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01 June 2022

King's academic receives Platinum Jubilee honour

Professor Jon Davis, Director of the Strand Group, has been awarded an OBE

jon davis-2022

Professor Jon Davis PhD has been awarded an OBE for services to Education and History in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee honours list.

After nearly two decades at Queen Mary University of London, in 2014 he joined the Policy Institute at King’s College London as inaugural Director of the Strand Group, a unit that brings together academia, government and business through research, teaching and public dissemination, and was appointed Professor of Government Education in 2021.

The Strand Group’s teaching modules have seen prime ministers, chancellors, cabinet secretaries and permanent secretaries speak to King’s students to give them an idea of how government really works by examining contemporary history guided by practitioner insights. The Strand Group has also staged more than 50 high-profile events with permanent secretaries, cabinet secretaries and prime ministers at King’s, the Foreign Office, HM Treasury and Downing Street sponsored by various commercial entities.

A significant aspect to his work has been the mentoring of many cohorts of students into government, journalism and academia.

Professor Davis’s publications include Prime Ministers and Whitehall, 1960-74 and Heroes or Villains?: The Blair Government Reconsidered (co-written with John Rentoul), and was Series Consultant to BBC2’s recent five-part documentary ‘Blair and Brown: The New Labour Revolution’.

Professor Davis said: "I’m obviously humbled and delighted. To come from a community of dockers around the Royal Docks in the East End of London and to now be honoured with an OBE has been quite a journey.

“This honour is testament to the support and encouragement of so many extraordinary history teachers along the way.

“My secondary school, Abbs Cross Comprehensive School (now the Abbs Cross Academy and Arts College) in Hornchurch, Essex, deserves my tremendous thanks, especially to teachers such as the late Dave Maclean, a fearsome and highly entertaining Ulsterman, and John Hubbard, who carries the flame to this day.

“The most profound gratitude is reserved for Professor the Lord Peter Hennessy, a man of true insight and honour, who provided the role model I was looking for during my wonderful years at Queen Mary and beyond.

“Not least, I would like to put on record how proud I am of the community that has formed around the Strand Group at King’s and our method of teaching contemporary government history, one intrinsically partnered with the very institutions it examines through the prism of academic and practitioner, theory and practice. The honour is in part recognition of this pioneering approach.”

Professor Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor, said: “Congratulations to Jon on this hugely well deserved and prestigious award which will delight his friends and colleagues, his past and present students and the whole of the King's College community. Jon's teaching and research has been consistently insightful and innovative and deepened all of our understanding of how the British government works, to the added benefit of hundreds of Treasury civil servants. Jon is tireless and ambitious and I know there will be more exciting developments to come.”