A former refugee has been elected as Edinburgh University rector
Debora Kayembe is a human rights lawyer from the Democratic Republic of Congo
A former refugee has been elected as rector at the University of Edinburgh.
Debora Kayembe is human rights lawyer who came to the UK from the Democratic Republic of Congo and has been living in Scotland since 2011.
She is the first person of colour to ever hold the position, which has existed for 163 years.
She said in a statement: “I am delighted and deeply honoured to be elected as the first person of colour to hold the position of rector of the University of Edinburgh.
“I am fully aware of the importance of my role at such a critical time.
“We are facing so many challenges: from the Covid-19 pandemic to the battles for racial justice and the reckoning from the past in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the birth of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
“Respect for the values of humanity and kindness lies at the heart of all my work and I look forward to working with staff, students, and the whole university community, to ensure that everyone is valued.”
Vice-Chancellor Peter Mathieson said: “I am delighted to welcome Ms Kayembe to the University of Edinburgh.
“The position of rector has a long and prestigious lineage, with rectors coming from a broad range of public and cultural life.
“I very much look forward to working with our new rector as we navigate our way through the Covid-19 pandemic and build a bright future for the entire University community.”