Guest Speakers


Debora Kayembe

Rector of the University of Edinburgh


Debora Kayembe is a Congolese human rights lawyer and the Rector of the University of Edinburgh. She is a leading advocate for refugees and minorities, and has worked on a number of human rights cases, including the International Criminal Court's prosecution of war crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kayembe was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1975, fled the country as a refugee in 2001, and settled in Scotland in 2011. She is a graduate of the University of Kinshasa and the University of Edinburgh, where she earned a Master of Laws degree in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

Kayembe has worked as a human rights lawyer for over 10 years. She has represented refugees and asylum seekers in court, and has also worked on campaigns to raise awareness of human rights abuses. She is a member of the International Bar Association and the African Human Rights Law Association. In 2021, Kayembe was elected Rector of the University of Edinburgh, and is the first person of color and third woman to hold this position in the university's 437-year history. As Rector, Kayembe is the students' representative on the university's governing body. She is also a member of the Scottish Refugee Council and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Kayembe is a recipient of the African Union African Woman of the Year Award and the Scottish Refugee Council's Human Rights Award. She is also an honorary member of the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland. Kayembe is a passionate advocate for the rights of refugees and minorities. She has spoken out against racism and discrimination, and has worked to promote understanding and tolerance between different cultures. She is a role model for refugees and asylum seekers around the world.

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