Mr Akaash Maharaj
Alumni 1990, St Edmund Hall College
Akaash Maharaj is Executive Director of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), an international alliance of democratically-elected parliamentarians, working together to combat corruption, strengthen good government, and uphold the rule of law. GOPAC has 50 national chapters across the world.
He matriculated at St Edmund Hall in 1990, where he read PPE. Born and raised in Canada, he was the first-ever overseas student to be elected President of the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU).
Akaash credits his academic and practical experience of politics at Oxford for his deeply held if deeply unfashionable conviction that there can be both honour and nobility in public service.
He spent much of his year as OUSU President combatting government proposals to limit the ability of student unions to comment on national affairs. In this effort, he worked closely with Isaiah Berlin, his Senior Member Advisor, and with Roy Jenkins, then Oxford Chancellor and Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. In the end, the government bill was fundamentally redrafted after its hostile reception in the House of Lords, and the Secretary of State for Education was later dismissed from Cabinet.
At GOPAC, Akaash is leading global parliamentary efforts to employ international law and international institutions to bring the perpetrators of the worst cases of corruption to justice. At the most recent Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, the Forum of Parliamentarians unanimously endorsed his proposal to treat such offences as Crimes Against Humanity.
Akaashs articles have been published by newspapers in every populated continent, and he has appeared as a regular broadcast essayist with TVOs The Agenda. Macleans magazine named him as one of Canadas 50 most well known and respected personalities.
Outside of his professional life, he is an international athlete, and was a triple gold medallist at the International Championships of Equestrian SkillatArms. He also led the Canadian Equestrian Team and federation as CEO during the teams most successful Olympics, Paralympics, and World Equestrian Games of all time.
He has been decorated twice in Canadas national honours, for his work on peace in the Middle East and for his service to the integrity of international sport.
An active volunteer, he has taught adult literacy, has served as a director on a range of international development and local community boards, and has been particularly involved with UNICEFs efforts on childhood and maternal welfare.
Akaashs personal web site is www.Maharaj.org.