Karen Armstrong is one of the world's leading commentators on religious affairs. She spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun in the 1960s, and then read English at St Anne's College, Oxford. In 1982, she became a full-time writer and broadcaster. Her books include A History of God, The Bible: A Biography, The Case for God and, most recently, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. Armstrong has addressed members of the United States Congress, has participated in the World Economic Forum and, in 2005, was appointed by Kofi Annan to join the High Level Group of the United Nations initiative 'The Alliance of Civilizations'. In 2008 she was awarded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal and, in the same year, won the TED prize. In 2013 she received the British Academy's inaugural Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for improving Transcultural Understanding.