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Kirsty Cockburn appointed as the ACU’s Director of External Engagement

Published on 25 March 2020
Kirsty Cockburn

Kirsty will join the ACU in April 2020 as Director of External Engagement.

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) has appointed Kirsty Cockburn as Director of External Engagement.

Kirsty’s professional background bridges charitable, private and academic sectors, in leadership roles that have spanned communications, marketing and fundraising. She will join the ACU in April 2020 from her current role as Head of Media and Public Affairs, Southern Water. Prior to this, she led a marketing team linking a network of schools based at the University of Brighton. Before that, she was Director of Policy and External Affairs at Wilton Park, an organisation affiliated to the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office, hosting high level events on international policy issues.

Speaking of her new role, Kirsty said ‘I am delighted to be joining the ACU at this critical time. Now more than ever we need to champion networks sharing knowledge and finding new ways to address deepening global challenges. The current Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease pandemic is a sombre reminder of our need for effective, reliable communication and education, so I feel especially honoured to be joining the ACU at this time. I’m hugely committed to helping the ACU boost access to higher education across the Commonwealth and the world’.

Dr Joanna Newman, Chief Executive and Secretary General of the ACU, added ‘I look forward to welcoming Kirsty to the ACU’s Senior Executive Team. Kirsty brings a wealth of international experience of marketing, events, and leading teams through times of change. I am confident that she will enable us to continue delivering support and value to our members, clients, and other stakeholders’.

Kirsty Cockburn’s professional background began in local radio journalism and includes more than a decade at the BBC, first at BBC World Service and then as Director of Communications and Fundraising for BBC Media Action, the BBC’s international development charity. She has also helped shape research and policy communication strategies at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and at the Institute and Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex. She has delivered outputs on international affairs that include policy briefings and journal articles, digital marketing strategies, a From Our Own Correspondent on Myanmar, and a TEDx talk on the Nepal earthquake. She also has experience of building networks from her role as Managing Editor of SciDevNet, an online resource helping promote and build knowledge about science and technology in the developing world.

More information

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