Former Chief Executive of the Youth Hostels Association, Caroline White

The full list of the nine honorary degrees to be awarded by Leeds Beckett University is:

Former Chief Executive of the Youth Hostels Association, Caroline White, receives honorary degree 
Monday 24 July, 1pm Caroline White, Hon Doctorate of Sport Science. Caroline, who this month has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Sport and Recreation Alliance for a three-year term, has spent the last nine years as Chief Executive of the Youth Hostels Association, giving young people life-changing opportunities through travel, education and engagement with others.

Caroline White, the former Chief Executive of the Youth Hostels Association (YHA), has received an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University.

She has been awarded the Honorary Doctorate for her dedication and commitment to helping improve young people’s lives through sport and recreation.

Caroline, who this month has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Sport and Recreation Alliance for a three-year term, spent nine years as Chief Executive of the YHA, and throughout her time there she transformed it into a modern, vibrant charity with hostels in 160 locations across England and Wales.

Over the course of her tenure, she refocused the charity’s strategy on young people and the huge opportunities and impact that a stay at a youth hostel can have. Her approach worked and resulted in record numbers of guests, with over one million now staying per year, including half a million people under the age of 26.

Caroline developed a range of partnerships whilst at the YHA, with organisations including Leeds Beckett University and Carnegie Great Outdoors, who together now deliver an outdoor education programme for young people.

Caroline also oversaw the creation of hundreds of volunteering opportunities for young people, including Leeds Beckett students, and helped to provide learning opportunities for 8,000 school, college and youth groups to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum, as well as giving thousands of disadvantaged young people a part-funded trip as part of the YHA’s ‘Breaks for Kids’ scheme.

She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University at today’s ceremony, for her contribution to helping improve young people’s lives through sport and recreation.

Leeds Beckett University Chancellor, Sir Bob Murray CBE, said: “Caroline has led the YHA to a position that provides great opportunities - including sport and recreation - for young people, including our University students, staff and partners.

“She passionately believed in the life‐changing opportunities that the YHA could give young people through travel, education and engagement with others of different backgrounds, and used her leadership and transformational skills to ensure the charity re-connected with that audience and delivered for them.

“The number of young people who have benefitted from Caroline’s commitment to transforming the organisation is a huge testament to her vision and drive, and I am delighted that Leeds Beckett University is recognising her success with this Honorary Doctorate.”

Speaking about receiving her Honorary Doctorate, Caroline said: “I’m delighted to be a part of Leeds Beckett and it was such a surprise when the letter came through the post. I wasn’t expecting it so I’m thrilled, excited and just really pleased to be part of such a great institution, so thank you very much for giving it to me.

“The key message I would give to today’s graduates is to be brave. In your life people will open doors for you, and I’d say be brave and walk through them no matter how scary the other side might seem.”

Humanitarian Rae McGrath receives honorary degree

Tuesday 25 July, 1pm –Rae McGrath, Hon Doctorate of Laws. Rae is a Writer and Independent Advisor on humanitarian response to conflict and natural emergencies. Rae, who was Mercy Corps Director responsible for programmes in North Syria & Turkey including migration response, has an enduring interest in all aspects of civil society advocacy, the effects of popular language on the rights of minorities and the impact of sustained bombardments on civilian populations, especially on youth.

Writer and Independent Advisor on humanitarian response to conflict and natural emergencies, Rae McGrath, has received an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University.

Rae, who was Mercy Corps Director responsible for programmes in North Syria and Turkey including migration response, has an enduring interest in all aspects of civil society advocacy, the effects of popular language on the rights of minorities and the impact of sustained bombardments on civilian populations, especially on youth.

His day-to-day work for more than 32 years has been the delivery of humanitarian aid to communities in frontline, bombarded and besieged areas and immediate natural disaster response.

Rae was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Leeds Beckett University at today’s ceremony.

On receiving his honorary degree, Rae said: “Receiving this degree from Leeds Beckett is an affirmation of a lot of the work I have done over the past 30 years in the humanitarian field. I’ve always had the support of universities in this country and other countries, so I feel like it’s something of a coming home for me. It’s very nice to be honoured in this way.

“I have three messages for today’s graduates; the first would be to make sure that you enjoy life, to do the things that will make you happy – don’t put them off till next week. I think secondly, it’s very important to set out with a plan and it doesn’t matter if you don’t exactly get it right. Finally, and most importantly, to respect other people’s rights and to speak out if you see injustice.”

Rae left the military following nearly 18 years as a military engineer in the UK Armed Forces in 1985, his first assignment being with Save the Children Fund UK, managing the distribution and transportation of emergency food aid throughout Darfur in Western Sudan. He has since specialised in emergency humanitarian response to conflict and disasters in countries throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East, working with a number of major international and indigenous Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).  During the 1980s Rae established mine clearance and minefield survey projects within INGO agricultural programming in Paktya Province of Afghanistan and later managed the deployment of the first United Nations mine clearance programme in Afghanistan, in Kunar Province. He has also been active in humanitarian-based advocacy and was a co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) which he represented when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. As a Nobel co-Laureate he delivered the Peace Lecture.

He worked closely with Princess Diana introducing her to landmines advocacy issues and was also a leading member of the Cluster Munition Coalition, providing much of the technical basis for the campaign’s legal and humanitarian arguments. Both campaigns resulted in new international treaties and the ICBL was instrumental in establishing the principle of NGOs’ participation in international treaty conferences. Rae was the founder of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and was its first CEO until 1996 when he left to pursue his preference for field-based work delivering emergency humanitarian aid in complex scenarios. While at MAG he helped to establish many of the core technical principles which still underpin humanitarian survey and clearance of explosive ordnance today. McGrath has also specialised in placing battlefield realities into the contextual framework of International Law and looking for practical means to ensure that humanitarian aid can be delivered across battlefields and how combatant commanders can be engaged in ensuring successful and casualty-free implementation.

Among a wide range of assignments over more than 30 years of humanitarian deployments, he worked, prior to the Sudan peace agreement, with local Sudanese partners, the European Commission and the IGAD Partner Forum, to establish the principle of cross-line cooperation to evaluate the scale and impact of landmine usage. The secondary objective of this project was to ensure landmine eradication was incorporated in any future peace talks and to encourage the common ground potential of landmine impact on communities.

Rae was Country Director Indonesia for International Medical Corps for two years following the 2004 Tsunami and led the first phase response to the 2006 West Java earthquake, initiating a rapid air survey to define major impact areas and established a tented medical and aid response close to the epicentre in Bantul. He spent five years as Senior Response Manager for Save the Children Emergency Response teams coordinating many disaster and conflict programs worldwide. In April 2013 he became Mercy Corps’ Country Director for North Syria and Turkey, heading up the biggest cross-border humanitarian response into Syria, focused primarily on Aleppo Province and especially on the besieged and heavily bombed eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo City, providing food, flour and other essential commodities on a daily basis and establishing refugee programming in Turkey. Since the beginning of 2017 Rae has been working independently, providing conflict response advisory services and training for INGOs as well as writing and lecturing.

Born in Liverpool, Rae was an Associate and Visiting Lecturer at the Post War Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) at York University for more than 17 years. Rae has lectured widely worldwide on humanitarian and conflict issues and is author of a number of books and key papers.

Shantona Women’s Centre Chief Executive, Nahid Rasool, receives honorary degree
The Chief Executive of the Shantona Women’s Centre, Nahid Rasool, has received an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University.
Nahid has been Chief Executive of the Shantona Women’s Centre for the past 18 years and was officially recognised by the University for her commitment to empowering communities in Leeds.   

The Shantona Women’s Centre was established in Leeds in 1998 to offer help and support to women from the Bangladeshi community and employed just two full-time staff, including Nahid.  
Since then, Nahid has been responsible for growing it into a diverse, multi-cultural organisation employing 30 staff, which offers women and young children of black and minority ethnicity (BME) an open, transparent service that builds upon their skills and helps bridge the gap between societies.
It now runs a range of services focusing on community cohesion and tackling inequality, and supports women and girls with issues such as domestic violence and child sexual exploitation.
Nahid has carried out several research projects on community cohesion, performance management within the voluntary sector and domestic violence, and, in 2007, she achieved an MBA at Leeds Beckett University.

On receiving her honorary degree, Nahid said: “Receiving this honorary degree is a huge achievement for me: it is recognition for my contribution, because I’m passionate about it, but it’s also getting the recognition from the university where I graduated – I was actually on the other side of things like the students who are graduating today. Now I am getting the honorary graduation and the university recognition, which is a huge achievement for me and for my organisation.”
Under Nahid’s direction, the Shantona Women’s Centre has received various awards and accolades, including the Duke of York Community Initiatives Award in 2007 and 2012, and an A1 Business Excellence Award for Best Women’s Centre in 2015.
As well as being instrumental in the continued success of the Shantona Women’s Centre, Nahid is highly committed to improving race relations and reducing inequality in various sectors, including health and education. She sits on strategic committees engaged with children, education, family support and equality and diversity, and is also a school governor.  
Offering her advice to this year’s gradates, Nahid added: “My message to the students graduating today is to be true to your purpose and expect that there will be a lot of challenges that you will come across, which will improve the quality of your journey and your purpose.”
Nahid’s role within the Leeds community has also led to her involvement at a national level, and in 2016 the Shantona Women’s Centre was visited by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron. 
She has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University today (Wednesday 26 July), for her contribution to the public and voluntary sector in Leeds.
Leeds Beckett University Chancellor, Sir Bob Murray CBE, said: “Nahid’s drive, determination and passion have made a real difference to people’s lives, and we are delighted to recognise her huge contribution to society. 
“She herself faced many challenges and prejudices as an Asian woman when she first visited and lived in the UK, and she decided she wanted to do something positive about it, which she most certainly has.
“Nahid’s ambition, to help reduce the inequality and discrimination faced by BME women and girls who live in this country, has seen her work tirelessly to ensure the Shantona Women’s Centre continuously evolves to meet their needs, providing vital support and bridging gaps in society.
“She is a real inspiration who has been fundamental in empowering many women and children.”

 Paralympic campaigner receives honorary degree
Dr Bob Price OBE, an international pioneer for the progression of disabled athletes, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University, where he graduated from the Carnegie School of Sport in 1970 with a PE degree.
Dr Price started his career as a physical education teacher for children with severe physical disabilities, before moving on to become head of delegation to the Great Britain team in five consecutive Summer Paralympic Games.
His subsequent roles as Chairman of the British Paralympic Association, President of the European Paralympic Committee and more recently, President of the International Federation for sport for athletes with an intellectual disability (Inas), have seen unprecedented achievements in disability sport.
Dr Price has campaigned throughout his four-decade career for the equal promotion of disability groups within Paralympics. However, when intellectually-disabled athletes were excluded from future Paralympic competition in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, Dr Price was encouraged to intervene directly, by accepting the Inas presidency and working with the International Paralympic Committee to find a solution in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Speaking about receiving his honorary degree, Dr Bob Price said: “Receiving an honorary degree from any institution is a cause for gratitude and receiving one from Leeds Beckett University has a special and added significance because it was on this campus that I first began as an undergraduate more than 50 years ago. There is a real sense of circularity associated with the fact that 50-odd years later the same institution has asked me back to a graduation ceremony.”
In 1993 he was awarded an OBE for services to sport and the disabled, and gained membership of the Paralympic Order in 2006.
Offering advice to this year’s graduates, Dr Price said: “What I would suggest to all of today’s young graduates is that they seize whatever opportunity comes before them. You never really know what’s around the corner in your career; but, unfortunately, I’ve come across too many people who, too late in life, think back to opportunities that they could’ve taken but didn’t. I would say to anybody graduating today, at the other end of their career: whatever opportunity comes along, grasp it eagerly, work at it, work with it and, almost certainly, it will lead you somewhere else every bit as exciting. Don’t let them go by!”
Dr Price was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Sport Science on Friday 28 July, for his global services to disability sport.
Leeds Beckett University Chancellor, Sir Bob Murray CBE, said: “Dr Price’s achievements in disability sport have had significant global impact; something we aspire to for all of our students here at Leeds Beckett University.
“His success leaves a lasting legacy for all athletes with an intellectual disability across the world, and shows our students just what can be achieved with the grounding of a degree from our University and the ‘can do’ attitude of a truly inspirational campaigner. He has worked tirelessly for the inclusion of Paralympic athletes, and we are extremely proud to call him an alumnus of the University and now an Honorary Doctorate.”

The full list of the nine honorary degrees awarded by Leeds Beckett University this year is:
Monday 24 July Caroline White, Hon Doctorate of Sport Science. Caroline is the CEO of the Youth Hostels Association, giving young people life-changing opportunities through travel, education and engagement with others.
Tuesday 25 July –Rae McGrath, Hon Doctorate of Laws. Rae is a Writer and Independent Advisor on humanitarian response to conflict and natural emergencies. Rae, who was Mercy Corps Director responsible for programmes in North Syria & Turkey including migration response, has an enduring interest in all aspects of civil society advocacy, the effects of popular language on the rights of minorities and the impact of sustained bombardments on civilian populations, especially on youth.
Wednesday 26 July – Sally-Anne Greenfield, Hon Doctorate of the University. Sally Anne is founder of Leeds Community Foundation, which channels financial resources to help local issues of child sexual exploitation, domestic violence and the poverty gap, amongst others.
Wednesday 26 July – Professor Susan Price CBE, Hon Doctorate of Arts. Susan is the former Vice Chancellor of the University and a long-standing contributor to the Higher Education sector.
Wednesday 26 July – Nahid Rasool, Hon Doctorate of the University. As CEO of Shantona Women’s Centre, Nahid provides crucial support to women of all different cultures and backgrounds.
Thursday 27 July, 10am – Ben Wilkins, Hon Doctorate of Arts. Ben was the sound mixer on the BAFTA / Oscar- winning film ‘Whiplash’ in 2015. He works at Warner Sound in Los Angeles.
Friday 28 July, 10am – Ady Hinchcliffe, Hon Doctorate of Sport Science. Ady is a national coach within the Australian team, a former British Olympic Diving Coach and former Head Coach for the City of Leeds Diving Club, home to six of the British podium divers. He is also a Leeds Beckett graduate.
Friday 28 July, 1pm – Dr Bob Price OBE, Hon Doctorate of Sport Science. During his work on various international Paralympic committees, Dr Price, alumni of the University, has created a lasting legacy for athletes across the world who have an intellectual disability.
Friday 28 July, 4pm – Kadeena Cox MBE, Hon Doctorate of the University. Kadeena is a Leeds Beckett graduate and Paralympic world record-breaker.

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