Hello & welcome

Welcome to Observe, the annual magazine for alumni, supporters and friends of Oxford Brookes University. The year has presented both opportunities and challenges for the higher education sector against a backdrop of UK-wide and global uncertainty. During this time, the University has continued to achieve great things.

Oxford Brookes remains the UK’s number one university in the QS Top 50 Under 50 world ranking for 2020, for the third year running, and is the only UK institution to make the list. We were also ranked top UK university for research, and second for teaching, in the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2019.

I am immensely proud of the fact that Oxford Brookes’ students and staff come from many different backgrounds and communities, and celebrating inclusiveness is at the heart of this Observe. Hadil Louz, a master’s student from Gaza, shares how she overcame major challenges as a Palestinian refugee to take up her place at Oxford Brookes after receiving the Oxford Brookes Gaza Scholarship.

As a successful leader in the legal profession, Keily Blair ’03, wanted to help other women progress their careers. Now Head of PWC’s Contentious Data Privacy Practice, in 2015 she founded Fractio Vitri (FV),’breaking the glass ceiling’, a network to support women early in their careers in a variety of sectors.

Mary Pierre-Harvey, the UK’s first black female Director of Estates and Campus Services at a large university, navigated immense challenges to become a successful leader in estates and construction, and remains a passionate advocate for greater equality in the workplace.

One of the most valuable ways that our alumni can help disadvantaged young people to come to Oxford Brookes is by starting a scholarship. You can read how Gaza Scholarship founder, Sir Iain Chalmers, first had the idea for the scholarship.

Our alumni community remains a constant source of pride and I hope you will continue to stay in touch and tell us about your achievements.

Best wishes,

Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University

Photograph by Paul Tait

Hadil Louz believes coming to Oxford Brookes was “the best decision of my life” – read her story

Keily Blair is determined women should be able to progress their careers – find out more

Read how Mary Pierre-Harvey has overcome racism and sexism, and now has “room to fly” at Oxford Brookes

Sir Iain Chalmers wants Gazans to know they haven’t been forgotten – read how he helped establish our Gaza Scholarship