The University of Manchester have announced that they will be appointing renowned solicitor Nazir Afzal OBE as the new Chancellor. Afzal is the former Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West of England, and he will be replacing Lemn Sissay from 1st August, 2022.
The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University and ambassador who works with the President and Vice-Chancellor and other senior officers to promote the University’s achievements regionally, nationally, and internationally. There will be an installation ceremony held in October, the details of who all get to attend it are uncertain.
Nazir Afzal has most recently been the Chief Executive of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners while residing in Manchester. During his entire 24 year career, he has been in charge of defending women’s and children’s rights. Furthermore, since 2018 he has been Chair of the Corporation Board at Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
He has been spoken out against Ghislaine Maxwell, who was found guilty in 2021 for sex trafficking and aiding Jeffery Epstein. Afzal in 2011 had also helped bring down a paedophile ring in Rochdale. He has also fought for a school in Birmingham to include LGBTQ+ inclusion lessons, even though he was highly criticised by parents for it.
Afzal also sits in and helps with many charitable organisation. This includes Oxfam’s Safeguarding and Ethics Committee as well as advising the Welsh government on Gender Based Violence.
Nazir Afzal OBE is also a practising Muslim and the son of Pakistani immigrants. He will be the first practising Muslim to becomes the Chancellor of the University of Manchester. He will also be second, only to Sissay, to be a son of an immigrant.
Nazir Afzal after being pointed said: “It is a huge privilege and honour to serve the University of Manchester as Chancellor. This son of immigrants, born in an impoverished inner city terraced house, could never have imagined that my journey would take me here, and I intend to remind people that this extraordinary institution represents the best this country has to offer.”
President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell said: “I am delighted to welcome Nazir, who has an incredible record of public service and who personifies our University’s values. I look forward to welcoming him to the University community and working with him to promote our ambitious plans over the coming years.
“I would also like to pay tribute to Lemn for his tremendous work over the past seven years. He has been an amazing supporter of our University, bringing life to the role – a ceremonial office with significant ambassadorial responsibilities – thanks to his star quality and wholehearted enthusiasm. It has been a pleasure working with him.”
Chancellor Lemn Sissay OBE commented: “I have had a wonderful seven years as Chancellor of the University. While my time in this particular role will end this summer, I look forward to continuing my close relationship as an honorary chair in creative writing. I do wish Nazir all the best as the next Chancellor of this unique, world-leading University.”