Dr Joanna Newman is Chief Executive and Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), where she is responsible for fostering and promoting the Association’s aims, as defined by its membership, in developing inter-Commonwealth relations in higher education. Established in 1913, the ACU is the world’s first and oldest international university network, with more than 500 member institutions in over 50 countries. With three distinct but interconnected areas of work – member services, programmes, and scholarship administration – supported by robust infrastructure and governance arrangements, the ACU delivers value to its members while achieving impact on the world of higher education and wider society.
Prior to joining the ACU in April 2017, Joanna was Vice-Principal (International) at King’s College London. Her previous positions include Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit (now known as Universities UK International) and Head of Higher Education at the British Library. Joanna is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of History at King’s College London and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. She has also taught history at University College London and the University of Warwick.
Joanna is on the board of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study, the board of trustees for CARA and The Conversation. She is a judge on the Times Higher Education Awards, and regularly speaks on issues relating to higher education and internationalisation at conferences, roundtables, and on international platforms. In 2014, Joanna was awarded an MBE in recognition of her work promoting British higher education internationally.
Joanna’s research focuses on Jewish/non-Jewish relations and refugee history, with particular reference to the role of agencies in providing relief and official British responses to refugee crises. She has taught courses on transnational refugee movements, the history of immigration to Britain, and Jewish history and the Holocaust. Her special fields of interest include Caribbean history from the 17th century to the 20th, the role of relief agencies in refugee movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, the development of British refugee and immigration policies, and British and American attitudes to refugees and rescue during the 1930s and 1940s. From her time at the British Library, she is also interested in aspects of librarianship and digital humanities.