Steve the refugee from Germany

Dame Stephanie Shirley came to England as a refugee

I hated the Germans

As late as about 1965 I was still avoiding going on German soil, I hated the Germans.   It took a long time but then in my early 30s I began to mature.    It was precisely  for people like me to reach out and I joined the Anglo German society.

portrait of Stephanie Shirley

photograph by Robert Taylor

I joined my mother in her trip to Vienna, which I had escaped 20 years earlier.    I looked around at the gracious avenues, ancient walls and elegant squares,… and realised in an instant that it meant absolutely nothing to me…… at that moment I felt the weight of my past vanish from my shoulders

The title of my memoir (soon to be made into a film)  is about letting go.   Let IT Go    Continue reading

Global Woman

Global woman.

Juliana Ruhfus
Part two

The world needs women of vision, women whose  mission is not just narrow nationalism, but to the benefit of people everywhere.    Juliana Ruhfus describes herself as a television journalist and broadcaster who specializes in investigations and current affairs.

“Journalists really need to globalize.   Crime globalized a long time ago, why shouldn’t we?”

Continue reading

Surgeon Elizabeth Gordon

Surgeon Elizabeth Gordon

Founder member of the Medical Arm of Amnesty International in 1975

As part of an Australian medical team in Vietnam during the war we treated all people regardless of whether they were North or South. This was a proper hospital at Bien Hoa. You could pick out the Viet Cong by their accent. I treated a man with gunshot wounds to his legs. I fixed him up and the same day he was removed from the hospital, by the Vietnamese police.

“That’s when I became aware of torture.”

In 1975 five of us got together and set up the Medical Group of     Amnesty International.

  Dr Elizabeth Gordon FRCS doesn’t trumpet her achievements. She is a precise woman who sees aesthetics, not just in music and art, but in the elegance and simplicity of the instruments which she uses for surgery.  She loves the precision and delicacy of the instruments.

DR.Dr. Gordon Trustee of the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture. 1985

One of the original founders of the Medical Group of Amnesty International 1975

“Why do you want to be a surgeon, are you going to be a missionary? “

Continue reading

Frank Pucelik. NLP originator

Interview with Frank Pucelik.

from informal interview with Frank at NLP Conference 2010

“Model is a funny word. For us modeling starts from copying.   When you can copy and actually do what other person can do because you just copy their behaviours.”

“Every person is a walking miracle.”

“The war taught me a lot.   War taught me a bullet gets you if it gets you.   You can be green, you can be purple,  a colonel or a major or a corporal.   You’re nobody special.”

Frank NLP seminar

Frank Pucelik at the Neuro Linguistic conference 2010

“Equality starts with each person.   If I have the ability to meet each person without knowing what they are, to experience them joyfully.   Every person is a walking miracle.   Imagine aliens,  I  don’t know anything about them, and so I get to explore a whole new universe.  A completely different experience.  Without any  judgement , arrogance, or  disrespect.  It is only possible to listen and learn.

Frank Pucelik was one of the three originators of NLP.  One of the  Top-100 US business-trainers, consultant to the Peace Corps and he supports five rehabilitation centers for youth with drug addictions in Ukrainian .

“Richard (Bandler) and I were college kids, studying Fritz Perl and copying what he did.   But we didn’t really understand what we were doing.   Richard  was in his early 20s and I  was returned from Vietnam,  to be a student at the  University of California, Santa Cruz.   Kresge College was an Arts college, what we called touchy feely, it drove us nuts.  This was about 1971.

We damaged people were looking for anything anyone to put ourselves back together. Continue reading

Joy Adeniran

Joy Adeniran

It is something I will always carry with me, trying to have an empathy towards clients, their respective backgrounds.

Understanding where they’re coming from.

It’s not something they can teach you.

Most inspirational women interviewed are well into their career, looking forward Joy. Law studentand reflecting backwards. Joy is at the beginning of her journey. But already she holds beliefs and values of which she is certain.

Just turned 25, she is a student, working on her Masters, undertaking legal work experience.
She is British born of Nigerian heritage, on both sides.   Her father came to study on a scholarship from the Nigerian Government, in the 80s and after his wife followed, he stayed on.

Perhaps a moment of realization that girls were treated differently, was in P.E.    At school being separated from male peers, only being allowed to take part in certain sports.

“I was not set on a particular career, but there are certain things I was interested in, which led me onto the law path.  At school I remember being involved in the school council at a young age, enjoying trying to represent my peers and other students.

My most memorable event was my time in South Africa, Continue reading

Professor Francesca Klug

Human Rights at the LSE

Professor Francesca Klug

…. justice (was) served up with the dinner.


Our family story, and that of many others around us who, unlike us, had survived the Holocaust, impressed on me growing up, that things can change,  that nothing is certain and definite, and that you have to inculcate a sense of justice and a sense of fairness to stop the world turning against you and others.”   Both my parents impressed that on me in different ways.

Francesca Klug is a Professorial Research Fellow at the LSE, based in the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, and Director of the Human Rights Futures Project.  She is a member of the Advisory Committee for the LSE’s Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion.

The concept of justice was quite strong in my family,  I can’t claim any special insight on my part.  I was brought up in a family where justice served up with the dinner.

All 4 of my grandparents were refugee migrants, and we were brought up very consciously to know that if they hand’t left  the various Eastern European and Russian homelands when they did, they almost certainly would not have survived. Their extended families did not survive except one cousin.Professor Klug researcher at LSE Human Rightss

My father thought Britain was the promised land, he felt so lucky to be here.   There was no sense of entitlement.  He felt lucky to be alive, and to live in this country.

“For me it means recognizing the imbalance of power based on gender and being keen to address that  through the rights of women.”

My most surprising event  when I was called into Jack Straw’s office in 1997, Continue reading

Professor Conor Gearty

Professor Conor Gearty

Human Rights at LSE

Someone who’s not compliant to power.

I think my presence is a signal to people who are not,

effortlessly  of British culture,

that they can be themselves and succeed.

I personally have not received much direct discrimination. It’s interesting because obviously I’m Irish.  I came to England at time of serious political violence between the two countries.   In the early years in Cambridge I received  some patronizing attitudes.    How charming and feckless the Irish are. That kind of stereotype.


I’ve had an incredibly successful academic career.   I do not generalize from my own experience.  I’m very conscious that Irish people of a different class, are very much discriminated against .

So I stand a little outside.  That’s the freedom of academia.   You’re not going to get sacked.  That might be called  kind of integrity.   But its easy to have integrity if you’re secure.

For 7 years I was the Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics.   I was both  professor  of Human Rights Law, teaching research students, but also I was bringing together interested parties, people in academia, people in government and NGO’s in the study of Human Rights.   To push ahead the agenda of human rights, in the academic  environment.  So it was a lovely opportunity to invite people along, to public  events.   In Spring 2013 I became Director of LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs .

Director of the Centre for Human Rights

Lawyer and lecturer at London School of Economics

Initially, I argued for the repeal of the  Human Rights Act of 1998.  For years, I thought that Human Rights were fatuous, do gooding, empty symbols.   I grew into them.   I’m certainly a bit sceptical.  It has too many disciples. It needs some critical friends. Rights are a way of expressing ourselves.

The most surprising event was the keenness  of L.S.E to keep me when I had a job elsewhere,and that’s why I’ve ended up running the Institute of Public Affairs .   I was quite surprised when I became a fellow of the British  Academy.   Two examples of external judgement  of me. Which surprised me because I did not know I was held in high esteem in Academe.

Role models and women Continue reading