Letter from the Warden
It is a privilege to write to you as the Acting Warden of St Antony’s. As many of you will know, Roger is away on sabbatical leave. I have been at the College for thirty years but taking on this role now has brought new revelations – the College and its community never ceases to amaze me. I am delighted to hear of the achievements and activities of so many Antonians. Alongside all your submissions, this issue of The Antonian includes an interview with Christian Roelandts who came to St Antony’s in 1951, as well as a piece about a current student whose journey to Oxford has been anything but ordinary.
Let me first provide you with some news from the College.
One of our strategic priorities is to enhance the student experience at the College and augment our housing stock. We have refurbished one house near the College and will be refurbishing another in Hilary Term, which together will increase our student housing capacity by 10%. We are significantly stepping up our approach to inclusivity by being more explicitly family-friendly in approach, especially with students in mind, and we recently ran our first-ever dedicated EDI training courses for incoming students and staff, with a dedicated session for Governing Body Fellows planned for January 2024.
To play our role in addressing the global climate challenge, we have appointed the College’s first Environmental Sustainability Officer and secured funding from the Low Carbon Skills Fund to produce a decarbonisation plan for our estate by March 2024. This will provide us with a clear set of priorities for investment and a roadmap to ceasing the use of natural gas for heating, cooking and hot water while, also improving insulation and the fabric of our buildings. We are also delighted to have achieved a Gold Green Impact Award in 2023 – huge thanks and congratulations to the St Antony’s Green Impact Team! This year, our high profile Visiting Parliamentary Fellows seminar series, which you are most welcome to attend, focuses on climate change and sustainability. The launch event of this series was live-streamed from COP28 in Dubai earlier this month. Thomas Hale, Professor of Global Public Policy at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government and Fellow of St Antony’s, is coordinating the series together with the Right Honourable Chris Skidmore OBE and Alex Sobel MP.
Last summer, we bade farewell to seven GB fellows, who headed to other institutions: Lenka Bustikova to the University of Florida after a year; Cathryn Costello to University College Dublin after 10 years; Miles Larmer to the University of Florida after 10 years; Simon Quinn to Imperial College after 10 years; Doug Gollin to Tufts University after 11 years; Kalypso Nicolaidis to the European University Institute in Florence after 24 years. The only person, who ‘retired’ – rather than moved to a position elsewhere - from the Governing Body, was Timothy Garton Ash. He came to St Antony’s in 1978 and has hence been a member of the College for 45 years. At the same time, we are delighted to have appointed six new Governing Body Fellows who are joining us during this academic year: Catherine Briddick (Andrew W Mellon Associate Professor of International Human Rights and Refugee Law), Federica Genovese (Associate Professor in the International Relations and/or Politics of the European Union), Raihan Ismail (His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor in Contemporary Islamic Studies), Amir Lebidoui (Associate Professor in Political Economy of Development), Jonathan Lusthaus (Associate Professor in Global Sociology), Michael Rochlitz (Associate Professor in Economies of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia). Sadly, two Emeritus Fellows passed away. Malcolm Deas and Mark Elvin made path-breaking contributions to Latin American and Chinese Studies, respectively. Malcolm was a fellow of the College from 1966 to 2008 and Mark from 1973 to 1989.
As you know, we launched the DAC scholarship programme last year, to which many of you have already given generously. We are proud of being an amazingly international College and want to do all we can to maintain and enhance the wonderful diversity of our student body, but this is increasingly challenging. At a time when inequality across the world is growing and has reached a level similar to that of the early 20th century, according to the World Inequalities Report of 2022, an Oxford education is simply out of the reach of many excellent students, particularly from the Global South. It is truly demoralising every year that outstanding students to whom we offer admission fail to turn up for lack of funding. Scholarships transform lives, but equally importantly, these students immeasurably enrich the academic and social life of the College. I am delighted to report that our DAC Scholarship campaign has got off to a flying start. Next year, in collaboration with other funders such as the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Trust, we will be able to fund five students who did their first degrees in Development Assisted Countries and won places on graduate courses in Oxford but who would not otherwise have been able to take up those places. As ever, we are grateful for the ongoing generosity of the Antonian community to ensure that St Antony’s takes the best students from across the world, regardless of their financial situation.
This year started on a high note with a Gaudy in mid-September for those who matriculated at St Antony’s in the 1990s. We welcomed around 160 alumni for a weekend of talks, music, eating and reminiscing. We have also recently held Antonian events in various parts of the world – amongst others in London, New York, Tokyo, and Washington DC - and we look forward to welcoming you in spring at events in Hong Kong, Seoul, and Singapore.
We hope to see many of you back at the College whenever you get the chance. Please do not forget that you all have an allowance of one free High Table a year for life. For all the details and if you would like to take it up, please follow this link. A good opportunity is to combine High Table with attending one of the seminars of the Visiting Parliamentary Fellowship series. Dates will be announced in the New Year for the seminars on the topic of Climate and Sustainability.
You can follow the College on our social media channels but please also take a look at our new website that was launched last week.
I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere sympathy and solidarity for those Antonians in the Middle East and other places, who have been directly, and sometimes tragically, affected this year by conflict, violence, humanitarian crisis and climate disasters.
With the year 2023 coming to an end, I wish you all the very best for a healthy and productive 2024 and sincerely hope that the New Year brings peace and stability.
Professor Nandini Gooptu, Acting Warden 2023-24
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