Valerie is Director of SOAS University of London in September 2015. Between 2010- 2015 she was, Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations, a job she has said tested every skill she has ever learnt. Valerie’s career has opened local government and national politics and in the UK and she also served as Britain’s High Commissioner to Australia. Valerie was appointed a Labour Life Peer in 1997 and became a member of the Government in 1998. She was a Foreign Office Minister as Secretary of State for International Development with, responsibilities which included Africa, The Common wealth and Britain’s overseas territories and became the first black women in the cabinet in 2003. Valerie is honoured to have been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Middlesex University. In June 2016, she was made a Companion of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.