#LLANews – Debora Kayembe Elected As Rector Of The University Of Edinburgh

Debora Kayembe


Debora Kayembe has been elected unopposed as the 54th Rector of the University Of Edinburgh. She will be the first black/African woman to assume this position.

Debora will assume the role of Rector on 1st  March 2021. She will be replacing Ann Henderson who served as Rector for 3 years, with many thanks to Ann for her service to the University.

As the rector, she will be a member of the University’s most powerful decision-making body, the University Court, playing a presiding role to ensure all voices are heard in making important decisions that affect students and staff. 

The position of Rector has a long and prestigious lineage. Originally created in the 19th century by the Universities Scotland Act 1858, the role has developed over time.

Debora was called to the Congolese Bar Association in 2000, and has been a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting from 2010-2020. In 2016 she joined the language services of the office of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA).

Debora served as a Scottish Refugee Council board member from 2013 – 2016. She also joined the Royal Society of Edinburgh/Young Academy of Scotland representing refugee minorities and has a seat as an expert lawyer to the RSE Working Group for Africa. In 2017 Debora founded the charity Full Options.

In August 2019, history was made at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, when Debora became the first African to have her portrait erected at the wall of the society honouring her achievements and contributions to the Scottish Society.

In July 2020, Debora launched the Freedom Walk campaign – a civil rights movement which aims to lobby and campaign on behalf of citizens by promoting social reforms, racial justice and community harmony. Debora is also petitioning the Scottish Parliament in favour of anti-racist education in Scotland.


This article was culled from the University Of Edinburgh press release.

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