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Clare Algar

Photograph of Clare Algar

“The law I learned at Caius is woven through my life, and while I don't know if I ever imagined then being where I am now, I can look back along the line of my life and see the tracks.”
Clare Algar (1993 Law), Global Operations Director at Amnesty International

I came to Caius in 1993, which means that the College had been admitting women for a grand total of fourteen years. My older sister and I were the first generation of women in our family to receive university degrees. It is, in retrospect, a ridiculous distinction, and one I hardly considered at the time. Think about it: am I seriously saying that in my mother's generation it just wasn't the thing for women to do? Yes. Yes, I am.

I left Caius and went to work in New Orleans for the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center. For a year, I visited death row inmates, interviewed witnesses, and listened to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I came back to London and worked as a corporate lawyer until Bill Kristol's infuriating televised contributions at the beginning of the war on terror drove me to become executive director of Reprieve, the legal action charity which secured the release of more inmates from Guantánamo Bay than any other single organisation, and more recently has shut down the death penalty in several US states.

I left to work with disadvantaged kids in London, and went from there to Amnesty, where I'm Global Operations Director (they gave me the job before spotting the acronym and now I won't let them change it). I recently gave evidence in the Dutch parliament about the rule of law in Hungary and Poland and also asked the Danish government to change the country’s rape law. The law I learned at Caius is woven through my life, and while I don't know if I ever imagined then being where I am now, I can look back along the line of my life and see the tracks.