Oxford, 27 January 2022: Eight Ramsay Postgraduate Scholars based at the University of Oxford had the special opportunity to meet with its Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, at a welcome afternoon tea she hosted in their honour.
Professor Richardson spoke with the scholars about their study aspirations and how they could make the most of the incredible opportunities the University offers. She and the scholars also discussed a wide range of current topics ranging from COVID to freedom of speech to the role of universities in society today.
Rohan Watt, who is using his Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship to study a Doctorate in Philosophy in International Relations at Oxford, wrote this reflection on the meeting:
University of Oxford Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson hosted the first Ramsay Postgraduate Scholars for tea in her rooms in the Clarendon Building. We were delighted to spend an hour or so talking about making the most of our time in Oxford, what we thought of our experience so far, and how the University’s teaching and learning differed from our experiences back in Australia. We talked about our experiences and challenges in choosing to travel abroad for postgraduate study, and how Australians can often only do so with the support of scholarships.
The other Oxford-based Scholars and I were also very impressed with the Vice-Chancellor’s candour in sharing her views about challenges to academic freedom today, and how Oxford tries to encourage open and honest debate on difficult topics. We discussed in detail Oxford’s efforts to deal with issues like foreign interference, academic freedom, and student safety, and the place of universities in the modern world.
We also had a chance to discuss the impact universities can have on broader society. Most notably, we talked about the impact the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is having around the world in addressing the ongoing pandemic. It was so interesting to hear about the early days of the vaccine programme, especially how proactive Oxford academics were in creating a vaccine, and the politics around its use that followed.
It was such a privilege to spend time chatting with the Vice-Chancellor, both from the perspective of hearing about her role leading a world-leading institution, but also as an academic who through her work also sparked my interest in terrorism studies in undergrad and, through that, my focus on regulating conflict in international law in my DPhil. It was a full-circle moment.
Our visit with the Vice-Chancellor follows a fantastic week of events with other UK-based Ramsay Postgraduate Scholars who visited us in Oxford. Studying here is a huge privilege, and life as a Ramsay Scholar has managed to elevate the experience even further.
The eight Ramsay Postgraduate scholars who attended are part of our inaugural cohort of Ramsay Postgraduate Scholars – twenty outstanding, thoughtful, imaginative young Australians committed to advancing a richer and deeper understanding of our civilisation through study at the world’s best overseas universities.
These exceptional young Australians were announced in July last year and are supported with funding of up to AUD$85,000 p.a. for one, two, and in select cases three years of coursework and/or research.
Applications for our 2022 Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarships open 1 February.
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