Theologian, Imam and former businessman, Monawar Hussain has been appointed as Oxfordshire’s new High Sheriff at a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace on March 10. He will succeed the current High Sheriff, Mrs Amanda Ponsonby MBE, on April 8.
The office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political royal appointment made by the Queen. While the role dates back to Saxon times, it has evolved to include a mix of ceremonial, charitable and community functions and is voluntary and unfunded. Supporting the crown (for example, attendance at royal visits) and judiciary remain central elements.
Monawar is a Muslim chaplain at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a tutor at Eton College and founded The Oxford Foundation – a charity that promotes religious and racial harmony through educational and arts-based activities. He has also devised, pioneered and successfully steered a unique programme that confronts violent extremist ideology, which has been used to train religious education teachers in the UK.
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Monawar said: “This is a huge honour and I am thrilled to have been appointed by Her Majesty The Queen to a role which dates back nearly 1,300 years.
"Although I won’t be invoking age old powers to tackle lawlessness or raise taxes, I will be seeking to support the judiciary, the police, emergency services and all our communities of faith or no faith, in the county.”
“During this very difficult year, I have witnessed first hand the acts of altruistic kindness, compassion and love, that have been truly inspirational. Fellow citizens from all walks of life – faiths, cultures, professions and communities – have come together looking out for the vulnerable and needy.
"They have also continued to do their duty to keep the wheels of our county in motion, all this despite the personal risk to themselves from this terrible virus.
"I therefore will dedicate my year as High Sheriff to thanking and ‘celebrating Oxfordshire’s heroes’, individuals and voluntary groups, from all walks of life who have made exceptional contributions to their communities all across the county.”
Duties of the High Sheriff include:
- Participating in civic and community events and functions
- Offering encouragement to those who are engaged in supporting the voluntary sector and those most in need.
- Pursuing themes and initiatives, which bring communities together and benefit the social fabric of the county.
- Attending royal visits in the county.
- Ensuring the wellbeing of High Court Judges when in Oxfordshire.