Rowan Williams (1950–) was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion and the Church of England, a Protestant Christian denomination. He has also been a successful Anglican academic theologian and is a published poet.
Williams was born in Swansea, Wales, to Aneurin and Delphine Williams, a Welsh-speaking middle class family who sent him to Swansea's Dynevor School. He then went on to study theology at Christ's College, University of Cambridge, and completed a D.Phil degree in the theology of Vladimir Lossky, a Russian theologian. From 1977 onwards, he worked as an academic theologian at Cambridge and was elected to be a member of the British Academy in 1990.
Williams was elected to be the Bishop of Monmouth in 1991, and then became the Archbishop of Wales in 1999. He was selected to be the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002 by Tony Blair and took his place in 2003, replacing the Thatcher-appointed George Carey. Williams was endorsed by Desmond Tutu, the former South African primate and anti-apartheid campaigner.
Politically, Williams has generally espoused liberal and progressive views including support for the Robin Hood Tax, commitment on the part of the church to social justice, interfaith dialogue, and has made statements in support of ordination of gay priests and bishops, against the Iraq War,, against school league tables and the efforts by marketers and corporations like Disney to turn children into consumers.
He is now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.