Cambridge college launches £4.5 million research centre for global studies

Margaret Anstee

A world-class research facility has been founded at Newnham College in honour of Dame Margaret Anstee – the first female Under-Secretary General of the United Nations.

The Margaret Anstee Centre for Global Studies, to be known as The Margaret Anstee Centre (MAC), will specialise in Economic, Social Development and International Relations research.

Dame Margaret, pictured, came up to Newnham in 1944 to read Modern and Mediaeval Languages and got a First. She was made an Honorary Fellow of the College in 1991 and financially supported many Newnham students to carry out field work abroad.

She had a whole string of ‘firsts’ to her name including reaching the rank of Under-Secretary General of the UN in 1987. She served all over the world during her career including in South America, Ethiopia and Morocco. She coordinated the response to disasters from the Bangladesh cyclone to Chernobyl, and led the UN team which attempted to secure a peace settlement in Angola. She also advised successive UN secretaries-general on post-conflict peace building.

Her autobiography Never Learn to Type encapsulated her ambition and determination to succeed.

Dame Margaret died aged 90 on August 25 2016 and left a £4.5 million legacy to Newnham. It was decided that a research centre based at Newnham would honour her international reputation and enable new and exciting research to be carried out in her name.

Dr Emma Mawdsley, Reader in Human Geography and one of Newnham’s Director of Studies in Geography, has been appointed as the Director of MAC.

She said: “This is a transformational legacy which demonstrates how much Margaret appreciated the start that Newnham College gave to her eminent career. The Margaret Anstee Centre for Global Studies will initially focus on current trends in international development with the aim of supporting inclusive social and economic change around the world.”

The centre will be based in the new state-of-the-art Dorothy Garrod Building at Newnham and it will open in the autumn of 2018. Newnham College is now recruiting the first Margaret Anstee Fellow and MAC will also support PhD and MPhil students.

Robert Jackson, speaking on behalf of the Trustees of Dame Margaret’s estate, said: “I am delighted that Dame Margaret’s legacy to Newnham is to be used in such an imaginative way to honour her undoubted achievements in the fields of international development and collaboration.

“Her legacy reflects her feelings of indebtedness towards Newnham and her hopes that the centre will provide others with the opportunity to serve the world as she did. We look forward to the opening of the centre and the appointment of the first Fellow.”

Find out more about the Margaret Anstee Fellowship