Tag Archives: Birkbeck 200

200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Yakama Manty Jones, Economist, lecturer, entrepreneur and philanthropist

With her finance and economics PhD from Birkbeck, Yakama Manty Jones works in Sierra Leone as an economist, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

She co-founded the Peninsular Innovative Group, an indigenous company operating in the shipping, manufacturing and agri-business industries in Sierra Leone, working mainly with youths and female owned businesses. Yakama has held several consulting positions, including for the President’s Office in Sierra Leone, and she has worked as director of research and delivery in the Ministry of Finance since 2019. She has been invited to speak about her work by the Blavatnik School of Government, the University of Oxford and the World Bank.

She was awarded Amujae Leader 2021 – an initiative to promote female leadership in Africa – and has featured as one of the 50 Most Influential Young Sierra Leoneans as well as on the 100 Women West Africa list.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Yousuf Joondan, CEO of Birkbeck Students’ Union

Yousuf serves as CEO of the Students’ Union at Birkbeck and was initially brought in to turn the Union around after a difficult few years, which had seen the Union fall into financial hardship and troubles with governance.

He has been hugely successful in transforming the Union back into an organisation with which students can feel proud to be involved and which has a real impact on the student experience at Birkbeck.

Yousuf works hard to facilitate the work of officers and Union staff, and to ensure that the Union stays true to its charitable aims and provides students with value added to their university experience. Many have commended Yousuf’s approach to managing his staff with respect, patience and flexibility, especially during the difficult time of the coronavirus pandemic.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Stewart Sutherland, House of lords and philosopher of religion

Stewart Sutherland, Lord Sutherland of Houndwood is one of the most distinguished figures of his time in the field of education and in public life and was made a Fellow of Birkbeck in 2004.

He was appointed as a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University College of North Wales in Bangor in 1965, moving after three years to the University of Stirling. It was here that he began the series of philosophical investigations which would establish his reputation as a theological thinker of versatility, reach and imagination. In works such as Atheism and the Rejection of God (1977), Faith and Ambiguity (1984) and God, Jesus and Belief (1984).

He explored the problems of maintaining moral responsibility in a world of competing faiths and values. He responded to and stimulated the broadening mood in theological thinking with his influential edited volumes World Religions (1988) and The Study of Religion: Traditional and New Religions (1991). In 1977, he was appointed to a Chair in the History and Philosophy of Religion at King’s College, London, but the demands of university service had already begun to assert themselves in 1981, when he became Vice-Principal of King’s, taking over as Principal of the college in 1985.

During his period as Principal of King’s, he served also, from 1988 to 1991, as Governor of Birkbeck.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Steven Connor, Professor of English and cultural phenomenology

Steven Connor was appointed as a Lecturer in English at Birkbeck in 1979. He became Senior Lecturer in 1990, Reader in Modern English Literature in 1991 and Professor of Modern Literature and Theory in 1994.

He has served the college in many capacities, including as Pro-Vice-Master for International and Research Students from 1998 to 2001 and as College Orator from 2001 to 2012. From 2003 to 2012, he was Academic Director of the London Consortium Programme in Humanities and Cultural Studies. Not only through his many books and essays, on a huge variety of topics, but also in his extensive work for radio, he has enlarged the scope of English studies and opened up new methods and subjects in cultural history.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Stephen Frosh, Professor of psychosocial studies

Stephen Frosh was appointed to Birkbeck’s department of Psychology in 1979. A specialist in the psychosocial approaches to human psychology, he initially worked part-time in the College, dividing his time with clinical jobs in the NHS and at the Tavistock Clinic as Consultant Clinical Psychologist. He stopped his clinical work in 1998 when he was appointed professor.

Due to the pressures of competing with the neuroscience branch of psychology for research funding and prestige, he eventually helped to found the current Psychosocial Studies department which then had five staff including Frosh.

To help the process of forging an intellectual community, Frosh founded and co-directed with interdisciplinary scholar Sasha Roseneil the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (BISR) as an umbrella centre for people working in the field.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Sophie Bray – Olympic hockey player

Occupational psychology graduate Sophie Bray is best known for her international hockey success on the England team. She helped England to a gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in a tense final against the Netherlands that went to a penalty shoot-out. Sophie retired from international hockey in 2019 but still plays in the Investec Women’s Hockey League for East Grinstead. She was named the league’s Player of the Season in 2018-19.

Along with the rest of the England hockey team upon their success in Rio, she was made an MBE for services to hockey.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Robert Browning, classicist and Greek historian

A professor of Classics and Ancient History from 1965 to 1981, Browning was a member of the Communist Party Historians Group and a famous Hellenist who campaigned against the dictatorship of the Greek Colonels (1947-74) and later served as the chairman of the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles. Like Ste Croix, Browning applied a Marxist theory of history to the ancient world. But his approach was different to that of Ste Croix, as was revealed in a review he published in 1983 of Ste Croix’s classic The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek Work (1981). Browning observed that Ste Croix’s book avoided the “kind of sectarian infighting in which some Marxists indulge”, and, as such was “a very English and pragmatic book, which may well infuriate some Marxist readers”. In other words, Browning favoured a more unequivocal Marxist account of historical change, while still contending that “I say a Marxist approach and not the Marxist approach”. Browning was also loyal to the Soviet Union, not only publishing a couple of articles in Russian but also maintaining a “close relationship… with the leading members of the national committees in the eastern bloc, accepting the structure of the academic community in the USSR as he did in politics”.  


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Naheed Memon, CEO of Oracle Power

Naheed Memon is an Independent Non-Executive Director at Coro Energy Plc and a Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director at Oracle Power Plc. 
She is on the Board of Directors at Coro Energy Plc, Oracle Power Plc, Thatta Cement Co. Ltd. and Kings Apparel Industries (Pvt) Ltd. Ms. Memon was previously employed as a Chairman by Sindh Board of Investment, a Chief Executive Officer by Advicia Consulting Ltd., and a Chief Executive Officer by Manzil Pakistan. 
She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Karachi and an MSc Economics degree from Birkbeck. 


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Kevin Gordon, family law barrister

Formerly a probation and aftercare officer in Jamaica, becoming a lawyer wasn’t always part of Kevin Gordon’s career plan. Having experienced the concepts of family law firsthand, and then moved to Britain as a social worker, he saw Birkbeck’s evening degree programmes as a ‘light bulb moment.’ He achieved his LLB Law in 2011 and was called to the Bar just two years later. 

Kevin is also a motivated and highly valued mentor on Birkbeck’s Mentoring Pathways programme, which is vital for the development of talented non-traditional law students, helping them get ahead with their careers in the legal sector. “I see myself as a product of good mentoring,” he says, “and it is so important to have someone of whom you can ask questions and not be judged.” 

As well as finding his calling as a barrister, Kevin trained and performed in Jamaica as a contemporary ballet dancer, an experience he has paid forward in London as the lead choreographer and dancer during the annual Miscellany Production and Gray’s Inn. 


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effects: Jane Ittogi, Lawyer and public figure in Singapore

Jane Yumiko Ittogi is the wife of former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. A lawyer by training, Ittogi left the legal practice to support the local arts and education scenes and engage in community work. To date, Ittogi has served on the boards of the Singapore Art Museum, the National Heritage Board, the National Gallery Singapore, and Lasalle College of the Arts.  

At present, Ittogi is the Chair of Tasek Jurong Limited. A local non-governmental organisation (NGO), Tasek Jurong specialises in providing financial and social support to the socially disadvantaged. These include ex-inmates, youth-at-risk, single parents, the needy and disabled and their families. 

Ittogi later left legal practice to contribute to Singapore’s arts scene. Notably, Ittogi has held several key leadership positions across several landmark arts institutions in Singapore.