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Headshot picture of Dr Fiona Hill

Durham University Chancellor and acclaimed foreign affairs specialist, Dr Fiona Hill, has been made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 2024 New Year Honours List by King Charles III.

The honour is for Dr Hill’s services to international relations in recognition of her work in foreign policy in the US and for maintaining close US-UK ties.  

On receiving the honour, Fiona said she was “deeply honoured and moved”.  

Presidential adviser 

Fiona Hill is an expert in foreign affairs and an authority on Russian and European geopolitics. She has advised US Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump on foreign affairs.  

Fiona served on the US National Intelligence Council from 2006 to 2009, and was a member of the US National Security Council under President Trump.  

Fiona is a senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe, in the Foreign Policy programme at the Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organisation based in Washington DC.  

In November 2022, she was announced as our Chancellor.  

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen O’Brien, congratulated Fiona Hill on this honour, saying: "I am delighted that our Chancellor, Dr Fiona Hill, has had her world-leading expertise in foreign policy recognised by this honour. It is so timely that work done in this area should receive such acknowledgment. It can only further inspire our staff and students in any contribution they make to addressing global challenges."

The University's Chair of Council, Joe Docherty, said: "I congratulate our Chancellor, Dr Fiona Hill, on her honour, reflecting so positively on her contribution at a global level to international relations. I also know that Fiona sees this as a further boost to Durham University, County Durham and North East England."

North East pride 

Dr Hill grew up in Bishop Auckland in County Durham as the daughter of a coal miner and has spoken of having a thirst for learning from an early age and being passionate about social mobility and giving back to the community.    

She pursued degree studies at St Andrew’s University, Scotland, graduating with a Master’s in Russian and Modern History. She holds a Master’s in Soviet studies and a doctorate in History from Harvard University, USA, where she was a Frank Knox Fellow. Fiona was recently elected to the Harvard University Board of Overseers.  

She became a US citizen in 2002 and is married with one daughter.  

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