Zeinab Badawi was born in the Sudan; her family moved to London when she was 2 years old. She studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University and earned master’s degree in history (awarded with a distinction) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Ms. Badawi has worked in the British media for four decades and is now best known for her work in the BBC’s international division at BBC World News TV and BBC World Service Radio on programs such as Hard Talk and Global Questions as well as a 20-part TV series on the history of Africa, which she produced and presented through her own production company for BBC World News.
Ms. Badawi is the current president of SOAS, former chair of the Royal African Society, a member of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS), and a trustee of Historic Royal Palaces, BBC Media Action (the charitable arm of the BBC), the Royal Opera House, and Hampstead Theatre in London. She is also a member of the Rhodes Commission. She has previously served on the board of the British Council, the National Portrait Gallery, the Institute of Historical Research, and the Overseas Development Institute, and she has been chair of Article 19.
Among her many awards are honorary doctorates from SOAS and the University of the Arts London, the President’s Medal of the British Academy for her services to broadcasting and education, and the United Nations Association-UK Sir Brian Urquhart Award for distinguished service to the UN. She has four children.