St Andrews women receive OBEs

Professor Watson and Ms Stihler.
Professor Watson and Ms Stihler.

A leading international human rights expert from the University of St Andrews and a former Rector received their OBE awards from Prince William at a royal investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Professor Ali Watson, an expert in international relations and co-founder of the Third Generation Project, a human and community rights think-tank that focuses on the impacts of climate change on people and communities, was awarded an OBE, alongside Catherine Stihler, former Rector of the university.

Catherine was the university’s 52nd Rector and only the second female to hold the prestigious position.

Professor Watson said: “This recognition is truly a privilege, considering I see how so many colleagues in my field work so hard without receiving individual acknowledgement.

“So, while I am personally humbled, this award actually speaks to the work being done by so many, and of course to the strength of my family, a community that is not bound in blood but by a shared love.”

Catherine Stihler has had a long-established relationship with the University of St Andrews which began when she was a student in St Andrews, later becoming President of the Students’ Association.

Catherine stepped down from her role as a MEP in January this year. Prior to stepping down, Catherine was one of 50 MEPs to sign a letter calling for the Article 50 Brexit deadline to be extended. She was also part of a group of Scottish politicians to take a case to the European Court of Justice to revoke Article 50.

In 2014 Catherine became Rector of the University of St Andrews, finishing her term of office in November 2017. During her time as Rector, Catherine’s notable achievements included the development of the Rectors’ Fund, providing financial support to students participating in internships. She has also been a committed and involved member of the University Court.

Following her resignation as a MEP, Catherine took up a role as the Chief Executive of global non-profit organisation Open Knowledge Foundation.