Baroness King of Bow
In July 2016, Oona King was appointed YouTube’s Global Director of Diversity, after several years as Head of Diversity for Channel 4.
Until January 2009, Oona was Senior Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister on Equalities, Diversity and Faith. Oona is Chair of the Institute for Community Cohesion (iCoCo), Founding Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Genocide Prevention in the House of Commons; and Chair of Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, a £30m project which seeks to bring different communities together through art.
Oona has written for papers including The Guardian, New Statesman, Sunday Telegraph, Express and Observer, and is a presenter for television and radio documentaries. Oona’s book about her time in the House of Commons, ‘House Music – The Oona King Diaries’ was published in September 2007 by Bloomsbury, and nominated for the Channel 4 Political Awards ‘Political Book of the Year’ 2008. Oona’s most recent documentary on the life of Martin Luther King was broadcast in April 2008 on BBC Two. Oona’s role as a television presenter includes work for Channel 4 (The Last Word), BBC One (The Struggles I’ve Seen), and Sky News (News reporter and commentator 2005-07).
Oona was MP for Bethnal Green & Bow from 1997- 2005, became PPS to the Cabinet Minister for Trade & Industry, and was previously PPS to the Minister for e-Commerce. Oona was appointed to two Select Committees (International Development and Urban Affairs). Other roles included Vice-Chair of the British Council (1998-2002), Chair of the All-Party Group on Business Services (1998-2001), Vice-Chair of London Labour MPs (1997-2005), and Treasurer of Friends of Islam (2001-2005). Oona changed the law in five areas, including housing policy and equalities policy. The work of her All Party Group on peace-keeping was commended by the UN Security Council’s Expert Panel.
Before being elected an MP at 29, Oona was a Trade Union organiser representing low-paid workers, and spent 5 years as a researcher at the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg. Oona gained a 1st class politics degree from York University (1990), and a scholarship to Berkeley. Oona’s father is African-American from Georgia and her mother is from Newcastle, from a Jewish family with roots in Hungary, Scotland and Ireland. Oona married Tiberio Santomarco in Naples in 1994. In her spare time, Oona enjoys cinema, dance music (in particular house music), cooking, history, and walking in Mile End Park. Oona speaks French and Italian, and a little Bengali.
In 2013 Oona fulfilled a lifelong dream of skating with Torvill and Dean when she took part in ITV’s Dancing on Ice.
Oona now lives in America with her Italian husband and four children.