Director ‘touched’ by award in New Year’s Honours list

Andrew Barnett

Andrew Barnett, director of the UK Branch of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, has been awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours list. The citation described Andrew’s contribution as being for ‘social change’. A number of respected colleagues have also been awarded honours.


In his thirteen years as director, the UK Branch has championed a collaborative approach to addressing some of society’s complex challenges bringing together coalitions able to think and act. Over this time, the Foundation has played a major role in the establishment of the Marine CoLAB, the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) Coalition, the Campaign to End Loneliness and the international arts and homelessness movement, Arts and Homelessness International. Andrew was himself a founding director of the international Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) reflecting the UK Branch’s continuing ambition for impact which ‘benefits all humanity’ within and beyond the UK.

Andrew said: “I’m surprised and touched; really. More than that is the privilege of working for a Foundation which gives me as well as the team the means and the tools to help address some of the difficult problems facing society which we can only do with our partners and colleagues.”

He added: “We are encouraged by the response of arts organisations to the pandemic during this most difficult of years and which we can celebrate when we announce winners of the Civic Arts Award early next year. This shows many arts organisations are thinking about their civic role – how they serve their communities – a cause we have championed for some years now. We are also looking forward to building on seven years’ work on ocean conservation contributing to addressing climate change by focusing on all important public engagement.”

Beyond his work at the Foundation, Andrew was until recently the senior independent member of Healthwatch England, the statutory national consumer champion in health and social care, which he served as a board member for eight years. He is also a trustee of the Association of Charitable Foundations and chair of the Church Urban Fund, which promotes faith-based social action and community cohesion across England.

Others also awarded honours in this year’s list include his peers, Dame Caroline Mason DBE and Moira Sinclair OBE, who lead the Esmée Fairbairn and the Paul Hamlyn Foundations. Carol Mack, chief executive, and Fozia Irfan, trustee, of the Association of Charitable Foundations receive OBEs. Laura Alcock-Ferguson and Anna Dixon, with whom the Foundation has worked in helping to address loneliness in later life, both receive MBEs as does Lizzie Crump, who leads What Next? a partner in the Foundation’s work on the arts. We congratulate them all.


31 December 2020

Updated on 04 january 2022

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