Giles Strachan (former WHT Development Manager) connects with Alumni in Asia

A group picture after dinner at Oh, Calcutta!

One of the great pleasures of being an (honorary) member of the WHT community is that almost any trip can become an opportunity to catch up with friends and alumni from the programme. I took advantage of this last month to meet up with WHT alums in Hong Kong and Delhi, where we have small but active communities.

On a layover in Hong Kong I reconnected with Thai Dang (Oxford-Weidenfeld and Hoffmann, MPhil Comparative Government, 2015-17) and Leanne Zhang (Louis Dreyfus, MPhil Economics, 2015-17). We undertook a whistle-stop tour of the city, ranging from old temple gardens to the world’s longest escalator. After a delicious dim sun lunch, we finished the trip by taking in the skyline from the 41st floor of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

taking in the view of the Hong Kong skyline

The following weekend, I made good on a long-held promise to visit India and travelled to Delhi for a long weekend to visit Payaswini Tailor (Oxford-Weidenfeld and Hoffmann, MPhil Political Theory, 2015-17). We were joined by Debora Leão (Weidenfeld-Hoffmann/Chevening, MPP, 2017-18) and Thai Dang. After an unforgettable weekend taking in as many of the Mughal sites as we could visit, we crowned the trip with a WHT reunion dinner at Oh, Calcutta! Joined by Aditi Chatterjee (Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld and Hoffmann Saïd, MBA, 2016-17) and Pratik Datta (Weidenfeld-Hoffmann/Chevening, Law and Finance, 2017-18), we tucked into some traditional Bengali food and took the chance to catch up together for the first time since we all left Oxford.

The following morning, we breakfasted at Sunder Nursery in the company of two more WHT alums – Rahul Nayar (Louis Dreyfus-Chevening, MPP, 2013-14) and Ina Zharkevich (Weidenfeld-Hoffmann, MPhil Development Studies, 2007-09). It was a great chance to catch up with two alums who I knew only from e-mails. More importantly, it was another chance for alums to discuss their work and share ideas. Listening to everyone exchanging contacts, discussing rural development policy in their respective nations and plotting how to help each other in future, it was a clear sign that our alumni community is going from strength to strength. There is so much to be gained from these meetings, and I strongly encourage you to connect with your fellow alums in the country or city where you live!

a break in conversation at brunch.

For my part, I’m now based in Dubai along with WHT alums Debora Leão, Ilunga Mpyana and Maheen Iqbal. If you’re passing through, do get in touch as we’re always keen to meet up with more members of the WHT family.

About the Scholar

Laura Stewart


(), I am not a scholar
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