University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies

Department of Geography

University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies

Frankopan Directorship

Outstanding Gift for a Director of Gender Studies

Jessica and Peter Frankopan of the Staples Trust have given a major benefaction to fund a Director for the increasingly influential Centre for Gender Studies at Cambridge. The gift closely reflects the priorities of the husband-wife trustees; their Staples Trust, one of the Sainsbury family charitable trusts, addresses pioneering schemes to do with overseas development, the environment and gender issues.

The generous gift secures the first permanent post of its kind at Cambridge. It will be called the Frankopan Director of Gender Studies in the couple's honour.

'We are delighted to have ensured the long-term future of Gender Studies at Cambridge,' said Peter and Jessica Frankopan. 'The Centre has been home to outstanding and inspirational scholarship that must continue to flourish.'

The University's Centre for Gender Studies has produced innovative multi-disciplinary gender research since its creation 11 years ago. It is regarded as one of the world's leading networks of international thinkers in a field deemed fundamental to understanding human experience. The Centre, situated within the University's School of Physical Sciences, attracts a wealth of world-class scholars and tackles key issues ranging from global development to the impact of biomedical advances.

'Understanding how gender works in the world is a demanding analytical task, and a subject that is still in the early stages of development,' said Professor Juliet Mitchell, Founder of the Centre. 'Jessica and Peter Frankopan's support gives permanence to our cutting-edge research and teaching, further establishing the University's leading role in this vibrant and essential field of study.'

The first Frankopan Director of Gender Studies, taking up the post in October 2008, is Dr Jude Browne, an authority on gender, equality and the modern labour market. Formerly Executive Director of the Centre, Dr Browne returns to Cambridge from the Sociology Department of Warwick University.

The Frankopan commitment to academic excellence

Peter and Jessica Frankopan are both graduates of the University, and their involvement with the Centre and academia as a whole has been extensive. Remarkably loyal alumni of Cambridge since graduating from Jesus College in the early 1990s, the Frankopans have provided a variety of grants for University and College initiatives, and hosted the University's Gender Studies development meetings in London.

Peter Frankopan, a specialist in the history of the Byzantine Empire, took a First Class degree in History at Cambridge. He did his PhD at Oxford, where he was Senior Scholar at Corpus Christi College, and a Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College. Jessica Frankopan read Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge, before taking an MSc at the London School of Economics. She worked initially in International Development, and is author of the gender study 'The New Inequality'.

They are the founders of A Curious Group of Hotels, which includes Cowley Manor, L'Hôtel in Paris and the newly Michelin starred Le Restaurant.