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Sir Terry Waite KCMG CBE


Dr Terry Waite
Fellow type
Honorary Fellow

Honorary Fellow (former Fellow-Commoner 1991-93)


Terry Waite was educated at Stockton Heath High School and The Church Army College in London. On leaving college he was appointed as Education Advisor to the Anglican Bishop of Bristol, England and remained in that post until he moved to East Africa in 1969.  In Uganda he worked as Provincial Training Adviser to the first African Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and in that capacity travelled extensively throughout East Africa.

In 1972 he began working as an International Consultant to a Roman Catholic Medical Order and moved with his family to live in Rome, Italy.  From this base he travelled extensively throughout Asia, Africa, North and South America and Europe both conducting and advising on programmes concerned with Institutional Change and Development, Inter-Cultural Relations, Group and Inter-group Dynamics and a broad range of development issues connected with both health and education.

In 1980 he was recruited by the Archbishop of Canterbury and moved to Lambeth Palace, London.  As Advisor to the Archbishop he again travelled extensively throughout the world and had a responsibility for the Archbishop’s diplomatic and ecclesiastical exchanges. He arranged and travelled with the Archbishop on the first ever visit of an Archbishop of Canterbury to China and had responsibility for travels to Australia, New Zealand, Burma, USA, Canada, The Caribbean, South Africa, East and West Africa.

In the early 1980s, he successfully negotiated the release of several hostages from Iran and this event brought him to public attention.  In 1983, he negotiated with Colonel Ghadafi for the release of British hostages held in Libya and again was successful. In January 1987 while negotiating for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon he himself was taken captive and remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in total solitary confinement.

He continues to work as a lecturer, writer and broadcaster and has appeared in North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and throughout Europe. He is also President of Emmaus UK, Founder Chairman (and now President) of Hostage UK, Founder President of Y Care International (the international relief and development agency of the YMCA in the UK and Ireland) and Patron of a wide range of organisations. He received a CBE in 1992, and has been awarded numerous other awards including several honorary degrees from universities in the UK and abroad.

Following his release on 19th November 1991 he was elected a Fellow Commoner at Trinity Hall where he wrote his first book Taken on Trust, and in 2022 he was elected an Honorary Fellow. In the King’s Birthday Honours 2023, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) for services to charity and to humanitarian work.