Decorated humanitarian to speak in Cambridge

Published: 25 February 2015 at 12:07

Anglia Ruskin University welcomes nurse who inspired Geldof to set up Band Aid.

Dame Claire Bertschinger, the nurse and humanitarian whose work in Ethiopia in the 1980s inspired Bob Geldof to set up Band Aid, is to give a free talk at Anglia Ruskin University.

As a nurse and humanitarian working in the famine-hit African state for the International Red Cross in the 1980s, Dame Claire was first brought to the attention of the western world by BBC’s Michael Buerk. Her work inspired singer Bob Geldof to set up Band Aid to try and raise money to help the poverty-stricken population.

Dame Claire was given Woman of the Year Window to the World award in 2005 and received the Florence Nightingale Medal in 1991. In 1985, she received the Bish Medal from the Scientific Exploration Society. In 2010, she was honoured as Dame Commander of British Empire by the Queen for services to nursing and international humanitarian aid.

She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from six UK universities, including Anglia Ruskin, and now works at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as the Director for the Diploma in Tropical Nursing. She first became associated with Anglia Ruskin during the Essex SGI-UK Buddhists Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Builders Exhibition in 2012.

In 2005, Dame Claire published her biography, Moving Mountains.

Her talk will take place in the Lord Ashcroft Building at Anglia Ruskin’s East Road campus at 6pm on Friday, 6 March. The talk is being put on to mark International Women’s Day.

Miriam Berg, Community Engagement Officer for Anglia Ruskin University, said: 

“Dame Claire’s humanitarian and academic background makes her a fascinating woman. During her life she has worked tirelessly for others and has inspired so many. We are only too pleased to welcome her to Anglia Ruskin to share her experiences and give her the chance to inspire the community.”

Tickets are free and can be booked by visiting or e-mailing