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UN Secretary-General António Guterres visits Trinity

Cambridge’s newest Honorary Fellow, the United Nations Secretary-General, His Excellency António Guterres, was welcomed to Trinity by the Master Dame Sally Davies, the Vice Master Professor Grae Worster, and Cambridge Zero Director and alumna Professor Emily Shuckburgh.

Earlier, the Chancellor of the University of Cambridge Lord Sainsbury of Turville conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Law on António Guterres, in recognition of his work and that of the United Nations, at a special Congregation of the University’s Regent House.

In his address to the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope, academics, and civic and student guests, the Secretary-General warned of a ‘climate catastrophe’ unless the world acted now to keep temperature rises to the 1.5-degree target of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

António Guterres paid tribute to the University’s work in tackling climate change and other environmental crises.

The Chancellor of Cambridge Lord Sainsbury of Turville, His Excellency António Guterres, UN Secretary General, the Master of Trinity Dame Sally Davies, and the Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope. Photo: University of Cambridge

Dame Sally said she was honoured and delighted to welcome the Secretary-General and guests to a reception in Trinity’s Chapel.

It was wonderful to welcome the Secretary-General to Trinity after he received his Honorary Degree from Cambridge, particularly during this pivotal moment when high-level negotiations in Glasgow will affect the lives of all of us.

I was very pleased that among the guests were three Trinity women in STEM at different stages of their academic careers: climate scientist Professor Emily Shuckburgh, third year Medical student Serena Cole and PhD researcher Claudia Feng.

Dame Sally Davies, Serena Cole, Professor Emily Shuckburgh and Claudia Feng. Photo: Mary Turner/UN

As Director of Cambridge Zero, the University’s climate change initiative, Professor Shuckburgh has supported the UK Presidency of COP26 with advice as a Friend of COP26 and ensured relevant scientific evidence inputs into the climate change negotiations of global leaders in Glasgow. She said:

The Secretary-General has said we need institutions dedicated to learning, critical thinking and pushing the boundaries of human understanding. We are responding to that by channeling ideas and innovations from Cambridge to shape climate-resilient net-zero futures for every citizen of the world.

Professor Shuckburgh and His Excellency António Gueterres. Photo: Mary Turner/UN

Trinity student union presidents Serena Cole and Claudia Feng said they were honoured to meet the Secretary-General. Ms Feng, in her third year of a PhD in genetics, said:

It was amazing to see so many accomplished people honouring the achievements of His Excellency António Guterres. I was especially intrigued by Professor Shuckburgh – like me, she studied fluid mechanics at Trinity College, and has gone on to do such incredible things to improve the world we live in, as I hope to do one day after finishing my PhD.

Ms Cole said it was an inspiring occasion.

It was great to see Trinity hosting the Secretary-General of the UN and exciting to see and meet so many inspirational people from different backgrounds under one roof.

Claudia and Serena meeting the UN Secretary-General. Photo: Mary Turner/UN


Read more about the UN Secretary-General’s Honorary Degree from Cambridge

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