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July 2015

Outstanding Alumni Awards

(10 July 2015)

Dr Jane Cocking, a Humanities graduate, has been given an Outstanding Alumna Award for her humanitarian work.

Outstanding Alumni Awards are presented to alumni who have achieved distinction in their profession; or through exemplary service to the University or the wider community; or through outstanding service of a personal or humanitarian nature.

Jane received the award for her work in responding to humanitarian crisis around the world.

After gaining a BA (Hons) in History in 1981, followed by a PhD, Jane went on to work at the Africa desk at the Overseas Development Administration (ODA), now the Department for International Development (DFIF).

It was while on a mission to Somalia with the ODA that Jane found her vocation – providing help, support and guidance to communities in crisis. Back in the UK, she joined Save the Children and immediately returned to Somalia. Over the next 25 years, Jane played an active part in responding to humanitarian crises in many of the world’s most troubled regions, including Somalia, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Having joined Oxfam in 1997, she became regional programme manager in southern Africa in 2003, working particularly in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. She is now Humanitarian Director, with particular responsibility for ensuring the quality of Oxfam GB's humanitarian work, which amounts to around £60 million. For this work Jane was awarded an OBE in the Queen's birthday honours in 2011.

Keith Brown, Vice-President & Dean, Faculty of Humanities, who presented Jane with the award said: “I was delighted to present the Award for Outstanding Alumna to Jane Cocking. It is great to see graduates from the Faculty of Humanities carrying out such important work and being recognised for it.”

Jane has been back to The University of Manchester on several occasions to give talks for the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI).