The school appoints Honorary Professors to share their expertise from the world of politics practitioners with students and staff at Nottingham. Find out more about our current special professors below.
Sir Stuart Atha
Sir Stuart Atha served in the RAF between 1984 and 2019. He flew Hawk and Typhoon aircraft and served as a Hurricane and Spitfire display pilot. Stuart has commanded and flown operationally in the UK, Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan and was the first RAF pilot to lead a NATO combat mission (Operation DELIBERATE FORCE – Bosnia 1995). Subsequently, he flew combat missions over Kosovo and Serbia (Operation ALLIED FORCE - 1999) and Iraq (Operation TELIC- 2003). In 2011 he headed the Ministry of Defence’s Libyan operations team (Operation ELLAMY), and was the UK Air Defence Commander for the London Olympics’ in 2012.
His staff experience includes posts in the RAF (Air Warfare Centre and as personal staff officer to the Chief of the Air Staff), the Permanent Joint Headquarters (Deputy to Chief of Joint Operations) and the Ministry of Defence (Head of Joint Capability). Stuart’s final tour was as Deputy Commander of the RAF and Air Member for Operations responsible for all RAF operations 2016-2019, which included counter-Daesh operations in Iraq and Syria.
Neil Carmichael served as Member of Parliament for Stroud Valleys and Vale between 2010 and 2017, and as Chair of the Education Select Committee between 2015 and 2017. He has previously been a member of the Environment Audit Committee and also established two All Parliamentary Party Groups: Governance and Leadership in Education, and Vascular Diseases. Neil took the Antarctic Act through Parliament, safeguarding both the Antarctic environment and British interests in the area for future generations. Neil has also spent several years as a visiting lecturer in British political history, European Union policies and institutions, and rural economic development.
Vernon Coaker is a Rights Lab Principal Research Fellow in Antislavery Policy, working as part of the Rights Lab's Communities and Society Programme on modern slavery and local, regional, national and international policy. This includes a focus strategies to help protect children from trafficking (including in the area of county lines), on the role of businesses and of international cooperation in tackling modern slavery, and on the delivery of policy-relevant research. His work within the Rights Lab also includes chairing a new Midlands Antislavery Research Collaborative (the Midlands ARC) that is bringing together more than 100 academics from 19 universities across the Midlands into a new antislavery regional powerhouse. He was MP for Gedling, Nottinghamshire from 1997 to 2019, holding ministerial roles and opposition ministerial roles that included Minister of State for Policing, Crime and Security, Minister of State for Schools, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. From 2015 to 2019, he was Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery.
Major-General Tim Cross CBE
Major-General Tim Cross retired from the Army in 2006. In his military career he has seen operational service in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, the Balkans (SFOR and KFOR) and Iraq. He has worked extensively with other government departments, the US military, the United Nations and numerous non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Michael Freeden was for many years Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford. Following his retirement, he was appointed as Professor of Political Theory in our University, serving in this post for three years. Prof. Freeden is widely regarded as the foremost scholar of political ideology in the world; his book Ideologies and Political Theory (1996) reinvented the study of ideology and caused it to become something that political theorists had to take seriously. Prof. Freeden was the founding editor of the Journal of Political Ideologies, which he took from inception to one of the top-ranked political theory journals over 25 years. He was awarded the Political Studies Association’s Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize for Lifetime Contribution in 2012. He is currently completing a book project on silence and politics.
Eliot Higgins (Honorary Fellow)
The CEO of Bellingcat, Eliot Higgins began as a lone blogger, called Brown Moses, fact-checking videos purporting to be of events at the start of the Arab Spring. Working from his kitchen table in Leicester, he developed a methodology of “open source intelligence” – OSINT – which is now used by journalists and governments worldwide. The Brown Moses operation – which became Bellingcat.com – is based in The Hague, employing 18 people plus numerous world-wide contributors.
Higgins’ OSINT methodology is at the forefront of mainstream investigative journalism and Bellingcat is also leading the way in talking truth unto power in this volatile time of international relations. OSINT utilises information available on the internet to verify claims being made by the major world powers. It enables verification of claims in high risk areas – such as Syria and Ukraine - not accessible to reporters on the ground. Bellingcat has worked on cases such as the shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine, and the identification of individuals responsible for the Sergei and Julia Skripal Novichok poisoning. Higgins is also the author of the acclaimed We are Bellingcat: An Intelligence Agency for the People published by Bloomsbury in 2021.
John Hess was the BBC's Political Editor for the East Midlands until 2015. He began his journalistic career in the 1970s working for newspapers in the West Midlands before joining BBC Radio Nottingham. John became Political Editor for BBC East Midlands in 1997 presenting on "East Midlands Today" and "Sunday Politics" on BBC One.
John Hilary has worked for many years on international trade policy, first in the non-governmental sector and then in parliament. He was Executive Director of the charity War on Want until 2016, in which role he was one of the leading figures in the successful international campaign against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) proposed between the EU and USA.
In 2017 he moved to be Head of Trade Policy for the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, working on policy development and international trade legislation in preparation for the UK's leaving the EU. He is the author of numerous reports and articles on globalisation and its impacts, including The Poverty of Capitalism: Economic Meltdown and the Struggle for What Comes Next, published by Pluto Press in October 2013.
Dr Amineh Hoti is currently Program Director at the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, overseeing the Seerat Program in 200 universities in the country. Some of the key topics Amineh is encouraging amongst the Chairs and in the country's universities are: global peace, human rights, women's rights and seeking education.
Amineh would like to develop two aspects of her work at the University of Nottingham -gender roles and the developement of gender studies and student-led research into women in their social environments in Muslim societies and in the west; and interfaith relations. Amineh has been teaching innovative interfaith interdisciplinary studies in the UK, the University of Cambridge, and in Muslim societies (Islamabad, Jordan, Abu Dhabi, Qatar). Her latest book "Gems, The Religions of Pakistan" based on interfaith dialogue and studies of religious minorities in Pakistan. For this, Amineh has travelled extensively doing anthropological fieldwork across Pakistan, with the aim to build a team based in the University of Nottingham and in Pakistan which together can conduct cutting-edge fieldwork studies.
Graham Hutchings has spent much of the past 40 years engaged in the research, analysis and interpretation of international affairs.
From 2000-2019 he did so on behalf of Oxford Analytica, the global analysis and advisory firm, where he served successively as Director of Analysis and Managing Editor of The Oxford Analytica Daily Brief, Managing Director, and finally Principal. In these roles, Graham worked at the interface of the academy, business and government, facilitating the delivery of top flight, actionable analysis on the global political economy for public and private clients around the world.
Graham was previously China correspondent for London's Daily Telegraph from 1987 - 1998, living in Beijing and then Hong Kong. He has also has been an advisor on China to the Bank of Montreal and lectured on international journalism at The City University, London.
Dr Champa Patel became Head of the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) in 2017. Her areas of research focus on South and Southeast Asia, specifically on human rights, rule of law and conflict/crisis analysis.
Before joining Chatham House Champa was the Regional Director/Senior Research Advisor for South Asia and South East Asia and Pacific Offices for Amnesty International. In these roles she was responsible for overseeing the research, campaigns, media and advocacy for the region.
Prior to Amnesty she worked in public health for almost a decade, focusing on children at-risk, refugees, asylum seekers and internal trafficking. She is a Visiting Practitioner/External Examiner at the University of York, a faculty member of the Salzburg Global Seminar and on the Editorial Board of Human Rights Quarterly.
Champa is also an alumnus of the University of Nottingham having completed her MA and PhD at the institution.
Sir John Sawers
Sir John Sawers was the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) between 2009 and 2014. Prior to this, Sir John had a long and distinguished career in government. This included as ambassador to the UN, political director of the Foreign Office, special representative in Iraq, ambassador in Cairo, and foreign affairs advisor to Tony Blair. He is currently Executive Chairman of Newbridge Advisory.
Sir Rob Wainwright
Sir Rob Wainwright is a senior partner for Deloitte, advising boards of global companies on cyber, financial crime and other security issues.
Until May 2018, Rob Wainwright was the Executive Director of Europol. He joined Europol in 2009 and led the transformation of the agency into a world-class security institution. Today Europol is the primary intelligence-sharing and operational coordination centre in Europe. Rob led the establishment of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) in 2013 and the European Counter Terrorism Centre in 2016, both of which have become key pillars in Europe’s response to more serious and complex security threats facing citizens and businesses today. He has also expanded Europol’s global footprint through the negotiation of over 20 new international cooperation agreements and the development of major new relations with US federal agencies and government departments.
Under Rob’s leadership Europol pioneered the use of data and technology in new ways to better identify and respond to cross-border criminal and terrorist activity.
Rob also leads many public-private partnership initiatives, including through the World Economic Forum on cyber issues and the Institute of International Finance on efforts to improve the global anti-money laundering regime.
Earlier in his career Rob occupied a number of positions in the UK’s intelligence and law enforcement communities, including the post of Director International of the Serious Organised Crime Agency between 2006 and 2009.
Rob is a graduate of the London School of Economics (1989) and an honorary fellow with the University of Exeter and University of Cardiff. He is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and a former member of the UK Prime Minister’s Modern Slavery Taskforce.
He was awarded a knighthood by the HM Queen in June 2018 for services to security and policing.
Tom Watson was MP for West Bromwich East from 2001 to 2019. During the last Labour government, he was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence and later Minister for Digital Engagement and Civil Service Issues. He was elected Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in 2015 and served as Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport under Jeremy Corbyn. Since stepping down from front line politics at the 2019 general election he has become Chair of UK Music and President of Counter Culture LLM. During his tenures as an Honorary Professor, he will be sharing his experience as a frontline politician with undergraduates on our second year British Party Politics module and giving advice to both undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation students.
Dr Andrew Whitehead
Andrew Whitehead is an expert on contemporary South Asia, and particularly on Kashmir. He is the author of A Mission in Kashmir (2007), which uses oral history and personal testimony to interrogate the established Indian, Pakistani and Kashmiri narratives of how the Kashmir conflict started in 1947. He was awarded a PhD by published work in history at the University of Warwick in 2013.
Andrew worked for thirty-five years as a BBC journalist and was at various times the BBC India correspondent and the Editor of BBC World Service News. He continues to write, broadcast and comment on South Asian politics. He was for many years an editor of History Workshop Journal, which pioneered "history from below", and is currently an associate editor, as well as writing on the history of London and was co-editor with Jerry White of London Fictions (2013).. He has a personal website and blog, and he tweets at @john_pether.
Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey OBE
Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE is an independent Crossbench member of the House of Lords where she works on legislation to eliminate modern slavery, co-chairing the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights. She works with Rights Lab team members on the issue of slavery in supply chains - in her capacity as Honorary Rights Lab Professor of Antislavery Policy and Business.