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Raja Zarith receives honorary degree from University of Nottingham


Her Royal Highness, Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, Permaisuri of Johor was conferred with an honorary degree from The University of Nottingham on 22 July 2017.

The award was presented by Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice Chancellor of The University of Nottingham at the first of ten graduation ceremonies, which see the University award degrees to about 800 students from Faculties of Arts & Social Sciences, Engineering and Science. Each student graduates with a world class British qualification.

According to The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus CEO and Provost Professor Graham Kendall: an honorary degree is the highest award bestowed by the university to an individual for the outstanding commitment to the society and at this ceremony, we are proud to present it to HRH Raja Zarith Sofiah.

“Her contribution to society and education is immense and today we want to recognise her contribution in advocating related causes for the betterment of the society,” Professor Kendall said.

HRH Raja Zarith Sofiah is currently the Chancellor of the University of Technology, Malaysia (UTM). HRH is also the Royal Fellow at the School of Language Studies & Linguistics, National University of Malaysia (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia/UKM) and the Royal Patron of the Malaysian English Language Teachers Association (MELTA).

HRH has delivered keynote addresses at academic international conferences including conferences organised by the Malaysian Association of Modern Languages in April 2002, the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s School of Languages and Linguistic Studies (SoLLS) in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011, and at The Voices of Peace, Conscience and Reason (PCORE) Forum, in 2010 and 2013. At the PCORE 2013 Forum, HRH spoke on “Unity & Multiculturalism: Building A Future Together”.

HRH is a prolific writer and wrote two newspapers columns between 2000 to 2012; ‘On Common Ground’ in the New Straits Times and ‘Mind Matters’ in The Star. A book compiling 80 of her selected articles was launched in October 2013 by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdul Halim Muádzam Shah. HRH has also authored four children’s books in 1995.

HRH’s education includes Davies’ College in London in 1977 where she sat for the Oxbridge Entrance Examination. In 1978, she was offered a place at Somerville College at the University of Oxford. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Studies in 1983.

Tuanku Raja Zarith inherited a love for painting from her father, and has taken part in a number of art exhibitions.

Tuanku Raja Zarith Sofiah married HRH the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar in 1982, who was, at that time, the Tunku Mahkota Johor. The royal couple is blessed with six children, five princes and a princess. HRH was given the title of Permaisuri of Johor at the Royal Coronation of both the Sultan and herself in March 2015.

As the consort of HRH the Sultan of Johor, HRH works with many charitable organisations and NGOs. She is the Royal Advisor of the Malaysian Red Crescent, Royal Patron of the Raja Zarith Sofiah Negeri Johor Foundation, Chairman of the Tunku Laksamana Johor Cancer Foundation, Royal Patron of the Johor Cerebral Palsy Association, Royal Patron of the Malaysian English Language Teachers Association (MELTA) and Royal Patron of the Association of Voices of Peace, Conscience and Reason (PCORE). HRH is also Patron of the Paediatric Palliative Care programme, Malaysia, Patron of the Johor Girl Guides and Patron of the National Stroke Association of Malaysia (NASAM) Johor.

In May this year, HRH Raja Zarith Sofiah launched the “TinDak” campaign by the Johor Women’s League (JEWEL) – a campaign focusing on protecting children from sexual abuse.

In his oration, Professor Kendall said, “It is a great honour to welcome Her Royal Highness to our family; the University of Nottingham. We hope that you can draw on our resources and expertise as you continue the important, far reaching work, for which you are known.”

Vice Chancellor’s Medal Award

At the ceremony, students Arvind Jayaratnam, Ong Jin Hui and Ahmed Afrah Ismail were awarded with the Vice Chancellor’s Medal Award from The University of Nottingham, which was presented to them by Professor Sir David Greenaway. The three are graduating from Economics; Finance, Accounting and Management and Mechanical Engineering respectively.


More information is available from Patrick Joseph on  or Josephine Dionisappu, PR & Communications Manager at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus on +603 8924 8746,

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2015. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.

Posted on 22nd July 2017

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