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Sir Jonathan Phillips elected new Warden of Keble

Sunday 11 October 2009

The new Warden of Keble who will succeed Professor Dame Averil Cameron in Michaelmas 2010 is Sir Jonathan Phillips.

Sir Jonathan Phillips will come to Keble following a distinguished career in the civil service. After some twenty-five years working mainly in economic departments in Whitehall, he moved, in 2002, to the Northern Ireland Office as its political director. He has supported two Prime Ministers and four Secretaries of State in the Northern Ireland political process and was appointed Permanent Secretary in 2005. His current preoccupation is with the devolution of policing and justice powers to the Northern Ireland Executive. By coincidence his own earlier academic interests had a distinctly Irish flavour; in 1977 he completed a doctoral thesis on the campaign for government funding of Catholic higher education in Ireland in the late nineteenth century which was one of the elements of the Irish home rule question. He is originally from the West Midlands and was educated at Queen Mary's Grammar School in Walsall, before reading history at St John's College, Cambridge (he was the first generation in his family to go to University), where he met his wife, Amanda.  They have two adult sons, one of whom is a journalist in Brazil and the other a philosopher and fellow of All Souls.

Commenting on his election Jonathan said that he was 'absolutely delighted at the prospect of joining the College and engaging with all its members and staff ‘. He said that he was 'very proud to have been chosen in succession to someone of Averil Cameron's distinction'.