Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Norah Al-Ani for the award of Honorary Fellowship.
Norah Al-Ani is a passionate agent of social change, founding member of the Cambridge Women’s Consortium, and Director of Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre.
Born in Kirkuk, Iraq, to an Iraqi father and Irish mother, Norah came to the UK as a youngster, and has lived in Cambridge since 1980. In 1989 she took a job at the Cambridge Women’s Resources Centre, initially working as a cleaner, later as receptionist, and ultimately, as Training Co-ordinator. By 1994, she had become Women’s Training Network Director for England.
In 2001, Norah was appointed Community Development Officer for BME Communities at Cambridge City Council, soon progressing to the position of Equalities Manager within Cambridge Community Development, where she would stay for almost a decade.
In 2010 Norah was appointed Development Officer of Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre – or CRCC as it is more commonly known. Her impact was both immediate and far-reaching, and her efforts were rewarded by her appointment as Director of CRCC.
Since taking over the reins at CRCC, the organisation has expanded support and service provision enormously. By growing the Centre’s annual budget from around £50,000 in 2010, to almost a quarter of a million pounds today, Norah has been able to develop a range of wrap-around support services to survivors of rape, sexual abuse and sexual violence in Cambridgeshire.
In 2017, CRCC helpline volunteers answered over 1,000 calls, and their specialist counselling service provided one-to-one support for 470 clients. CCRC also employs their own Independent Sexual Violence Advocates, and a specialist Children and Young People’s Independent Sexual Violence Advocate, whose role is to help anyone who has suffered sexual violence to navigate the Criminal Justice System.
Norah’s achievements at CRCC have been recognised nationally. In 2012, she was appointed as Eastern Regional Representative for Rape Crisis England and Wales, and later elected Trustee and Board Member.
In 2015 Norah was a guest speaker at the Women of the World Festival in Cambridge. In 2016 she was a speaker at the Festival of Ideas. And in 2017 she was keynote speaker at the international conference Gender-Aware Sex and Relationship Education: Approaches To Tackle Gender-based Violence, organised by Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation and the think-tank GenPol.
Our University enjoys close ties with Norah. She is a regular guest lecturer to our criminology students. She has participated in panel discussions, film screenings, Q&A sessions, and workshops for International Women’s Day, hosted at ARU. And last year she worked closely with one of our third-year criminology students, later applying findings from the project to enhance practice at CRCC. Norah has also been an enormously positive influence in our working group Sexual Respect at ARU.
In light of the global #MeToo movement, and Cambridge University’s Breaking the Silence campaign, our acknowledgement of Norah’s achievements sends out a strong public message that Anglia Ruskin University fully supports the outstanding work done by Norah and her colleagues at Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre.
Norah is a tremendous advocate for women and girls – an inspiring figure wholly committed to creating a world free from sexual violence.
We are delighted to welcome Norah Al-Ani to our Anglia Ruskin community.
Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Norah Al-Ani for the award of Honorary Fellow.