Veteran journalist honoured at graduation ceremony

Allan Little receives honorary degree of Doctor of Arts

Date posted

1 November 2018


Acclaimed foreign correspondent Allan Little has received an Honorary Doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University.

The veteran journalist has covered wars, revolutions, natural disasters and referendums in a career which has taken him to more than 80 countries.

Little made his mark reporting the revolutions which swept through Eastern Europe in 1989, before going on to cover the 1991 Gulf War from Baghdad, and the brutal break-up of Yugoslavia.

He reported on the Siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre, and co-wrote a definitive history of events in the book, The Death of Yugoslavia.

Little, 59, also served as a BBC correspondent in Johannesburg during Nelson Mandela’s presidency, and in Moscow and Paris, before being made a special correspondent, a role which saw him lead coverage of the run-up to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

The awards he has collected for his journalism include a Gold Sony Radio Award for Reporter of the Year in 1992, Amnesty International Reporter of the Year the same year and the Bayeux-Calvados Radio War Correspondent of the Year in 1994.  

Little, who is married to broadcaster Sheena McDonald, left the BBC in 2014. Since then he has continued to freelance for the corporation, and the following year he became chair of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Today, in recognition of his contribution to broadcasting, he joined hundreds of students at a ceremony in the Usher Hall to receive the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts.  He said: “I am thrilled and very humbled to receive this honour from Edinburgh Napier University, a university that does so much to nurture future generations of journalists and to uphold standards in the industry at a time when the values of honesty, fairness and the pursuit of truth are more vital than they’ve been at any time in my working life.”

Also honoured by the university today was chartered engineer Mark Naysmith, who received an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering.

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “It is both a pleasure and a privilege to see people who have made such an outstanding impact in their own fields participating in our celebrations and encouraging our students to be ambitious for themselves, their communities and beyond as they develop their careers.”