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Written by:
Paul Holland
12 Jul 2023

Image left to right – Vladimir Kara-Murza, Professor Jane Clarke, The Honourable Mrs Justice Julia Dias, Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, Professor Philip Pettit

Five extraordinary individuals have been chosen as Honorary Fellows of Trinity Hall. They include a prominent human-rights activist who is currently imprisoned by the Russian authorities, an award-winning chemist who leads a Cambridge College, a High Court Justice, an Environmental Economist and a renowned political philosopher.

All of the five have links with Trinity Hall having either studied here or been a Fellow of the College in a research or teaching capacity.

  • Vladimir Kara-Murza was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment in a Russian penal colony in April 2023. He joined Trinity Hall as an undergraduate in 2000 and graduated with first-class honours to become an adviser for liberal Russian politician Boris Nemtsov. Three months after Mr Nemtsov’s assassination in 2015, Mr Kara-Murza was poisoned for the first time. After a period of recuperation in the USA he returned to Russia where he was poisoned again in 2017. In April 2022, he was arrested and jailed in Russia. Later that year he was awarded the European Union Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize which was received in his absence by his wife Evgenia. She has also accepted the College’s nomination of an honorary fellowship on her husband’s behalf.
  • Professor Jane Clarke is the President of Wolfson College and a distinguished Chemist who has worked at the MCR Centre for Protein Engineering and at the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry in Cambridge as a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow. From 2010-17 Professor Clarke was a Professorial Fellow and tutor at Trinity Hall and during her time at the College she took a special interest in equal opportunities and gender equality. Her research has been recognised internationally and in 2015 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society.
  • The Honourable Mrs Justice Julia Dias is the first alumna of Trinity Hall to be appointed a High Court Judge, having read Law from 1978-81 here, gaining a triple first. Alongside excelling in her studies Justice Dias gained a half-blue in tennis and was Secretary of the University Chamber Orchestra. Called to the Bar in 1982 she rapidly gained a formidable reputation before making silk in 2008. She has held numerous positions in legal bodies, was elected a Governing Bencher in the Inner Temple in 2012 and from March 2023 the King approved the appointment of a Justice of the High Court to Justice Dias.
  • Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta is one of the most influential Environmental Economists in the world. His lengthy career has included advising Governments on the Economics of Biodiversity and has resulted in him being made a Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire for services to Economics and the Natural Environment. The UN has also recently noted his contributions and named him one of four 2022 Champions of the Earth (he is the first economist to be so honoured). From 1968-71 Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta was a Research Fellow at Trinity Hall and later become a Supernumerary Fellow.
  • Professor Philip Pettit is one of the most distinguished philosophers of his generation. He is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Human Values at Princeton University, as well as a Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University. He has received numerous honours, has been the subject of several edited volumes, and has delivered most of the prestigious lectures in his field, including the Locke Lectures at Oxford (2019), the Tanner Lectures at Berkeley (2015), and the Seeley Lectures at Cambridge (2010). Pettit was a Research Fellow at Trinity Hall between 1972-75.

The Master of Trinity Hall, Mary Hockaday, said:

“We are delighted to announce the election of these five extraordinary people as Honorary Fellows of Trinity Hall. They are all distinguished in their fields and wonderful role models. Above all, they have used their many talents in service to others in their intellectual work and their personal commitment and, as in Vladimir Kara-Murza’s case, their huge courage. Trinity Hall is proud of the part the College has played in their education and careers and we look forward to welcoming them formally into the Fellowship in the autumn.”

The five extraordinary individuals will be formally admitted to their honorary fellowships at a ceremony in the College in October. Mr Kara-Murza will not be able to attend due to his imprisonment by the Russian authorities.