Aug 3 2020

In memory of Lady Elizabeth Vallance

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It is with great sadness that LSE learnt of the passing of Lady Elizabeth Vallance, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Elizabeth started her LSE career as a student (MSc Government, 1968). She contributed so much to the School as a longstanding member of Court, also serving on the Chair and Vice Chair Selection Committee, Health and Safety Assurance Committee and, most recently, the Governance Committee. Elizabeth was an admired and trusted advisor to many around the School.

She was also a highly respected leader throughout her career, including as a successful academic and subsequently head of the politics department at Queen Mary, University of London. This is in addition to chairing many non-profit health and educational organisation boards including the Institute of Education, St George’s NHS Trust,  the Centre for Mental Health and the National Autism project. Since 2017, Elizabeth was Chair of Trustees for YoungMinds, which campaigns for mental health support for children and young people

We will miss her dearly and extend our deepest condolences as a community to her family at this very difficult time.

Susan Liautaud
LSE Chair of Council

Posted by: Posted on by LSE Internal Communications

Jul 28 2020

In memory of Nicos Kyriacou


Written by Laura Dawson, Director Data and Technology Services

Image of Nicos at LSE, holding a trophyThe Data and Technology Services Division and wider LSE community is shocked and saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, Nicos Kyriacou. Nicos joined LSE in the Information Management and Technology Division (as it was called at the time) in 2012, as the Windows 7 Project Co-ordinator. As with so many people who join LSE, he started with a short-term contract but became a permanent employee very quickly due to not only his obvious talents and engaging style, but also because he loved working here.

There are so many things that made Nicos such a valued member of the team: his honest and empathetic approach to anyone in LSE who had a problem with technology, his humour and objectivity in dealing with ‘difficult’ customers and helping everyone get to the right answer, his support and leadership of our student helpers, his innate sense of fun, his ability to see the root cause of a problem and help everyone to fix it, and his booming voice and clear enunciation which came from his acting roots.

Early on in his career with LSE, Nicos took on a change role in the team, starting our journey in professionalising our services by improving our processes and increasing the capability of the teams. He then took on the management and leadership of the Service Desk, beginning the work to nurture the team to be the best it possibly could be and making the team feel valued and integral to both LSE and the Division.

His last role in DTS was to become one of our new Business Partners, a role that so suited his talents and one he sadly didn’t have the time to really get his teeth into. This showed how much of a full understanding of the Division he had and how he could benefit students and staff to make the most out of technology. It is gutting that we never got to see how much he would shine in this role.

Nicos was not only exceptionally good at his job, professional and engaging, he was also our social secretary. He organised our Christmas Parties and was instrumental in bringing other teams (Digital and the Business Improvement Unit) together to join in the fun, including games and tournaments, that kept the action going and had something for everyone in them. But what he will be most remembered for on the social side were the quizzes. Run with consummate efficiency and a rod of iron, they were stupendously difficult, must-attend events and his decisions were always final no matter how senior you were. Many late afternoons, as work was finishing, he and I would discuss how things could be better in the division and invariably our conversation turned to our mutual love of football, albeit diametrically opposite football teams. I hope he had joy in his beloved Liverpool winning the Premiership this year.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been overwhelmed by the warmth and depth of feelings from across the School, a few of which are below:

“Thank you, Nicos, for being your unique, sparkly, charasmatic self. We will always remember your fun-loving energy that made everyone in the room smile. Rest in Peace”

“Nicos was just fantastic. It’s very sad indeed.”

“I am very sorry to hear of the very sad news that Nicos passed away. I sat opposite him when we were in IMT, so I got to know him quite well, and I can indeed testify to his professionalism in customer service. It is a great loss to his family, DTS and LSE.”

“I’m so sorry to hear the bad news. Over the years we’ve worked together and it was a real pleasure to work with him.”

“Nicos was a wonderful colleague and great servant of LSE. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

“Nicos was an absolutely lovely man and he will be sorely missed.”

“Nicos was a great colleague, always cheerful and helpful and often amused by some LSE foible or other. Very hard to imagine he’s gone.”

He has left behind DTS in a far better place than it was before he started. We have so many reasons to mourn his loss. Nicos was a colleague, someone we all saw everyday at work, that we all laughed with, argued with and got stuff done with. In these strange times, I know that when we do return to the office and things return to normal, we will feel his loss all over again: documents with his name as the author, deeply buried pages on the website and images on our help guides. I don’t really want to delete them or change them, he is a part of our story and he made us a better team.

Nicos passed away on Wednesday 8 July 2020 and leaves behind a loving wife and two beautiful young boys. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

DTS will be holding an online memorial service on the 30 July at 2pm for anyone in LSE who cares to join us to remember Nicos – please get in contact to let us know if you’d like to join. We will also be hosting a quiz in his honour and memory in the middle of August – do let us know if you would like to enter a team.

Posted by: Posted on by Annenberg,A

Jul 16 2020

In memory of Mr Ashok Desai

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The LSE community is extremely saddened to hear of the passing of former Attorney General of India and distinguished LSE alumnus, Mr Ashok Desai.

Desai graduated from the LSE with a BSc in Economics in 1956. Prior to this, he studied at the prestigious Fergusson College in Pune and received the LLB degree from the Government Law College in Bombay. Shortly after graduation from the LSE, Desai was called to the English Bar in Lincoln’s Inn.

Desai went on to teach at both the Government Law College and the Bombay College of Journalism, and also worked as the legal correspondent for the Times of India. The Bombay high court designated Desai as a senior advocate in August 1977. He then served as Solicitor General of India from 1989-1990 before he was appointed Attorney General of India in July 1996. He remained in office until May 1998, through the governments of Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral.

Desai was also a member of the former LSE India Advisory Board which is chaired by Professor Lord Nick Stern, IG Patel Chair of Economics and Government at LSE, and NK Singh, politician and economist. NK Singh, a colleague and personal friend of Desai, commented ‘…he always had creative ideas on what could be done to enhance the academic reach of this prestigious institution in India. Fostering interchanges of students, faculty members and joint research projects were some of the ideas which he had put forward persuasively.’ Professor Lord Nick Stern added ‘Ashok was a very fine person and a wonderful friend of LSE. His scholarship, wisdom and fundamental integrity made a great contribution to LSE, India and the world.’

Outside of his law career, Desai had many eclectic interests. He had a passion for literature, history, politics and music; particularly Hindustani and Western Classical, and opera. Dr Ruth Kattumuri, Co-Director of the India Observatory at LSE, said ‘Desai and his wife Suvarna would often host get-togethers with senior alumni and friends at their home. The most recent being when they hosted LSE Director, Minouche Shafik, during her visit to New Delhi in September 2019. During these dinners he would regale his guests with fascinating stories from his vast experience’.

Desai is survived by his wife, Suvarna Desai.

Posted by: Posted on by Annenberg,A

May 7 2020

Jennifer Pinney


We are saddened to learn of the recent death of longstanding former member of staff, Jennifer Pinney, who worked at the School for 25 years. Colleague and friend Celia Phillips shares her memories of Jennifer.

I first met the formidable Miss Pinney when she arrived at the School. She had come from Paris OECD to head up the administration of the then new, post-Robbins Report Higher Education Research Unit headed by Claus Moser, then Social Statistics Professor there, and Philip Redfern, shortly to become the Head of OPCS. I had just finished my degree and embarked on a doctorate in the educational Statistics area with Claus and officialdom was strange to me. I was terrified of her initially. Jenny however, quickly smoothed my way so I was included in all seminars and given rapid access to any information or contacts I might need. In the days when this was not normal for graduate students she even found me a desk to perch on! She remained supportive, and I owe any proofreading skills I have to her careful tutelage over what seemed endless drafts of my thesis!

Once I joined the Staff, we became friends. And I discovered that her rather formal work demeanour concealed a lively sociable and sympathetic person. I have happy memories of her joining the LSE choir of which she remained a loyal supporter, suppers with musical friends, and many happy nights socialising and playing bridge. Later, she became a family friend and our children remember her exciting visits….

After she left EUSSHE (as it became) she continued her career within the School and others will be more fitted than I to talk of her fundraising under Dahrendorf, her other work with alumni and her whole contribution to the LSE. But over the years, we kept in touch.

In the early 2000’s she persuaded me to follow her ten years on as President of the University of London Lunch Club, one of the LSE-connected things which she continued to support and enjoy until relatively recently. Although her last few years were dogged by illness, I have fairly recent memories of lunches at the club, Easter at Kensington, and numerous musical events….

Celia Phillips  

Posted by: Posted on by O'Connor,D

Apr 30 2020

Sherry Vaid, January 4, 1968 -April 15, 2020


Sherry_VaidIt is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of our colleague and dear friend Sherry Vaid.

Sherry joined the Finance Division as Chief Cashier in August 2010 after a varied career in both the private and public sector. Sherry was firm but fair, could be outspoken, but always professional and well respected within the Finance Division and across the wider School.

A larger than life personality, positive, fun, mischievous with an amazing smile. A social gathering was not complete without Sherry and whatever the occasion, it was sure to be a success when in her company.

Sherry had an ability to make people laugh, forge friendships and take the time to chat and listen, she also made the world’s best samosas and has left an indelible impact on those she met both professionally and on a personal level.

A huge Liverpool fan, Sherry was beaming and enjoying each moment of the team’s success in 2019/20.

The announcement of Sherry’s passing was a great shock for colleagues and for those of us who has the privilege to call her a friend.

Sherry’s family were always foremost in her mind and her number one priority, our hearts and prayers go out to Sherry’s husband Lovedeep, her two sons Saajan and Aman and her parents Parmjit and Jasbir. Her family have requested charitable donations are made to Breast Cancer/ NHS.

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Mar 30 2020

Thandika Mkandawire

Thandika Mkandawire

Thandika Mkandawire

The Department of International Development mourns the loss of our colleague and friend, Thandika Mkandawire, who passed away on 27 March in Stockholm, attended by his wife and sons.

Thandika was a giant in the field of development economics. He brought a depth of knowledge and insight to the field; the Department – and all of LSE – will always be a better place for the decade he spent with us.

Thandika came to LSE after distinguished periods as Executive Secretary of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) (for more on Thandika’s life, including growing up in colonial southern Africa and experiences in the US, Ecuador, and Sweden, see this interview published in 2019 in Development and Change).

Thandika was a beacon of transformative research on African development, never shy to challenge the conventional wisdom. An inspirational thinker and great teacher, he was full of innovative perspectives. And, moreover, a lucid writer (he was a journalist before turning to academia), Thandika had a gift that allowed him to weigh in persuasively in key debates, and that gave his research a global reach.

Thandika’s depth of understanding was magnified throughout his career by active engagement with institutions of research and higher education, through which he sought to nurture informed thinking about Africa, not only through his own research, but by generating frameworks to nurture the work of fellow African scholars, African students and students of Africa. His impact on development economics and the social sciences is deep and will be long-lasting.

Much of Thandika’s research focused on the role of African states in promoting late development. He expressed a deep scepticism of easily-invoked claims of weak state capacity, but at the same time was keenly aware of the challenges facing states and state institutions in Africa and, more generally, throughout the “Global South.” Indeed, in the 1980s and 1990s, as the role of the state became a crucial topic of analysis in all of development studies, a view neatly described by development scholars as seeing the state as “problem and solution”, Thandika’s contributions were immense. He was a leading force in lifting a veil of patrimonialism that, regrettably, tended to dominate scholarship on the capacities and potentials of African states.

Thandika’s important contributions to development also include his extensive writing, teaching, and public engagement on the links between social development and industrial development. He was pivotal in placing social policy at the heart of development studies, not an after-thought or luxury to be enjoyed only at higher levels of income, but a critical dimension of development dynamics. His focus on the productive elements of social policy, for example, has inspired a generation of scholars who examine the interface between education and health policies and broader projects of industrial transformation.

Thandika always embraced a broad vision of development challenges, not just about what was happening in “Africa,” but through an informed comparative approach to countries within the vast African continent, and across regions. Indeed, the time he spent in Latin America continued to influence his thinking through the years, making him appreciate the different challenges facing countries tightly-linked to the USA relative to those he experienced first-hand in British-dominated colonial Africa.

In addition to his exceptional scholarship and teaching, Thandika was, simply, a wonderfully sweet person – caring, cool-headed, and funny. Having Thandika in our midst was a blessing for which we will be forever grateful. His absence will be a profound loss for all of us.

Our deepest sympathies are with Thandika’s family, and the thousands of people across the globe who are also mourning the loss of their colleague, friend, and teacher.

Ken Shadlen
Professor of Development Studies and Head of Department
Department of International Development

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Mar 27 2020

In memory of Richard Goeltz

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The LSE community is saddened by the loss of Honorary Fellow and Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award Recipient Richard Goeltz who passed away on March 23, 2020.

Richard attended LSE as a General Course student in 1962-63 and received his BA with honours in Economics from Brown University in 1964. He earned his MBA from Columbia Business School in 1966.

Richard had a distinguished career in corporate finance, serving most recently as Vice Chair and Chief Financial Officer of American Express from 1996 until his retirement in 2000. From 1992 to 1996, he served as Group Chief Financial Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of NatWest Group, the parent of National Westminster Bank, PLC.  Prior thereto, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at The Seagram Company Ltd.  He joined Seagram in 1970 as a financial analyst, was promoted to Treasurer in 1973 and to vice President, Finance, in 1976.  Before joining Seagram, he spent four years at Exxon as a financial analyst in the Treasury Department. In retirement, Richard served on several corporate boards including Aviva plc, Delta Airlines, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) and Warnaco. He was also a director of the European Equity, New Germany and Central Europe, Russia and Turkey Funds.

In addition to his corporate work, he was a trustee of the American Academy in Berlin, a director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra Trust, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Opera Orchestra of New York and member of American Friends of Covent Garden and the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School.

Richard believed that of all activities in retirement, his work with LSE was the most rewarding both intellectually and personally. He was a tireless supporter of the School who provided enormously generous and sage counsel. He was a long-time member of the Court of Governors and served for more than a decade on Council and many of its standing and ad hoc committees, including pre-Council Chairman’s meetings under Lord Grabiner and Peter Sutherland. He was a member of the Finance Committee and chaired the Business Modelling Group which was essential in strengthening the School’s financial planning process.

The fact that Richard and his wife Mary Ellen split their time between London and New York gave him a unique perspective on LSE, allowing him to be deeply involved with School governance while also serving as a key alumni supporter and advisor in North America. He was an inaugural member of the North American Advisory Board which has advised LSE’s Directors and raised funds for the School since its founding at the behest of Howard Davies in 2007, and served on the Board of the LSE Centennial Fund, now known as American Fund for LSE.  Richard and Mary Ellen warmly and generously hosted numerous events for LSE faculty, alumni and supporters at their homes on both sides of the Atlantic.

Richard was a significant, generous donor to LSE for many years and was listed on the Benefactors’ Board in 2013. He has supported numerous projects, including undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, the Library, the New Academic Building and the Annual Fund. The Richard Karl Goeltz Scholarship Fund and the Adeline and Karl Goeltz Scholarship Fund (named for his parents), support PhD students in the Department of Economics. When asked about his enthusiastic commitment to LSE, he said: “The School makes an investment in students that yields substantial returns for them and society. There is a supreme moral obligation for those who have benefited to help perpetuate a fine institution and enable successors to have the same opportunities and advantages. I hasten to add reciprocity does not mean only money. Time, talent, wisdom and work are equally valuable.”

For his enormous service and devotion to the School, Richard was made an Honorary Fellow in 2015. He also received the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award at the LSE Alumni Forum in New York in May of that same year.

Permeating all of Richard’s dealings with the School was his personal warmth, leading to friendships with many members of the wider School community on both sides of the Atlantic. In many cases his counsel to Chairs and Deputy Chairs of the Court and to successive Directors grew into friendship; and his friendships with academic colleagues, often through lunches whenever he was in London, were wide and deep. He wanted to talk about the School but was equally interested in discussing the research and policy work of individual academics. Those who were lucky enough to know him that way talk of a continuing dialogue punctuated by letters from Richard (mostly handwritten) accompanied by newspaper cuttings or book recommendations. The School has lost a great servant; many members of the School community also feel a deep personal loss.

Richard is survived by his wife of 31 years, Mary Ellen Johnson.

Posted by: Posted on by LSE Internal Communications

Feb 27 2020

In memory of  Professor George Wedell (April 4, 1927- February 23, 2020)


We are mourning the loss of Eberhard Georg (George) Wedell, a child refugee from Nazi-Germany who became an LSE student and dedicated his entire life to promote interfaith dialogue and cross-cultural communication.

Wedell’s grandfather was the Chief Rabbi of Hanover but his father had converted to Protestantism in 1914.  His godfather  was the renowned Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) whose statue is now carved onto the west front of Westminster Abbey as one of the martyrs of the twentieth century.  Wedell and his family were viewed by the Nazis as “Mischlings”, tainted by their Jewish origins.  He had childhood memories of Kristallnacht and was brought to England at the age of 11 with his mother and brothers in 1938. Their escape was secured by the cooperation of George Bell (1883 –1958), then Bishop of Chichester.

Scholarship at LSE

After schooling in Kent, Wedell came to LSE in 1944, studying first in its evacuated home of Peterhouse in Cambridge and then on Houghton Street after the war ended. He was given a free scholarship and described by his advisor of studies as “an exemplary sincere, high-minded and intelligent man”, “a very good worker who seems certain to make a mark in the world.” While at LSE, Wedell was president of the Student Christian Movement, a significant force at the time for ecumenical cooperation and reconciliation across the world. On graduation, he worked full time for the movement, reflecting his lifelong commitment to the practical expression of faith. Wedell and his wife Rosemarie (1920-2010) also developed an active interest in interfaith dialogue, a cause which he continued to support within LSE.

Distinguished career in communication and education

The twin spheres of education and broadcasting have fed into one another throughout Wedell’s career. In 1950 he became a civil servant working in the Department of Education, but moved in 1958 to be Secretary of the newly created Independent Television Authority. His creative mind and commitment to the ideals of independent public service broadcasting led to a move into academia, taking the Chair of Adult Education at the University of Manchester. Both adult education and media were new disciplines at this time and Wedell dramatically expanded research in both fields, encompassing higher education, social development, broadcasting policy and regulation of advertising. His first book of 1968, Broadcasting and Public Policy, was groundbreaking and took him all around the world lecturing and advising governments on both broadcasting and education. He had a particular interest in the developing world, reflected in publications such as Education and the Development of Malawi (1973) and Broadcasting in the Third World (1977, with Elihu Katz).

Commitment to Europe

In 1973 Wedell  transferred to Brussels where he headed up the European Commission division for employment and retraining. He became a prominent figure within the Commission and after he left, to return to the University of Manchester, in 1982 he founded the European Institute for Media (EIM) of which he became director. In this post Wedell drew scholars from this emerging discipline together and contributed significant research to the field. Consonant with Wedell’s ’s ideals, the EIM was not merely a centre of academic research but a driver for the positive role of media in social change, particularly the democratization of former communist countries in which Wedell was significantly involved.

Honorary doctorate from LSE

Wedell received numerous awards and accolades in his lifetime. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France and a Commander of the Order of Merit in Portugal. Wedell received an honorary doctorate from LSE in 2017. LSE was a safe haven where a young German refugee was able to develop his extraordinary intellectual potential and passion to improve the world around him. His lifelong commitment to communication, education, development international cooperation and Europe helped to fashion a world where the horrors of his childhood hopefully are less likely to recur.  His accomplished life and noble legacy have brought distinction to LSE and his life and work exemplify our ideals.

James Walters, Director, LSE Faith Centre
Terhi Rantanen, Professor of Global Media and Communications

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Jan 7 2020

Sylvia Chant, 24 December 1958 – 18 December 2019

Sylvia Chant

Sylvia Chant

Sylvia Chant, Professor of Development Geography, who has died at the age of 60, was a world-leading feminist geographer who fundamentally shaped the field of gender and international development. She was a pioneering and passionate advocate of the need to recognise women’s roles in international development which she argued in various ways in her 18 authored or edited books and over 150 papers. Beginning with Women in the Third World (1989) (with Lynne Brydon), this book was the first of its kind arguing for the importance of analysing women’s roles in rural and urban areas of the developing world. Sylvia went on to develop ground-breaking conceptual, empirical and policy-engaged work on the gendered nature of poverty, inequalities and urbanisation, all based on meticulous fieldwork and a deep feminist commitment to the transformative power of research. She was also a dedicated teacher whose kindness, generosity and vision have left a deep and lasting legacy within and beyond the academy, and far and wide globally.

In her lifelong quest to challenge gender blindness in researching and teaching international development, Sylvia brought her characteristic fervour to revealing and understanding the lives of women living in poor urban communities, and especially those heading their own households. She did this through profoundly engaged fieldwork in Mexico, Costa Rica, the Philippines, and the Gambia as well as through sustained theoretical innovation. As the world’s leading expert on female-headed households and poverty, Sylvia dedicated many years of her career to arguing against simplistic understandings of the feminisation of poverty and the misleading ways in which this was causally linked with female household headship in mainstream policy formation and much academic literature. She developed these arguments in her books, Women-headed Households (1997) and Gender, Generation and Poverty (2007) as well as in numerous papers as recently as 2019 in Feminist Economics. She not only theorised an alternative to the feminisation of poverty through the much more nuanced ‘feminisation of responsibility and/or obligation’ to show how women are increasingly burdened with dealing with poverty, but she consistently called out those who insisted on using erroneous and homogenising data and research to portray the lives of women in the global South. Reflecting her profound personal and academic generosity, Sylvia was always keen to collaborate and co-author with others and to share her ideas. This is perhaps best reflected in the hugely impressive edited collection International Handbook of Gender and Poverty (2010) comprising over 100 chapters from 125 established and early career authors.

Sylvia was born in Dundee to June and Stuart, a microbiologist, on 24 December 1958. She grew up in London and attended Lady Margaret School in Parson’s Green and subsequently, Kingston College for sixth form before studying for a BA in Geography at King’s College, Cambridge. It was at Cambridge that she developed her feminist sensibility and disquiet at the lack of female role models in the academy as well as an awareness of the male bias inherent in existing work on the geographies of international development.  After Cambridge, being well-versed in feminist writing gleaned from her membership of an inter-collegiate women’s group at Trinity Hall, and determined to challenge the gendered status quo, Sylvia began her fully-funded PhD at University College London in 1981 under the supervision of Professor Peter Ward (and Professor Alan Gilbert) studying the role of women in the construction and consolidation of self-help housing in Querétaro, Mexico. Indeed, this ground-breaking study was one of the first ever to recognise women as key actors in self-build housing in poor urban communities. This research laid the foundations for Sylvia’s enduring commitment to exploring the geographies of gender in the developing world as well as her belief in the importance of empirical research rooted in sustained fieldwork. Just as in her life in general, Sylvia had a gift for engaging with people, for interviewing them with great integrity and warmth. People opened up to her because they trusted her and knew that she was genuinely interested in their lives and in making the world a better place.

Following a period as a post-doctoral researcher at University College London, Sylvia moved to the University of Liverpool where she shared a post between Geography and the Institute of Latin American Studies for over a year before moving to the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics in 1988 where she remained for the rest of her career with an important affiliation with the School’s Gender Institute from 1992 onwards (she also held visiting professorships at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla in Spain, as well as the universities of Fribourg, Bern and  Gothenburg). It was at LSE that Sylvia carved out her position as a global authority on gender, poverty and development. Among her many accolades, in 2013 she was featured as a Global Thinker on Gender and Poverty in Robin Cohen and Paul Kennedy’s [eds] Global Sociology and in 2015 she was appointed as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, which described her as a “world-leading figure in international social science, helping to stake out the field of gender and development”. She was also the President of the Society for Latin American Studies, UK, from 1997-9.

Sylvia was a wonderful teacher who inspired many generations of undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD students. A natural communicator with a wonderful sense of humour and fun, Sylvia’s lectures and seminars were fabled far beyond LSE. She was especially proud of her PhD students whom she assiduously and kindly mentored along with numerous early career scholars as a core aspect of her feminist ethical philosophy on her working life. Indeed, her support of younger generations of scholars was legendary and has ensured the continued health of so much feminist research in the global South and international development policy where many of her students have ended up.

Sylvia herself made extremely important contributions to the development policy world reflecting her commitment to engendering positive change in the global South. Her engagement with policy-makers included working as an advisor or consultant for, among others, UNFPA, UN-DESA, Commonwealth Secretariat, UN-Habitat, the ILO, UNICEF, ECLAC, the UNDP, and the World Bank. She was also an expert advisory group member on the UN Women State of the World’s Women 2018: Families in a Changing World: Public Action for Women’s Rights and co- lead author of the UN-Habitat’s first ever report on the State of Women in Cities 2012/13. As well as shaping international gender policy through her engagement with these organisations, Sylvia also worked on the ground to institute change. Most notable was her work striving to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGMC) in the Gambia alongside the Gambian human rights organisation, GAMCOTRAP, whose campaigning led to the final outlawing of FGMC in November 2015. Her work within and beyond the Gambia was pivotal in this landmark ruling.

As one of the world’s most respected feminist development geographers, Sylvia’s work has transformed thinking and policy-making on gender and poverty and her inspirational teaching has created an amazing legacy of talented people across the globe who think about the world through a gendered lens.

Sylvia’s stellar career was matched by a wonderfully rich personal life full of legions of friends, a very close and loving family and numerous passions and interests. She was a keen photographer and photographic documenter, a gym fanatic and bicyclist, a cinema goer and avid reader, and she had a passion for stylish clothes and jewellery. She also loved animals, music, to dance and to travel, but maybe most of all she enjoyed catching up with her family and friends, sharing a drink, a joke and an experience, revelling in the simple pleasure of the human company of those most dear to her.

Sylvia is survived by her husband Chris, her mother June, her two sisters Adrienne and Yvonne, four of her five nieces and nephews, and her five godchildren.

Professor Cathy McIlwaine, Professor of Development Geography, King’s College London

The funeral service will be held on Wednesday 15 January 2020, 2pm at St. Marylebone Crematorium, East End Road, East Finchley, London, N2 0RZ.

Charitable donations may be made to the RSPCA.

Posted by: Posted on by LSE Internal Communications

Dec 19 2019

Michael Peacock

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Michael Peacock

Michael Peacock

It was with sadness that we learnt of the death of LSE alumnus and emeritus governor Michael Peacock, who died in December 2019.

Michael was well-known in broadcasting, where he had a long career and significant impact, but he also had a longstanding link with the School, graduating in Sociology in 1952 before joining the BBC as a trainee producer.

As editor of Panorama, he was behind the programme’s notorious 1957 April fool’s joke of the Swiss spaghetti harvest. He went on to be editor of BBC Television News, the first head of new channel BBC 2 – responsible for programmes such as Match of the Day, Horizon and the Likely Lads – managing director of London Weekend Television and executive vice-president of Warner Bros Television, in addition to many other roles.

In 1972 he co-founded Video Arts, a company making management training films, which was eventually sold in 1989. This enabled the establishment of a charitable foundation which generously provided scholarships at LSE for students from former Soviet and Eastern European countries.

In 1996 his foundation provided LSE with a record gift which allowed the School to buy what was then the Royalty Theatre. Now known as the Peacock Theatre, it remains a crucial venue for the School, in regular use for lectures, public events, twice-yearly graduation, as well as dance and opera performances through Sadler’s Wells.

A longstanding member of LSE Council -from 1982 to 2009-  Michael was appointed an LSE Fellow in 2004 and subsequently an Emeritus Governor.

Posted by: Posted on by LSE Internal Communications