VCs, scholars, MPs join ACU to celebrate Centenary

VCs, scholars, MPs join ACU to celebrate Centenary

Published on 11 June 2013

Vice-Chancellors representing 15 ACU member universities joined current Chevening and Commonwealth scholars in meeting with members of the House of Lords and Commons to celebrate the ACU’s Centenary at a reception hosted at Speaker’s House by the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow.

The event was attended by the Rt Hon David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, who used his keynote speech to encourage greater global collaboration in addressing global challenges: ‘Thinking of the great challenges facing the world, none of them can be tackled by one country on its own, nor by one intellectual discipline on its own. We have to share ideas, we have to work together, we have to exchange students and scholars and that is what this great association stands for.

‘When I try to think of an organisation that harnesses the intellectual resources of a range of different countries, with different cultural traditions, and with different views of the world yet with a deep desire to cooperate and work together, I cannot think of anything better than the ACU. We look forward to it flourishing in its second century.’

Former Minister for Higher Education, Rt Hon David Lammy, having revealed his own familial connections to different parts of the Commonwealth, emphasised the importance of scholarships in helping to strengthen old connections and establish new ones: ‘All across the Commonwealth, the power that our universities possess to come up with the ideas that are going to help mankind progress from this point forward is hugely important. The scholarships in particular are something that we should cherish and hold dear… and I'm very delighted to have been a Universities Minister who supported this wonderful association.’

Current Chevening scholar, Bogolo Kenewendo from Botswana, echoed David Lammy's sentiments adding: 'Not only has my Chevening scholarship provided me with the opportunity to study in one of the world's best universities, it has also provided me with life-long memories, memories formed - both on and off campus - through learning, networking and socialising with some of the world's greatest minds.'

Rt Hon John Bercow cited the impact higher education had had on him, describing his time at the University of Essex as a ‘formative experience’ and encouraged the attendees for turning out in support of the ACU.

Michael Sippitt, Chairman of Clarkslegal LLP (also celebrating their centenary year), presented the ACU with a cheque towards the ACU’s Second Century Campaign, which will officially launch at the ACU Centenary Conference and will support student and academic mobility. Speaking of the campaign, Professor John Wood, Secretary General of the ACU said: ‘As the ACU turns 100 we want to do more to encourage young academics when they return home. Too often when people go return home after doing their PhDs here or elsewhere they can feel intellectually stifled. Through this fund, we are working to address this.”

The Centenary Reception serves as a precursor to the ACU Centenary Conference which will take place at Senate House, London, between 16-18 October 2013.

A few photos from the event appear in a photoset on our Flickr page: