Dr Joanna Newman appointed Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities

Press release 10 January 2017 

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) today announced that Dr Joanna Newman has been appointed as the next Secretary General of the organisation.

Joanna, currently Vice-Principal (International) of King's College London, UK, will take up the post on 3 April 2017. She succeeds Professor John Wood in the role.

Before joining King's in 2014, Joanna was Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit (now known as Universities UK International). Prior to this, she was Head of Higher Education at the British Library. Joanna is a faculty member in the Department of History at King's, and has taught history at University College London and the University of Warwick. In 2014, she was honoured as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her work promoting British higher education internationally.

The ACU is the world's first and oldest international university network, established in 1913, with over 500 member institutions in over 50 countries across the Commonwealth. With three distinct but interconnected areas of work – member services, programmes, and scholarship administration – supported by robust infrastructure and governance arrangements, the ACU delivers value to its members while achieving impact on the world of higher education and wider society.

Professor Jan Thomas, Chair of the ACU Council and Vice-Chancellor of Massey University, New Zealand, welcomed the appointment, saying 'I am delighted that we have appointed such a talented and knowledgeable person to the role, and am confident that Joanna has the right mix of leadership skills and international experience to lead the ACU in its next phase of development'.

Joanna said 'I am honoured to take the helm of such a longstanding and prestigious organisation as the ACU. As universities are increasingly tasked with solving the grand challenges of our time, international engagement and collaboration becomes ever more important. I am excited at the prospect of leading an organisation with such a crucial role to play in connecting universities globally'.


Notes to editors:

1. Dr Joanna Newman studied for her BA at Middlesex University and her MA at University College London. She was awarded the Parkes Studentship to study for her PhD at the University of Southampton, UK; her research focused on Britain, the West Indies and refuge during the 1930s and 1940s. She received a fellowship in American Jewish history at the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, and a postgraduate fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Study, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. She has held academic posts at the University of Warwick and University College London.

Following her time in academia, Joanna then lived in Germany and the USA, working as a journalist and producer, before returning to higher education management at the British Library. Joanna was appointed Vice-Principal (International) of King's College London in March 2014, having been Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit, representing UK higher education institutions in international policy and engagement. Joanna is on the board of the School of Advanced Studies, University of London; International Programmes, University of London; The Conversation UK; and Vitae's external advisory board. In 2014, she was honoured as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her work promoting British higher education internationally. In 2015, she was appointed a Commonwealth Scholarship Commissioner by the UK Secretary of State for International Development.

2. The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) was established in 1913. A UK-registered charity, it is governed by its member institutions through an elected Council. Her Majesty the Queen, the Head of the Commonwealth, is Patron of the ACU. The secretariat of the ACU is based in London, UK.

3. For further information, please contact:
Natasha Lokhun
+44 (0)20 7380 6760
[email protected]

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