SOAS University of London

Zeinab Badawi appointed as President of SOAS

5 October 2021

The award-winning broadcaster, journalist and SOAS alumna, Zeinab Badawi, has been appointed as the new President of SOAS. 

Zeinab is one of the best-known broadcast journalists working in the field today. Her current work includes interviewing some of the world’s most notable personalities and politicians on BBC Hardtalk and hosting Global Questions on BBC World TV and the BBC News Channel - a programme which invites audiences from around the world to question their leaders on global issues. She is also the founder of the production company, Kush Communications, which creates thought provoking programmes and films including the ground breaking 20 -part series ‘The History of Africa with Zeinab Badawi’.

Zeinab Badawi

Zeinab said: “This is a really significant time to be starting this journey as the new President of SOAS. It comes at a time when SOAS is increasingly asserting itself with great confidence on the UK and global stage. I look forward tremendously to working with the academic community, staff, the student body, alumni, the supporters, partners and friends of SOAS.”

SOAS Director Professor Adam Habib said: “It is an honour to welcome Zeinab back to SOAS as our new President. Her lifelong commitment to make a difference through her work combined with her distinguished career in broadcasting makes her an inspiring role model for our student community and beyond. We very much look forward to working with Zeinab in the coming months.”

Zeinab recently completed her tenure as Chair of the Royal African Society, amongst other posts she is a Queen’s appointment to the Board of Historic Royal Palaces, a founding and current trustee of the charitable arm of the BBC - BBC Media Action - a Patron of the United Nations Association UK, a member of the high level group of the Africa-Europe Foundation, she serves on the international advisory boards of Afro Barometer and the Mandela Institute for Development Studies and is on the council of the UK Arts, Humanities and Research Council. 

Zeinab studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University and took a Masters degree (awarded with a distinction) on Middle East History and Anthropology at SOAS London University. In 2011 Zeinab was awarded an honorary doctorate by SOAS for her services to international broadcasting. In August 2018, she was awarded the President's Medal of the British Academy for her contributions to international political journalism and advocacy work for female education.  And in 2020 she received the Sir Brian Urquhart Award from the United Nations Association UK for distinguished service to the UN.  

Zeinab will assume the role of President with immediate effect following from the renowned humanitarian and activist Graça Machel.

Watch Zeinab's message to the SOAS community below. 

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Zeinab Badawi appointed as the President of SOAS

For further information, contact:

comms@soas.ac.uk