All entries for Thursday 24 March 2016

March 24, 2016

The Indonesia–UK Scholars' Network

Only a week ago, Warwick’s Czech and Slovak Society hosted the Slovak Ambassador, H.E. L’ubomír Rehák, to hold a discussion about Slovak and EU foreign policy. This visit, one in a recent line of Ambassadors visiting our campus, including visits from the Mexican, Maltese and Hungarian Ambassadors, was an important event as in the Summer, Slovakia is due to take up the EU Presidency.

indonedia_network.jpgLast week, I attended the Warwick Indonesia Forum 2016. Organised and run entirely by our Indonesian students, the Forum hosted 430 Scholars, across 37 nationalities, who spent the whole day strengthening their academic networks across the UK, discussing how they could create new collaborations. It was a day that was planned meticulously, in which we were able to launch the Indonesia-UK Scholars' Network – a new platform for academic collaboration, again entirely developed by our students. And once again, we were delighted to host the Indonesian Ambassador, H.E. Rizal Sukma, who has made his second appearance in Warwick in the three weeks of his appointment.

The Ambassadors’ support of our students shows just how they value what our students do. In the days of social media and limitless communication, the sky is the limit to what they can achieve: and our students’ ability to galvanise hundreds of scholars is a case in point. Our students represent amazing cultural capital, each one an ambassador of their country in their individual way. The fact that this will be part of an internationally trained new generation, which will contribute to their countries in ways we cannot even begin to imagine, is as evident as it is important.

As the UK debate about membership of the EU becomes ever more dominant in the public domain, only last week our Senate resolved to support staying in the EU on academic grounds, it is worth remembering how important our international communities are to who we have become. How much they add to our culture, within our universities and beyond. We see this through the diverse number of societies we have on campus and how our international students enrich the campus experience for all.

It raises an important challenge for us within universities. We have an incredibly diverse international community, but how can we best celebrate this enormous energy? We’re open to doing things differently and trying on new things, but to continue to progress we need to keep asking questions like this, and to challenge ourselves further.

Professor Jan Palmowski, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Postgraduate and Transnational Education

March 2016

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