Saturday, June 25, 2016

Visiting Fellows 50th Anniversary Celebration at All Souls College at Oxford University

Yesterday was a truly a historic day in Britain. We woke up in Oxford, England to brilliant sunshine and then were shocked with the news that Britain  had voted to leave the European Union, so Brexit had become a reality.  Living now in a college town - that of Oxford - where intellectual freedom and the movement of ideas and people are essential to research and innovation - the news was shocking and stunning.The repercussions are reverberating around the world.

Yesterday was also the day that we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Visiting Fellowships Program at All Souls College at Oxford University. I am now a Visiting Fellow (VF) at All Souls College for the Trinity term. I had received an invitation to attend this full day of celebrations while I was in Amherst months ago and was thrilled to take part yesterday and my husband did as well.

The program is below.
We began with registration and a welcome by the Warden, Sir John Vickers, who is an economist.

Mr. Edward Mortimer, who is a Fellow at All Souls College, provided us with background and the history of the Visiting Fellowship Program, which began in 1966 with the college deciding on November 6, 1965 to admit Visiting Fellows. All Souls College is a unique college at Oxford University in that it does not admit undergraduates.
Edward Mortimer, whom I have mentioned in my blog before, worked at the United Nations and wrote speeches for the former Secretary general, Kofi Annan.

I was delighted to hear Sir John Vickers say that we were celebrating "one of the best things that has happened to All Souls College." He said that the VF Program provides internationalization of the college and to-date there have been 800 Visiting Fellows from 40 different countries. The first female Visiting Fellow Dr. Janet Morgan, now known as Lady Balfour of Burleigh, was a VF in 1982, while she was also studying the BBC, upon the invitation of the PM,  spoke yesterday morning and I was delighted to see her.

 I also very much enjoyed hearing Sir Roger Braithwaite, who is an expert on negotiating with Russians, and is featured in the photo below. He was UK's ambassador to Russia and also its representative at the embassy in the US where he focused on commercial policy and was very successful.
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the first Visiting Fellows were invited.

About 130 Visiting Fellows attended the celebration yesterday.
After the morning session we were treated to a delicious lunch in our elegant Codrington Library.

The menu is below.
Then it was time for tea and coffee before additional panels ands sessions followed by tea and a concert!
I enjoyed meeting former VFs from Berkeley and Illinois and was thrilled to see Professor Carol Heim of the Economics department at UMass Amherst, who had been a VF at Oxford a few years ago.
 Many thanks to Sir John Vickers and to the Dean of Visiting Fellows, Professor Simon Hornblower, for such a pleasant and very memorable celebration of the the great Visiting Fellowship Program at All Souls College Many thanks also to the staff for the exquisite hospitality, food, and organization.

It has been a marvelous experience being a Visiting Fellow at Oxford and the support, intellectual freedom, fellowship with our Fellows, have all been extraordinary. All Souls College is a unique institution and very special.