Staff news

Debora Kayembe elected as Rector

Debora Kayembe has been elected unopposed as the University’s 54th Rector.

Debora Kayembe

Debora will assume the role of Rector on 1 March.

Debora will be replacing Ann Henderson who served as Rector for 3 years, with many thanks to Ann for her service to the University.

The role of Rector

The Rector is a member of the University’s most powerful decision-making body, the University Court, playing a presiding role to ensure all voices are heard in making important decisions that affect students and staff. In recent times, Rectors have often seen their role as a point of contact for the University community, seeking to assist with difficulties or issues where they arise.

The position of Rector has a long and prestigious lineage. Originally created in the 19th century by the Universities Scotland Act 1858, the role has developed over time.

About Debora

Debora Kayembe was called to the Congolese Bar Association in 2000, and has been a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting from 2010-2020. In 2016 she joined the language services of the office of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA).

Debora served as Scottish Refugee Council board member from 2013 – 2016. She also joined the Royal Society of Edinburgh/Young Academy of Scotland representing refugee minorities, and has a seat as an expert lawyer to the RSE Working Group for Africa. In 2017 Debora founded the charity Full Options.

In August 2019, history was made at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, when Debora became the first African to have her portrait erected at the wall of the society honouring her achievements and contributions to the Scottish Society.

In July 2020, Debora launched the Freedom Walk campaign – a civil rights movement which aims to lobby and campaign on behalf of citizens by promoting social reforms, racial justice and community harmony. Debora is also petitioning to the Scottish Parliament in favour of anti-racist education in Scotland. 

Related links

Elect your Rector

University officials: the Rector