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Honorary degrees awarded today [Wednesday, February 15]

Press release issued: 15 February 2006

Bristol University is awarding honorary degrees to two prominent people at today's degree ceremonies in the Wills Memorial Building [Wednesday, February 15].

Bristol University is awarding honorary degrees to two prominent people at today’s degree ceremonies in the Wills Memorial Building [Wednesday, February 15].

Ms Ellen Malos, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol, Women’s Aid pioneer, campaigner for women’s rights, community activist, teacher and scholar, will be honoured with the degree of Doctor of Laws at the 11.15 am ceremony.

Ellen was born in Ballarat, a gold mining town in Australia. The eldest of five children and from a family of anglo-celtic emigrants, Ellen was the first member of her family to go to university. She applied for a bursary of £50 to Victoria State Education Department to help pay for her books.  She later progressed to Melbourne University to read English and History, winning a prize for her dissertation on Australian novelist Patrick White.

Ellen met her future husband, John Malos, whilst she was attending an Australian Student Labour Federation conference.  In 1962 after John, Ellen’s now husband, obtained a fellowship in the Physics Department at Bristol University, they moved to Bristol.

Ellen’s initial plan to complete a PhD was abandoned after having her second child, so she could stay at home and look after her children.  Though shortly after Ellen became part of the expanding Women’s Liberation Movement, attending its famous first conference at Ruskin College in 1970. 

Ellen became the hub of the thriving Bristol Women’s Movement in the early 1970s. The basement of her house in Waverley Road became the Women’s Centre.  The Centre acted as a refuge for women who were victims of domestic violence, the first of its kind in Bristol and also functioned as a pregnancy-testing centre before home testing kits. After two years of campaigning the group acquired and managed three houses. Bristol Women’s Aid was born.

The group took part in various other campaigns, including the fight for contraceptive rights, and support for low-paid working women. At the same time Ellen was caring for her two young children as well as doing part-time teaching jobs and extramural evening classes. Her work with Women’s Aid and teaching eventually drew Ellen back to Bristol University.

After collaborating on a book Half the Sky, an introduction to Women’s Studies, and wishing to strengthen her work as a practitioner with theoretical knowledge, Ellen took a Diploma in Social Administration. She returned as a paid worker for Women’s Aid, and in 1981 secured her first temporary teaching contract at the University.

In 1984, together with Gill Hague another women’s refuge worker, Ellen won a grant to study housing authorities’ responses to women with domestic violence problems. Funded by many agencies, including the Home Office, the work led to the establishment in 1990 of the Domestic Violence Research Group, which has gone from strength to strength. 

Ellen continued to work with Women’s Aid in an excellent example of city and university collaboration, helping them to secure funding when it was threatened.

Ellen’s contribution to the University community had been wide-ranging, working committedly to solve the problems of contract researchers, innumerable people have benefited from Ellen’s support and kindness. At the end of her career Ellen was finally rewarded with promotion to Senior Lecturer and remains an Honorary Senior Research Fellow.

Dr the Honourable Gilbert Greenall, CBE, Consultant Adviser, Department for International Development and Bristol graduate will be honoured with the degree of Doctor of Medicine at the 2.30 pm ceremony.

Gilbert Greenall was born into the entrepreneurial Greenall family, best known as producers and retailers of alcoholic drinks as well as major property owners.  Educated at Eton and Sandhurst, Gilbert spent a year working in the family business, before applying to go to business school in Fontainbleu, France where he later graduated, gaining a bilingual English and French MBA.  

Determined to forge a career in the field of humanitarian aid, Gilbert decided to study for a medical degree hoping it would help him reach his goal. He gained a place at the University of Bristol, graduating in 1989 with an MB ChB.  After qualifying in medicine, he held house positions in both Frenchay and Southmead hospitals in Bristol, before joining Cheltenham General Hospital for almost a decade as a Senior House Officer. 

In 1978 Gilbert started the beginning of his humanitarian career, working as a volunteer with Christian Outreach on the Thai/Cambodian border. He later joined Oxfam as a field director in Uganda, carrying out famine relief in Karamoja and Arua.

Since then Gilbert has undertaken many projects for the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Co-ordination Missions in Irian Jaya, Pakistan, North East China, Albania, Kosovo, East Timor, Mozambique, Sri Lanka and most recently, as United Nations Civil/Military Co-ordinator in the North Western Frontier Province of Pakistan.

In addition he has worked for the Department of International Development in its humanitarian aid activities, helping lead the UK government’s fight against world poverty. Since 1991 he has worked in Northern Iraq, Bosnia, North West Somalia, Angola, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Montserrat, Sierra Leone, Macedonia, Kabul, the Balkans and most recently, in Baghdad and Fallujah. Gilbert has also worked as an adviser on the Asian Tsunami. 


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