Upper body image of Professor Alexander Betts with blurred picturesque Oxford background
Professor Alex Betts will commence this new senior role in May 2023 (Oxford University Images / John Cairns).

University’s new Local and Global Engagement Officer appointed

Professor Alex Betts will take on the new senior role of Local and Global Engagement Officer within the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar’s Office week commencing 29 May.

In his new role as the University’s Local and Global Engagement Officer, Professor Alex Betts will work to advance the University’s collective ambitions around local, national and global engagement. He will advocate for the work that we already do and collaborate with key partners to make a positive difference, within and beyond our local community.  

The University is committed through its Strategic Plan to enhancing the public engagement, knowledge exchange and innovation culture of the University.

In Professor Irene Tracey’s admission speech as Oxford’s new Vice-Chancellor in January 2023, she highlighted the need to better coordinate, strengthen and deepen the relationships between the city, county and the University to help deliver this commitment. 

The Vice-Chancellor also emphasised that Oxford should use its world-leading expertise to improve the local environment, playing a more significant part in positively shaping the evolution of the local area. This goes alongside continuing to build a vocal national role in shaping our country and delivering creative solutions to address major global challenges. 

I’m thrilled that we’ve secured someone as outstanding and committed to local, national and global engagement for this position

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Irene Tracey

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Irene Tracey says: 'I’m thrilled that we’ve secured someone as outstanding and committed to local, national and global engagement for this position as Professor Alex Betts.

'He is fizzing with ideas and has a proven track-record of delivery and impact.

'I look forward to working with Alex as we serve the collegiate university in our collective ambition to be impactful. Please give him your full support.’ 

The role will involve engaging with a range of internal stakeholders and external partners, including local authorities, commercial industries, voluntary organisations, policymakers and other partners and networks. 

Positive impact

Professor Betts says: ‘I am delighted to be appointed as the University’s Local and Global Engagement Officer.  

‘I am passionate about the positive impact our University can have on people’s lives, especially when we work in partnership with government, business and civil society.  

‘I look forward to strengthening how we collaborate to solve the biggest challenges of our time, here in Oxford, nationally and around the world.’  

Professor Betts is currently the Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs in the University’s Department of International Development. He has served as Director of the Refugee Studies Centre and as Associate Head (Graduate and Research Training) of the Social Sciences Division.  

In these roles, he has led local and global engagement initiatives such as the SDG Impact Lab, which enables students to collaborate to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the Refugee-Led Research Hub, based in Nairobi. 

His research on the politics and political economy of refugee protection and migration has been influential in shaping policy and practice around the world.