In her address to the congregation, Shami thanked the University for allowing her to share in the special celebrations to mark the bi-centenary of the abolition of slavery and felt honoured to be included. She said, “I accept this honorary doctorate as a symbol of the possibilities the future holds and the potential to do more to improve ourselves, our families and society.”
She concluded, “I have lead a full and happy life but have had no prouder, better day than today”.
Baroness Bottomley, Chancellor of the University of Hull said, “Shami Chakrabarti is a woman of great depth and intellect and I can think of no-one who has done more for human rights than her. I thank her for her inspiration and I trust that she will be a friend of Hull for the rest of her time.’
Shami has been Director of Liberty since September 2003. She first joined Liberty as In-House Counsel the day before 9/11 and became heavily involved in its engagement with the ‘War on Terror’ and with the defence and promotion of human rights values in Parliament, the Courts and wider society.
Chakrabarti writes, speaks and broadcasts widely on the importance of the post-WW2 human rights framework as an essential component of democratic society. She is a Governor of the London School of Economics and the British Film Institute, a Visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford and a Master of the Bench of Middle Temple. She was given a CBE earlier this year.
Since Hull is the birthplace of William Wilberforce, the University is home to world-class slavery and emancipation academics. The University opened the Wilberforce Institute for the study for the Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) last year, which is committed not only to carrying out research, but to engage with the community to promote awareness and understanding of contemporary slavery. The honorary degree ceremonies are the latest in a series of Wilberforce 2007 events organised by the University to mark the bi-centenary and are being held at Hull City Hall week commencing July 16th