Lord Robert Cecil

Edgar Algernon Robert Gasgoyne-Cecil,
1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood 1864–1958
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937

  • UK lawyer, politician and diplomat
  • Chancellor of the University of Birmingham 1918–1944

One of the architects and greatest supporters of the League of Nations, later to become the United Nations, Lord Robert Cecil –

  • Circulated a memorandum making proposals for the avoidance of war in 1916 – the first document from which sprang British official support for the League of Nations
  • Represented Britain at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, in charge of negotiations for a League of Nations
  • Devoted much of his public life to the League and supported international efforts for peace through his honorary life presidency of the United Nations Association

He studied law at University College, Oxford, where he became a well known debater. In 1887, he was admitted to the Bar, allowing him to practice as a barrister. From 1887–1906, he practised civil law, and on 15 June 1899, was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel. He also collaborated in writing a book entitled Principles of Commercial Law.

At the 1906 general election, Cecil was elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament representing Marylebone East.

In 1911 he won a by-election in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, as an Independent Conservative and served as its MP until 1923. When the Conservatives returned to power at the October 1924 general election, Cecil became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

He is not just an important figure for the University of Birmingham, but his life and work had significant global impact, resonating to this day.