The Queen’s Anniversary Prize was presented to Professor Calie Pistorius, Vice-Chancellor of the University, and Professor John Oldfield, the Director of the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, at a Buckingham Palace ceremony, on February 25.
The University of Hull was one of only 21 UK universities and colleges honoured with the prestigious award. The Wilberforce Institute was selected after a rigorous procedure, which examined the transformational research carried out into both historical and contemporary forms of slavery. The Institute’s work to highlight how many people are enslaved in the world today was also noted by the judging panel.
An estimated 35 million people are enslaved worldwide in an illegal trade worth £150 billion, more than at any point in history. The Institute helped to establish the Global Slavery Index (GSI) with the Walk Free Foundation, in Australia, in order to establish the scale of the problem. Staff from the Wilberforce Institute, which is based next to the birthplace of abolitionist William Wilberforce in High Street, Hull, now advises governments around the world on tackling the problems highlighted by the GSI.
The Institute’s Director, Professor John Oldfield said:
‘It is my firm belief that only by studying the past can we imagine a future that is different. The Wilberforce Institute is both studying the past and using this study to help to imagine a future that is significantly different. Receiving this award is recognition of the Institute’s cutting-edge research, not least in revising estimates of those enslaved today. Winning the Queen’s Anniversary Prize not only confirms our global reputation in the field of slavery studies but puts us in a position to attract the levels of funding that will allow us to go on producing research that informs public practice and policy, at local, national and international levels.’