We are delighted to share the news that Wafa Shaheen, our head of asylum, integration and resettlement, has been awarded an honorary degree.

Our colleague was joined today (Monday 3rd July) by the Great British Bake Off’s Prue Leith and 400 students at a graduation ceremony at Queen Margaret University.

Wafa has been with the Scottish Refugee Council since 2000. As well as delivering asylum and immigration advice, Wafa has been key in providing strategic insights into the new communities settling in Scotland.

She has worked closely on research with the Institute for Global Health and Development at Queen Margaret University, and her insights into the importance of social connections have guided government strategy ever since. She receives her honorary degree in the year QMU’s Institute for Global Health and Development celebrates its 30th anniversary. 

Wafa Shaheen said: “I am so happy and tremendously delighted. To receive an honorary doctorate is a great honour, and having been working on Refugee Integration using the model which was developed by two fine academics from QMU makes it very special.

“I feel and believe this honour is a recognition of the collective achievements of my colleagues at Scottish Refugee Council who have been working tirelessly in a very challenging political narrative to support people seeking protection in Scotland.”

Wafa Shaheen with Prue Leith, chancellor of Queen Margaret University. Image by Malcolm Cochrane

Sir Paul Grice, Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “We are delighted that, today, our students have the opportunity to learn about the life and career of Wafa Shaheem – a strong, compassionate and inspirational woman who has worked tirelessly to support and resettle refugees in Scotland and to help develop policies that recognise and respond to refugees’ resilience and capacities rather than their vulnerabilities. She has been pivotal in the work of QMU’s Institute for Global Health and Development where she has supported research into the importance of social connections. She has been a truly compassionate leader who has helped Scotland build and connect communities and strengthen its capacity for successful multicultural integration. Her achievements align with QMU’s values of social justice and with our aim of producing relevant research and work which makes a positive impact on the world. Her advocacy for compassionate, sustainable, holistic refugee integration could not be more urgent or relevant in today’s world. 

“We are truly honoured to have such an exceptional individual at graduation, and we are delighted to recognise Wafa’s impressive achievements with an honorary degree.” 




Gilly Furmage
Author: Gilly Furmage