She will chair The Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo), based at Coventry University, which has been given the job by government of helping local councils, police and other services deal with both the traditional and new forms of tension.
iCoCo head Ted Cantle said: 'Oona King has worked in and with multicultural communities, so has first hand experience of both the positive aspects and the tensions that can exist. Her background and experience of campaigning on poverty and social integration will set her in good stead in her new role.
'Our ambition is to put community cohesion in the mainstream operations of central and local government. Only by making it a part of daily life will we build genuinely cohesive communities.
'Although Muslim extremism and terrorism are issues that need to be addressed, they are not the only problems that need to be tackled to help make a diverse society more cohesive. For example, the rise of racialised gangs in urban areas, and the tensions between migrant workers and local residents in rural areas also need to be challenge.'