Before joining Peterhouse as its first female Master in 2016, Bridget Kendall spent over 30 years working for the BBC. She began as a graduate trainee in 1983 and became one of the Corporation’s most respected international correspondents. She was BBC Moscow correspondent from 1989 to 1994, covering the final years of the Soviet Union and the first years of post-Soviet Russia. She was BBC Washington correspondent from 1994 to 1998 during the Clinton Presidency. From 1998 to 2016 she held the senior role of BBC Diplomatic correspondent, reporting on major global trends and crises, and analysing their impact on Britain and the world.
As a former Moscow correspondent and Russian speaker, she maintained a particular interest in Russia. Besides witnessing the collapse of the Soviet Union, she covered conflicts in Chechnya, Georgia, Tadjikistan, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Ukraine. Her interviews with international leaders included British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, US President George H Bush, Hillary Clinton, King Abdullah of Jordan, President Yushchenko of Ukraine, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia. She conducted two long interviews with President Vladimir Putin in 2001 and 2006, both broadcast live to the world from inside the Kremlin.
From 2008 she became host of The Forum, the BBC World Service weekly discussion programme to highlight new ideas and research. Her awards include the James Cameron Award for distinguished journalism, a Bronze Sony Reporter of the Year award, a special award for International Reporting from the Political Studies Association and an MBE in the 1994 New Year's Honours list.
In 2020 she was made an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy. She is an Honorary Fellow of two Oxford Colleges, St Antony’s College and Lady Margaret Hall, and has Honorary Degrees from St Andrews University, Exeter University, Birmingham City University and the University of York.
She was elected Master of Peterhouse in 2016. She was appointed a Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge in 2020. She chairs Management Committees for the University’s Centre for Geopolitics and for Kettle’s Yard Museum & Art Gallery. She is on the Board of CRASSH (Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities), and on the Advisory Council for CSaP (Centre for Science and Policy).
She is a former Visiting Professor at Lincoln University and has served on the Advisory Board of Wilton Park, the Board of Asia House and the Council for the Royal United Services Institute.
She was educated at the Perse School for Girls, Cambridge (now The Stephen Perse Foundation). She read Modern Languages at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and then pursued Soviet studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. She spent two years at Moscow and Voronezh State Universities on British Council Scholarships and two years at Harvard USA on a Harkness Fellowship.