Honorary graduands

Each year The University of Manchester confers degrees on honorary graduands from a range of fields.

In 2022 we gave honorary degrees to Amani Abou-Zeid, Edward Astle and Julie Hesmondhalgh.

Amani Abou-Zeid

Amani Abou-Zeid smiling in her robes.

Dr Amani Abou-Zeid is the twice-elected African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation.

For more than 35 years she has served in international organisations, leading and implementing national, regional and cross-continental infrastructure projects in Africa, such as the Single African Air Transport Market, Africa’s Single Electricity Market, and the Digital Transformation Strategy.

Her many academic qualifications include a PhD in Socio-Economic Development from The University of Manchester – from which she has also received an Outstanding Alumni Award.

Edward Astle

Edward Astle smiling in cap and gown.

Edward Astle is Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee of Openreach, Chair of the charity upReach – which helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds to get top graduate jobs – and a trustee of the Lakeland Arts Trust.

He spent most of his career in the telecoms and utilities sectors, where he served on the boards of Cable and Wireless, BICC and National Grid. He was also Pro-Rector Enterprise at Imperial College London.

Edward was Chair of the Board of Governors at The University of Manchester from September 2016 to August 2022.

Julie Hesmondhalgh

Julie Hesmondhalgh smiling in cap and gown.

Julie Hesmondhalgh is a Manchester-based actor, writer, theatre-maker and activist.

She set up Arts Threshold Theatre in the early 1990s and co-runs Take Back, a political theatre collective, as well as fundraising group 500 Acts of Kindness. Julie is a patron and supporter of many organisations, including the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, Reuben’s Retreat and Arts Emergency.

Her theatre work includes The Greatest Play in the History of the World; Mother Courage and Her Children; and The Almighty Sometimes; and her TV credits include Coronation Street; Dr Who; Catastrophe; and Broadchurch.