Carlisle One World Centre’s trustees and staff are delighted to announce that Cumbrian humanitarian expert and writer, Rae McGrath, has agreed to become our new patron. Rae will replace Lord Frank Judd who died in 2021.
Rae McGrath worked for more than thirty years as a responder to armed conflict and natural disasters. Working with humanitarian agencies most of his roles were, by preference, in the field rather than in headquarters. Among the many countries he worked in were Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Indonesia/Sumatra, Ethiopia, Iraq, Laos, Liberia, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Zambia. His final field assignment from 2013 to 2017 was directing high volume food aid from Turkey into frontline and besieged opposition-held areas of North Syria. He was the founder and first Director of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. Prior to beginning his career in human assistance Rae spent eighteen years as a military engineer in the British Army. He is now a writer and advisor on conflict response based in West Cumbria. He spoke at a COWC event in Morton Manor in September 2021, Deadly Deceptions, on the realities of surviving the modern battlefield as a civilian and the brutal truth about global commitments to protect non-combatants. The slides and text of the talks can be found through the links.
On joining COWC as its new patron Rae says: ‘I am very honoured by the invitation to be Carlisle One World Centre’s patron. Following in the footsteps of Frank Judd, who I knew from his time at Oxfam and as an enthusiastic parliamentary supporter of the Landmines Campaign, provides a strong benchmark to aspire to as patron. In my years working with communities facing the challenges of armed conflict, hunger, displacement and natural disaster I have found that there are few divisions between nationalities and races that cannot be overcome to achieve common aims – the barriers that divide us are man-made, we have the power when we work together to remove them. So the One World concept is increasingly important as we face the challenges of global warming, pandemic, widescale displacement and inequality – work that begins in our own communities. I am excited to be joining the COWC team and working together for a safer and more equal world.’
Revd Canon Jim Hyslop, co-chair of COWC says ‘we are really pleased to have Rae as our patron and hope to use his experience and skills in all we do.’