University News

Denison announces 2023 Commencement keynote speaker

March 16, 2023

Lord Mark Malloch-Brown will deliver the keynote address at Denison University’s 182nd Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 13. At the ceremony, Malloch-Brown also will be recognized with the conferring of an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

“We celebrate Lord Mark Malloch-Brown as a pragmatic and passionate advocate of human rights and as a global change agent dedicated to improving the lives of millions of people,” says Denison President Adam Weinberg. “Mark exemplifies the strengths of the liberal arts to engage in critical thinking and intellectual humility while examining the complex issues of our time.”

Malloch-Brown has worked to advance human rights, justice, and development for more than four decades in a variety of roles: with the United Nations, the World Bank, and as a British government minister, as well as with a range of civil society groups and businesses. His distinguished career in international affairs includes service as deputy secretary general of the United Nations under Kofi Annan, heading the United Nations Development Programme, directing external affairs at the World Bank, and working as a British government minister.

Malloch-Brown served the British government as Minister of State for Africa and the United Nations at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office under Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He spearheaded the global promotion of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals as head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from 1999 to 2005 under then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. At the UNDP and previously as head of external affairs at the World Bank, Malloch-Brown led reform efforts that were widely seen as increasing the impact of both organizations. He later served as Annan’s chief of staff before his appointment as U.N. Deputy Secretary General.

Knighted for his contribution to international affairs, Malloch-Brown is currently on leave from the British House of Lords. As president of Open Society Foundations, the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights, he oversees the foundation’s work in more than 120 countries around the world.

“Global challenges require persistent and creative leadership,” says Malloch-Brown. “Graduates from liberal arts institutions such as Denison can examine and disentangle systems to advocate for the kind of holistic solutions we need. I am looking forward to this opportunity to engage with future leaders.”

A Distinguished Practitioner at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government, Malloch-Brown is an adjunct fellow at Chatham House’s Queen Elizabeth Program and has been a visiting distinguished fellow at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. Malloch-Brown’s spouse, Trish Cronan Malloch-Brown, is a member of the Denison Class of 1986. She has recently completed her tenure as a member of the Denison Board of Trustees. Two of their children attended Denison.

Back to top