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13 March 2009

International research Centre for Rural Childhood, based at Perth College, appoints director

The UHI Centre for Rural Childhood at Perth College, which aims to improve the lives of children locally, nationally and internationally, has appointed Professor Rebecca Wallace as director.

Professor Wallace will lead the Centre on all aspects of childhood issues including health, education, crime, drugs, abuse, sexual exploitation and the experiences of immigrant children - all in a rural context, which is largely ignored in favour of studies into childhood problems in urban situations.

The Centre, which intends to meet the highest standards of academic achievement through teaching and research, also engages in political agendas relating to rural childhood, and wants to be recognised as a Centre of Excellence. As a 'Key Institution of Childwatch International' and by participating in the 'Building a Europe for Children' agenda set by the Council of Europe, the Centre aims to be at the forefront of global research into helping children in rural areas.

Professor Wallace, an expert in international law and human rights, brings a wealth of experience to her role as director. Her many distinguished appointments and academic positions include Professor of International Human Rights at Robert Gordon University, Professor of Law and head of the School of Law at Napier University, Edinburgh and senior lecturer and Reader in Law at the University of Strathclyde. She has also been visiting scholar at the John Hopkins University, Washington DC and the Ariel Sallows Professor of Human Rights at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.

Rebecca has an MA from Aberdeen University, an LLB from Dundee University, a Diploma in European Integration from Amsterdam University and a PhD from Glasgow University. She is also a member of the English Bar, Lincoln's Inn, and a Member of the Higher Education academy, and she serves as a part-time immigration judge. She has written and published papers and handbooks on the international protection afforded to asylum seekers and refugees, specifically women and children, with corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, migration and human rights.

She is really looking forward to her new role: "I see the position as a privilege and an opportunity - a privilege to take the reins, assume responsibility and consolidate what has already begun, and an opportunity to capitalise on that as well as on my own experience to develop a team which will advance research and scholarly activity across the UHI network, the outcome of which will have an impact on policy and practice regionally, nationally and internationally."

Dr Sheila Lodge, UHI Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, welcomes Professor Wallace to her new post: "We are delighted that Rebecca is joining us to carry on the dedicated and outstanding work by Professor Stewart Asquith in setting up the Centre. Her academic record speaks for itself, and her enthusiasm and motivation to lead the Centre and make a difference to rural childhood will inspire all who work with her."

Fiona Leslie, Development Trust Manager for Perth College Development Trust, which raised the funds to set up the Centre, added: "We are very proud of our Centre for Rural Childhood and its international importance. Professor Wallace will be a real asset to the Centre and to the College as a whole."

Further information: Rosemary Walker, Playfair Walker PR, 0131 445 5570

                                     Professor Rebecca Wallace, 0141 772 5358

Note Perth College UHI is one of the fourteen partner institutions that comprise UHI Millennium Institute (UHI), the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands.