NATIONAL columnist Alison Phipps is to become an ambassador for the Scottish Refugee Council.

Phipps, a Glasgow University professor whose work has been lauded by UNESCO, joins the national charity with both academic and lived experience of refugee issues.

Her foster daughter came to Scotland as an asylum seeker and Phipps’ work has taken her to countries on four continents, including Palestine, Sudan, New Zealand, Germany and America.

She will use her new role to support the charity’s work campaigning for the rights of people in need of international protection and rebuilding their lives in Scotland.

The National:

Phipps, a UNESCO chair for refugee integration through the arts and language, said: “It is a genuine privilege to work with an organisation which strives for mutual integration and respect for those caught up in precarious legal and humanitarian situations.

“As a foster parent to my daughter who came to Scotland as an unaccompanied minor from Eritrea, I’ve experienced first-hand what it means to live within the refugee and asylum systems. I have seen what it means to live through the agony of family separation, detention, destitution, eviction, drowning, captivity and of mourning those who are lost on the journey and to the systems of detention and destitution.

“But, I’ve also learned of the ways in which communities of New Scots flourish, celebrate the lives they have and the family connections they can establish here.”

Sabir Zazai, who became chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council in August after working in English organisations, said: “Alison was the first person to welcome me to Scotland when I knew no one else in the country.

“Her dedication to creating a culture of welcome and inclusivity is at the heart of Scottish Refugee Council’s work.

“Alison is one of Scotland’s most inspirational public figures and we are honoured to have her support our work with refugee communities in Scotland.”

The charity’s winter appeal is raising funds for people rebuilding their lives in Scotland.

To donate, visit