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'Unusual' Owen's skill is unparalleled in RIBA race

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I know all the RIBA presidential candidates personally, and your article on the candidates (AJ 20.5.04) was at best subjective, and at worst biased. In Valerie Owen's case it was downright prejudiced. Comments such as Owen is 'unusual - not just because she is a woman' reflect the type of closed, inward-looking attitudes that restrict access to the architectural profession for a whole raft of talented and truly exceptional individuals.

Owen is unusual. Her career spans from small practice to large; from conservation to commerce; from local to international; from profession to politics. She is multidisciplinary, being qualified as a surveyor and a planner, as well as an architect, and has a breadth of skill that is unparalleled in any presidential candidate - including me!

The institute will be lucky to have Owen as its president. Of the four people who addressed the Manchester meeting of presidential hopefuls prior to the RIBA Council Meeting at Manchester Town Hall, she gets my vote hands down, and deserves the AJ's full support.

Rod Hackney, Macclesfield

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