Margaret Anstee

Margaret Anstee Centre for Global StudiesDame Margaret Joan Anstee, Honorary Fellowship Citation

Dame Margaret Joan Anstee, DCMG, MA, BSC, DU, Hon LLD, Hon DSc (Econ) (NC 1944)

Dame Margaret Joan Anstee, a Mary Sparke scholar (NC 1944), obtained a first-class degree in MML (French and Spanish). Starting as a lecturer at Queens University, Belfast she then became one of the first women admitted to the British Foreign Service. She later served the United Nations for more than four decades (1952-93), heading economic and social development missions in all the developing regions of the world, as well as disaster relief operations, a pioneer in senior international posts previously denied to women.

In 1987 she became the first woman Under-Secretary-General as Director-General of the UN Office in Vienna (1987-92), where she headed the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, including crime prevention and criminal justice, and coordinated all UN programmes of narcotic drug control. In 1992-93 she was the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Angola, the first woman to head a UN military peacekeeping mission.

She had a long association with Bolivia, advising successive Presidents and making her home on Lake Titicaca. Since retirement she also served as an advisor to the UN Departments of Political Affairs and Peacekeeping Operations, took part in practical training in peacekeeping techniques for military and civilian personnel and lectured and written widely on the UN. She published several books on Bolivia and Angola, as well as her autobiography, Never Learn to Type, and a biography of Professor J.B. Trend, who greatly influenced her life at Cambridge.

In the 1994 New Year Honours, Queen Elizabeth II made her a Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George. She has also been honoured by the Governments of Austria, Bolivia and Morocco.  She has been awarded Honorary Degrees from the University of Essex (1994), University of Westminster (1996), University of London (1998), and the University of Cambridge (2004).

The status of Honorary Fellow was conferred upon Dame Margaret Joan Anstee on 8 March 1991.

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