Catherine Arnold OBE elected the next Master of St Edmund’s College.


The Governing Body of St Edmund’s College has elected Catherine Arnold OBE to be its next Master from 1 October, to succeed Mr Matthew Bullock. She will be the 15th Master of the College and the first woman to hold that office.

Catherine Arnold OBE has had a distinguished international career in the diplomatic service. She joins St Edmund’s from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As Ambassador to Mongolia until February 2018, Catherine championed stronger economic, political, cultural and educational links with the UK. She particularly enjoyed working with young adults and was regularly asked to speak to leadership and personal development programmes. Catherine was awarded an OBE for services to British foreign policy in the 2019 New Year Honours.

On her appointment, Catherine said: ‘I am delighted to be returning to Cambridge and to joining St Edmund’s College. I have already been struck by the warmth of the community and the welcoming environment that has made St Edmund’s one of the most international colleges in Cambridge. This is an exciting time for St Edmund’s, with the opening of the Mount Pleasant Halls in time for Michaelmas Term. I look forward to working with the whole college community to foster and promote inclusion, support and excellence at St Edmund’s, as we take the College to the next stage in its development.’

Catherine’s FCO career has also seen her serve in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Oman. She has led on a range of issues including human rights, counter terrorism, trade, and public affairs, most recently leading an FCO Unit delivering the 2018 London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade. Prior to joining the FCO, Catherine was a journalist and travel writer in the Middle East. Her career started with leading global management consulting firm, Oliver Wyman.

Catherine was born in South Korea and went to school in Asia and the UK. She was an undergraduate and postgraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge, where she studied Mathematics and Theology, receiving a First, an MPhil in the Philosophy of Religion, and was a Research, Senior and Choral Scholar. She also holds an MA in Religious Conflict from the University of Nottingham and has attended the Higher Command and Staff Course at the UK Defence Academy.

Catherine will join the College community as Master Elect in September 2019, and take up the office of Master on 1 October.

The Vice-Master of St Edmund’s College, Dr Philip McCosker, says: ‘I am delighted with this appointment. Having met with Catherine several times over the last several months, I have been consistently impressed by her clarity of vision, her communication skills, her candour and her charisma. I greatly look forward to working with Catherine in the next phase of our College’s life.’