Baroness Valerie Amos

was made a life peer in August 1997, and appointed Government Whip in the Lords in July of the following year. Born in Guyana in 1954, Baroness Amos graduated from the Universities of Warwick (BA) and Birmingham (MA). She then worked in local government for various London Boroughs as a race relations adviser in Lambeth from 1981-82, as women's advisor to Camden from 1983-85, and the Head of Management Services to the London borough of Hackney from 1987-89. In 1989 she became the Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission, where she stayed for four years.

Baroness Amos was the first black woman cabinet minister and joint first black woman peer, and Leader of the House of Lords, the third woman in history to lead the upper house of Parliament.

Previously, she was a government spokesperson on international development, social security and women’s issues. In the past she has been a trustee and board member for a range of charities and committees including The Runnymeade Trust, Royal College of Nursing, Hampstead Theatre, Voluntary Service Overseas, Project Hope and the Africa Trust. She was an advisor to the South African Government on public service transformation, human resource development and employment equity. Her dedication to each of these, and their broad range, stand as a testament to her versatility.

Baroness Amos has an Honorary Professorship in recognition of her work on equality and social justice from Thames Valley University.

We need to celebrate diversity and ensure that we continue to build a strong, dynamic and inclusive society.