Baroness Valerie Amos – Politician

Baroness Amos
Baroness Amos

Black Politician

Valerie Ann Amos, Baroness Amos, is a black Politician in the Labour Party (born 13 March 1954), is a British Labour Party politician and life peer.

Lady Amos was born in Guyana, studied at the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham and East Anglia, and was awarded an Honorary Professorship at Thames Valley University in 1995 in recognition of her work on equality and social justice.

After working in Equal Opportunities, Training and Management Services in local government in the London boroughs of Lambeth, Camden and Hackney, she became Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission 1989–94. In 1995 Amos co-founded Amos Fraser Bernard and was an adviser to the South African Government on public service reform, human rights and employment equity.

When she was appointed Secretary of State for International Development on May 12, 2003, following the resignation of Clare Short, she became the first female black politician to sit in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.

House of Lords

Lady Amos was the principal spokesperson in the House of Lords on International Development online as well as one of the Government’s spokespersons in the House of Lords on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. She was previously a Government Whip in the House of Lords from 1998 to 2001 and also a spokesperson on Social Security, International Development and Women’s Issues. She was created a life peer in August 1997.

Lady Amos has also been Deputy Chair of the Runnymede Trust 1990–98, a Trustee of the Institute of Public Policy Research, a non-executive Director of the University College London Hospitals Trust, a Trustee of Voluntary Services Overseas, Chair of the Afiya Trust, a director of Hampstead Theatre and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Royal College of Nursing Institute. In 2003 Claire Short resigned from the Cabinet due to her views on the Iraq War, Valerie Amos replaced her becoming the first female black politician to sit in cabinet.

Lady Amos was made Leader of the House of Lords on October 6, 2003 following the death of Lord Williams of Mostyn, which meant that her tenure as Secretary of State for International Development lasted less than six months. Prior to her appointment as Secretary of State for International Development, Lady Amos was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs on June 11, 2001, with responsibility for Africa; Commonwealth; Caribbean; Overseas Territories; Consular Issues and FCO Personnel.

In the House of Lords, Lady Amos was a co-opted member of the Select Committee on European Communities Sub-Committee F (Social Affairs, Education and Home Affairs) 1997–98.

On 17 February 2005, the British government nominated her to head the United Nations Development Program. Her Tenure as leader of the House of Lords ran from 2003 -2007.

After Leaving Cabinet she worked as British High Commissioner to Australia until 2010.

In 2010 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Valerie Amos, as
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

In March 2012 she visited Syria on behalf of the UN to press the Syrian government to allow access to all parts of Syria to help people affected by the 2011-2012 Syrian uprising.

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