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News > School News > Emily Middleton (2008) returns to King's for Founders' Day 2024

Emily Middleton (2008) returns to King's for Founders' Day 2024

19 Apr 2024
Written by Debbie Dawson
School News

Brilliant former King’s pupil Emily Middleton (Class of 2008) told the present generation “to find and build your own teams, to stand up for others and to enjoy the journey,” as she gave the guest speech at our King's Founders' Day Service 2024.

A straight A student at King's, with a first class degree from Oxford and a masters from Harvard, at the age of just 34, Emily now travels the world as a partner in the ground-breaking London based company 'Public Digital'. At the heart of empowering regional and national governments worldwide to set up digital data units to improve service delivery and policy making, Emily is at the forefront of positive change. "What is more” she said, “It all started at King's."

"I've pitched to the CEO and the Board of the largest bank in Indonesia, when I was the only woman in the room and I've presented to hundreds of finance ministers and senior government officials in Vienna."

"It wasn't just my academic studies at King’s but, more importantly, it was my experiences outside the classroom that made me able to put myself in those intimidating situations." Emily always had a go at everything at School: "I was in many teams, in plays, in talent shows, in the annual gym competition and in bands. Sometimes I was the captain or the lead. Just as often I was a team player."

She featured regularly in the local press: At the age of nine raising £150 for Kosovo with a series of lunch time cake sales; representing King's in the European Youth Parliament's debating finals and, perhaps, most remarkably, winning a national poetry competition and reciting her work on Radio 4.

However, it was organising and completing her World Challenge expedition to Bolivia at the age of just 17, volunteering for the National Children's Bureau, Amnesty International and Unicef and competing her Duke of Edinburgh Awards that saw her find her true direction.

Now she is a global digital government expert. "Public Digital works with United Nations agencies, the World Bank and governments around the world to improve public services through digital technologies. In this team, there are software developers, designers, product specialists and strategists. It is this diversity of background, being and thought, that makes that team so powerful."

Alongside that commercial role, Emily has continued her charitable work, which she promises will be 'a lifelong commitment.'

"I'm currently on the Board of Plan International UK, a charity that focuses on children's rights and equality for girls. More than 70% of women and girls in the U.K. have experienced cat calling, stalking, groping and other abuse simply walking along the street. "So I was especially proud when Plan International, with a grassroots charity Our Streets Now, succeeded last September in making public sexual harassment illegal in the UK.

Returning to King's to help celebrate the School’s founding in 1502, she was greeted with great affection by so many people who will always remember her.

King’s Head, Jason Slack, said: "Emily was before my time, but I've heard so much about her as a child and as a young woman from my colleagues. She is clearly much loved and admired and we are extraordinarily proud to call her one of our own."

To watch Emily's address from 2024, please click here.

We are delighted to be joined by fomer pupils at our Founders' Day each year, if you would like to find out more or be involved please email

The addresses from Professor Sir Stephen Holgate, CBE 2023 (1964) and Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, CBE from 2022 are available below:
Professor Sir Stephen Holgate, CBE - 2023
Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, CBE - 2022


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