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