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Honorary Graduates 2023

Image of Debbie Weekes-Bernard

Image courtesy of Greater London Authority

Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)

Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard is London’s Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice. Debbie joined the mayoral team from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation where she led the organisation’s work on poverty and ethnicity with additional areas of expertise on labour markets, education, lone parents and young people.

Prior to this Debbie worked at the Runnymede Trust as Head of Research, running their work on inclusive curriculum development, education attainment gaps and school exclusion as well as work on community cohesion, race and criminal justice and youth transitions. Debbie has made it a priority to ensure London’s diverse communities have a voice in their city, working to promote social justice and equality for all and is a key player in driving social recovery from Covid-19 and through the cost of living crisis.

Debbie chairs the Mayor’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory group, as well as London’s Strategic Migration Partnership and is co-chair of the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm and an ex-officio member of the London Policing Board.


Image of Hetan Shah

Hetan Shah, Doctor of Science (honoris causa)

Hetan Shah is chief executive at the British Academy, the UK’s national academy for humanities and social sciences. He is also Chair of Our World in Data, which brings together research and data to make progress against global challenges, and a member of the Social Metrics Commission which works to improve measures of UK poverty.

Over the years Hetan has served on a number of boards which promote a fairer society. These roles include Chair of the York based Friends Provident Foundation which supports a fairer economy, and Vice Chair of the Ada Lovelace Institute which promotes artificial intelligence that works for people and society. He was formerly executive director of the Royal Statistical Society.

An advocate for policy informed by research and evidence, he sees the equal value of social science, humanities and arts (SHAPE) disciplines alongside science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).