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John and Elnora Ferguson

John and Elnora Ferguson had a long history of association with the Department of Peace Studies, going back to its founding in the mid 1970s, which culminated in a donation in 2005 to the Department to establish the John Ferguson Chair in African Studies.

Elnora and John met in Cambridge in the late 1940s, and married in 1950. Together, as committed Quakers, they dedicated their lives to the struggle for peace, development, and freedom, in particular in Africa, focusing much of their energies on education as a key pathway to these goals. This work began in earnest in 1956 in Nigeria, when Elnora established one of the country's first girls sixth-form colleges, and included being banned from South Africa for work there promoting social and political equality. In the early 1970s, John and Elnora returned to the UK at which point they played a small, but significant, role in the establishment, through a Quaker grant, of the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford. John Ferguson then served as the Department's first external examiner at a time when many doubted that Peace Studies had a future, and John helped steer the Department through some difficult years. Trained in economics and statistics, and with a sharp and direct style, Elnora worked tirelessly through the 1980s and 1990s on a range of charitable and voluntary projects, many with an African focus, shaped by her strong faith. Elnora was a director of the family publishing business Taylor and Francis, which in turn funded the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Foundation. Following John's death in 1989, Elnora redoubled her efforts to promote peace and development and used her considerable fortune very generously to that end.