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Professor Tom Scott-Smith

We are pleased to announce that Tom Scott-Smith (Associate Professor of Refugee Studies and Forced Migration) has been awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to explore the life of Lord John Boyd Orr (1880–1971).

The project will examine Orr’s intellectual history, asking how his political views changed from youthful conservatism to radical idealism.

John Boyd Orr described himself as a simple farmer, but he ended up responsible for the most ambitious proposals for international governance in the 20th century. He was the first director of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), and in his later years he also became president of the National Peace Council, the World Union of Peace Organisations, and the Movement for World Federal Government. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949. His most important contribution to the history of ideas was the proposal of a World Food Board, which has been described as ‘one of the most ambitious designs for international action ever put forward’.

Drawing on detailed archival research, the project will explore the complex relationship between power and opposition, examining how radical new ideas can be launched successfully onto the global stage.