Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

Sir Mo Farah missing from Oxford’s 2024 final Honorary Degree list

British long-distance runner and four-time Olympic gold medallist, Sir Mo Farah, was among those initially listed to receive an Honorary degree from the University in 2024, but was absent from the final list announced this past week.

The University of Oxford awards honorary degrees to “distinguished people” every year in a ceremony called Encaenia. 

Published on February 29th, the 5413th edition of the Oxford University Gazette announced the internal resolution to approve “the conferment of the degree of doctor of science, honoris causa, upon Sir Mo Farah, CBE, former long-distance runner, recognised humanitarian and TV personality, holder of four Olympic and six World Titles”. 

Whilst the other 6 recipients named in the February Gazette were later confirmed to receive Honorary degrees, Sir Mo Farah did not appear on the final list.

The University did not immediately respond to comment.

Sir Mo Farah was born in Somalia and became a British citizen at age 17. In 2022 he revealed in a BBC documentary that his real name was Hussein Abdi Kahin, and he took the name Mohammed Farah when he was trafficked into the country as a child, becoming a victim of modern slavery. Since then, he has been outspoken against human trafficking and modern slavery in Britain.

The recipients who will be receiving honorary Oxford degrees in the summer are Warren East, Sir Demis Hassabis, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sir Michael Palin, Anoushka Shankar and Professor Salim Yusuf.

Warren East is an Honorary Fellow at Wadham College and an Executive in Residence at the Saïd Business School. He graduated from Wadham College with a degree in Engineering Science. In 2014, he was awarded the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year Honours for his services to the technology industry. 

Sir Demis Hassabis is the CEO and Founder of DeepMind, a Machine learning technology purchased by Google in 2014 for $400 Million. His technology continues to make breakthroughs in the field of protein research. In 2016, he was named Financial Times’ Digital Entrepreneur of the Year and one of 100 Most Influential People in Times in 2017.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian-American economist and the Director General of the World Trade Organization. She is the first woman and the first African to hold the position. Before her position at the WTO, Okonjo-Iweala served two terms as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, alongside a 25-year career at the World Bank.

Sir Michael Palin began his career in performing whilst reading Modern History at Brasenose College. He is often best known for being one of the members of the comedy troupe “Monty Python”. Later in his career, Palin began producing travel documentaries in the North and South Poles, the Sahara, the Himalayas and North Korea. He served as President of the Royal Geographical Society from 2009 to 2012 and received a knighthood for ‘services to travel, culture and geography’ in 2019. 

Anoushka Shanker is a British-Indian-American musician and started performing Sitar under the influence of her father Ravi Shanker. She has received 9 Grammy nominations and is the first and youngest woman to receive a British House of Commons Shield. Shanker has advocated for charitable causes such as animal and refugee rights with her platform.

Professor Salim Yusef is an Indian-born Canadian physician who earned a DPhil focusing on drug treatments for cardiological diseases in 1980 as a Rhodes Scholar. He was active in cardiovascular-related research and advocacy groups and is serving as the President of the World Heart Federation. 

Encaenia will be held on Wednesday the 19th of June at the Sheldonian Theatre this year.

Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

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