Dr Cotterell holds a BSc in physics, a BD, and a PhD in linguistics from the University of London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Brunel University in recognition of his contribution to Higher Education. He worked for some 24 years in Ethiopia, and was Principal of London School of Theology, and Founding Director of the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology. Peter Cotterell was born in Malta where his father, serving in the Royal Air Force, was stationed. In England he studied as an External Student of London University, firstly for a degree in physics and pure mathematics, and then, at Spurgeon’s Theological College, for a Diploma in Theology.

In 1957 he married Geraldine Brodie, and only five weeks later they set off for a few months in Yemen and then a total of 24 years in Ethiopia. He continued his studies and to his Diploma added a BD degree. Later on, fascinated by the multiplicity of languages in the country, he took a PhD in linguistics. With the Marxist revolution in Ethiopia came many changes, and an unexpected invitation to the London School of Theology, where he lectured for another 24 years, and established the Centre for Islamic Studies. He retired as Principal in 1995 and a year later returned to Ethiopia to begin the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology.

He has written twenty books and contributed numerous articles to learned journals.