Dr Elisabeth Kendall has been the Mistress of Girton College since October 2022. Previously, she was a Senior Research Fellow in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Pembroke College, Oxford, who passionately believes in research and education making a difference beyond the confines of academia. 

Over the past 10 years, Dr Kendall has undertaken extensive fieldwork in Yemen, researching terrorism and poetry. In the process she has built deep relationships with tribes in the east, including brokering a cross-tribal council to support communities against al-Qa'ida.  She co-founded and now chairs a development NGO in the country, focused on building conflict resilience as well as on education initiatives, such as peacebuilding in schools, teacher-training, and women's literacy. Her research and analysis features regularly in the international media online and in print. 

Earlier in her career, in the wake of  the 9/11 attacks , she served as Director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World, a U.K. government sponsored initiative aimed at building Arabic language-based research expertise focused on jihad and martyrdom.

Alongside her academic career, Dr Kendall has advised and presented to a number of government departments in the UK, Europe, USA and the Middle East, as well as the United Nations agencies, NATO and specialist military and intelligence audiences. She also sits on a variety of international boards and has appeared in over 200 TV and radio broadcasts worldwide.