Valerie Amos is the 9th Director of SOAS, University of London. From 2010, Valerie Amos served as Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the UN. Ms Amos has served in a number of roles in the public sector, including in local government and as Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission. She was an adviser to the Mandela Government on leadership and change management issues and was appointed a Labour Life Peer in 1997. Baroness Amos went on to become the first black woman to sit in the British cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development. She became Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council in October 2003 and served as UK High Commissioner to Australia before joining the UN. Born in Guyana, she was educated at Bexley Technical High School for Girls (now Townley Grammar School), south-east London. She holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Warwick; an MA in Cultural Studies from the University of Birmingham; and Research in Applied Education from the University of East Anglia, where she investigated the transition from school to work for black girls. An advocate of higher education, Baroness Amos is co-founder and Patron of the Amos Bursary, which promotes higher education opportunities for young men of African and Caribbean heritage in the UK.