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Baroness Shriti Vadera takes on new University role and warns against ‘retreat to parochialism’

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Baroness Shriti Vadera takes on new University role and warns against ‘retreat to parochialism’

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Chairman of Santander UK and former adviser to Gordon Brown, Baroness Shriti Vadera, today warned against a ‘retreat to nationalism and parochialism’ as Britain moves towards leaving the EU.

Speaking at her installation ceremony as Pro-Chancellor of London’s Catholic University, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, the former Cabinet Office Minister and adviser to the G20 accepted that globalisation had led to ‘disenfranchisement and insecurity’ for some communities in Europe and America . However she said that we must recognise ‘our obligation to each other as global citizens’ and called for a ‘fairer and more just way of ensuring progress is shared by all.’

Speaking to St Mary’s graduands at Westminster Cathedral, Baroness Vadera said:

“…while the gains of globalisation were many, we must recognise the disenfranchisement and insecurity for those that were left behind in certain communities closer to home in Europe and America. But in acknowledging this and looking for a better way forward, we cannot throw out the values that underpinned our efforts: a recognition of our obligation to each other as global citizens in a world where there are no moral strangers.

“I cannot say I have all the right answers to the challenges of today. But I do know that they do not lie in an abandonment of our values and a retreat into nationalism and parochialism.

“My hope for those of you graduating today – carrying as you do the values and ethos of St Mary’s – is that you can lead in shaping a future that combines the best of the opportunities of globalisation and internationalisation with a fairer and more just way of ensuring progress is shared by all.”

Baroness Vadera joins Margaret Mizen MBE as St Mary’s Pro-Chancellor. She will support the work of the University’s Chancellor, His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who presided over the installation during one of the University’s Summer Graduation ceremonies.

In her new role she will support the ceremonial and ambassadorial work of both the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, attending major ceremonies and events in support of the University.

 Speaking about her new role, Baroness Vadera added: “St Mary’s is a wonderful University that is characterised not just by academic excellence but by a warm and welcoming community and a mission to change the world for the better.

“That stems from the Catholic ethos which underpins the University, with its emphasis on being inclusive and outward looking, and on standing up for values of justice and fairness.

“I recognise that ethos from my youth when I, though not a Catholic, was educated at a convent school in India and later during my time in government where we developed close ties with the Holy See in pursuit of key international development goals.

“It is an ethos that has been my lodestar all my life and I hope will continue to inspire and guide you.” 

Speaking about the appointment, Vice Chancellor of St Mary’s University, Professor Francis Campbell, said: “All of the St Mary’s community are honoured to welcome Baroness Vadera as our new Pro-Chancellor. Baroness Vadera is ideally placed to be an ambassador for St Mary’s as she brings a wealth of experience to the university and I look forward to working with her in the coming months and years.”

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