SOAS University of London

Irene Khan

Irene Khan

Dr Irene Zubaida Khan was awarded an Honorary DSC (SocSci) in 2007 in recognition of her distinguished career in the field of human rights.

Irene Khan joined Amnesty International as Secretary General in August 2001. The first woman, first Asian and first Muslim to head the world's largest human rights organization, she has led Amnesty International through developments in the wake of September 11, confronting the backlash against human rights; broadening the work of the organisation in areas of economic, social and cultural rights; and bringing a strong focus to the issue of women's human rights and violence against women.

Prior to joining Amnesty International she served with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, including as Deputy Director in the Department of International Protection, Chief of Mission in India, Senior Legal Advisor for Asia and Senior Executive Officer to the High Commissioner.

Irene Khan is a recipient of the Pilkington "Women of the Year" award (2002), the John Owens Distinguished Alumni award (University of Manchester - 2003) and the City of Sydney Peace Prize (2006). She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Manchester and was awarded honorary doctorates by Ferris University (Japan), Staffordshire University (UK), Ghent University (Belgium), the University of London and the University of Manchester. She has been voted one of the 100 Most Influential Asians in the UK.