Kezia Dugdale is to take up a major new role in political life as director of the John Smith Centre for Public Service.

The MSP for the Lothian region will start her new job this summer, with a focus on rebuilding faith in politics.

The John Smith Centre, based at the University of Glasgow, promotes a positive vision for representative politics and public service.

It builds on the legacy of John Smith, running a parliamentary internship programme, advocacy and outreach events, and research into politics and public service.

Ms Dugdale will take the centre in a fresh direction, representing it on the international stage and transforming it into one of the UK’s leading think-tanks.

Her mission will be to rebuild trust and faith in the political process that has become discredited and disrespected in recent years.

Ms Dugdale will also teach students at the university as part of the centre’s work to improve understanding of politics and public service.

Kezia Dugdale said:
“I have devoted my working life to public service, and this is an incredibly exciting new opportunity for me to lead the work of the John Smith Centre.

“Throughout my career I have taken on tough and challenging tasks, and my next task is to help rebuild faith in our politics.

“Disruptive events and the rise of populism has led to increasingly polarised and emotional politics where rational, evidence-based thinking has lost its standing.

“Faith in public service, politics and the political process has to be restored and that progress must be sustainable.

“John Smith said “the opportunity to serve our country – that is all we ask” It will be an honour to build on his legacy and inspire his values of public service in a new generation.”


Kezia Dugdale will continue to serve as Scottish Labour MSP for the Lothian region until July 15th, 2019, when she will formally submit her resignation.

About the centre:

The John Smith Centre for Public Service engages all segments of society in exploring contemporary attitudes, feelings and future intentions with regard to public service, citizenship and engagement.

The Centre also works effectively with relevant charities, community groups and schools to realise shared goals and to raise the profile of its work.

It does this through the following activities:

  • Parliamentary Internship Programme: University of Glasgow students benefit from hands-on learning experiences with MSPs, which reinforces Glasgow’s reputation for producing world leaders and creates an empowering and attractive force for the promotion and advancement of public service.
  • Advocacy and outreach events, for example at the Festival of Politics, Scottish Parliament and University of Glasgow events including academic conferences, high profile public lectures and employability events for students: Public events and community outreach seek to ensure that everyone in society gains a better sense of control and involvement in the way that they are governed.
  • Research into politics and public service: The Centre plays a key role in developing important research and knowledge exchange projects. This takes both academic and non-academic forms.

The Centre sits within the School of Social & Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow. The School includes over 100 academic and research staff and a large community of undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Glasgow is one of the UK’s leading research institutions and is ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide.

Named Scottish University of the Year 2018 by The Times and The Sunday Times Good Universities Guide, the University of Glasgow has an annual research income of more than £180million and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group, which is chaired by Glasgow Principal, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli OBE.

More details can be read here:

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