DR Diana Owen, former chief executive of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT), has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to culture and tourism.
Diana was chief executive from 2007-2017, leading the financial and strategic transformation of the charity which promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s work, life and times all around the world.
Its world famous Shakespeare family homes in Stratford now attract nearly a million visitors a year. From 1988 to 2007 she worked for the National Trust in senior roles with responsibility for a large number of major properties across South East England. Throughout her long career she has greatly extended the scope of opportunities for people to enjoy and appreciate our nation’s heritage.
Diana said: “I am delighted to receive this honour. Throughout my career it has been a real privilege to work with fantastic colleagues and teams who do so much to conserve and develop our heritage and culture. This award is as much for their efforts as for mine and I hope they will share my pleasure in it.”
SBT chairman Peter Kyle said, “Everyone who has known and worked with Diana will know how passionate she has always been about bringing people together through shared cultural experiences.
“During her decade as our chief executive she led the drive to create more opportunities for people of all ages and background to get up-close and personal with Shakespeare, transforming the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust into the inclusive, participative charity it is today. We offer her our warmest congratulations for this honour which is richly deserved.”
In 2011 Diana received the Yamani Medal in recognition of her partnership initiatives with the Iqbal Academy to improve understanding between the communities of East and West, in the West Midlands and internationally. She has twice received Stratford’s Pride Award, in 2012 and 2018, for her outstanding contribution to life in Stratford for residents and visitors.
Diana is now director-general of the Royal Over-Seas League, a non-profit members’ organisation dedicated to championing international friendship and understanding.