His Eminence Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, Honorary President of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, has today confirmed the appointments of Lord Nicholas Windsor as Chairman of the Institute, and Mr Ilyas Khan as Vice Chairman.
Confirming these appointments, Cardinal Martino said: “Today, on the day that Catholics celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Dignitatis Humanae Institute is proud to welcome Lord Nicholas Windsor and Ilyas Khan as the respective Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Institute. They will be supporting an established team promoting human dignity around the world, always based on the gentle insistence that Man be recognised as made in the image and likeness of God.”
The Cardinal noted that Lord Nicholas “is already well known at the Holy See as a Corresponding Member at the Pontifical Academy for Life.”
Lord Nicholas made the following statement: “Defending the dignity of all human beings, and especially the innocent unborn, those most at risk, is one of the most important and urgent challenges we face today, but it’s also one of the most delicate. It requires moderation and sensitivity while remaining uncompromising. It means reaching out to those of differing beliefs and opinions through the force of reasoned debate. It’s with this in mind, and with the confidence of a strong case to present, that I will endeavour to carry out my role as chairman. I want also to make a special point also of congratulating the founder of the Institute, Mr Benjamin Harnwell, whose vision and perspicacity over a long period of time have got this magnificent project to where it is today.”
Lord Nicholas concluded: “I am immensely pleased to be joining the Cardinal and my new colleagues at the Institute. I have been genuinely impressed by what I have seen of this organisation since its launch.”
On confirming Ilyas Khan as Vice Chairman, Cardinal Martino said: “It gives me a particular satisfaction to welcome Ilyas as our Vice Chairman.”
“The dedication and conviction with which Ilyas lives the precepts of Catholic Social Teaching is truly admirable, but is in no way surprising: the Catholic Church has been a major influence on him throughout his life. This can be readily seen in the fact that Ilyas has made more of a contribution towards the promotion of Christianity since his formal reception as a Catholic than many achieve in a whole lifetime. This appointment is great news for the Institute, and great news for all those who care about human dignity.”
Nirj Deva MEP, President of the International Committee on Human Dignity in the European Parliament, added: “Ilyas Khan has a worldwide reputation as an entrepreneur and philanthropist. I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to be welcoming someone with his profile as our Vice Chairman. He will be a great asset.”
Ilyas Khan made the following statement: “I am very honoured to be appointed as Vice Chairman of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute. At a time when society’s most vulnerable are under so much attack in legislatures around the world, I offer my wholehearted support to this venture. From my work in disability and for those who are disadvantaged in the margins of society, I recognise how important it is that everyone, regardless of their background or physical abilities, has a right to life from conception until natural death, based on the truth that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. Benjamin Harnwell and his team have built something of lasting value that I am privileged to be joining”
The Cardinal concluded: “I would like to take this moment to thank outgoing Chairman Benjamin Harnwell for his tireless energy and commitment in promoting human dignity. Since founding the Institute just three years ago, he has led it to become what the British politician Lord David Alton recently called ‘the most important organisation promoting human dignity in the world today.’ I have therefore today also invited Ben to accept position of President of the Institute’s Board of Trustees.”
Notes to editors
LORD NICHOLAS WINDSOR
Lord Nicholas, 41, comes to the organization with extensive knowledge and experience of human dignity issues. As patron of the Right to Life Charitable Trust, he has worked with many other respected pro-life leaders in Europe and the United States. He is also patron of Bromley Mind, a mental health charity.
The son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent and first cousin once removed to Queen Elizabeth II, Lord Nicholas was born twelfth in line to the Throne, a claim he forfeited when he was received into the Catholic Church in 2001. He is the first blood member of the British Royal Family to become a Catholic since King Charles II on his deathbed in 1685.
Since his reception into the Church, Lord Nicholas has argued for a broader approach to defending life. He believes Christians should have regard for “every threat to the integrity of human beings, at all stages of their being and in all circumstances.” He has spoken of his concern at the ‘poverty of meaning’ he sees existing in British culture, and at a profound erosion of strong communal values, which he believes has been especially harmful to the poorest in society.
Lord Nicholas and his wife Lady Paola have two young sons.
Ilyas Khan is the Chairman of one of Britain’s largest charities as well as the Chairman and owner of one of Britain’s best known Football Clubs. In addition, he has been described as one of the highest profile converts to Catholicism from Islam in recent times. His path towards Christianity began when he stayed at Netherhall House in 1980, a student hall of residence in Hampstead run by Opus Dei.
Since 2009, he has been Chairman of Leonard Cheshire Disability, the world’s largest charity serving people with disabilities. Founded in 1948 by Leonard Cheshire, a devoted Catholic and RAF Group Captain in the Second World War, the charity works in 54 countries.
A native of Lancashire, England, he is the Senior Partner of Stanhill Capital Partners, a Merchant Banking group with a particular focus on natural resources.
Until 2009, Mr Khan spent 20 years living and working in Hong Kong where he supported a number of charities including the Hong Kong Juvenile Diabetes Association and The Children¹s
Institute (Hong Kong’s first specialised school for autistic children). He is also the founder and publisher of the Asia Literary Review.
In addition to his other commitments, Mr Khan is the Chairman and major shareholder of Accrington Stanley Football Club.
He is married with 2 children and lives in Windlesham, Surrey.