‘In Conversation’ between Sir Partha and Dr Aisha Dasgupta, ‘How Many People Can Earth Support In Comfort?’
‘In Conversation’ between Sir Partha and Dr Aisha Dasgupta,
‘How Many People Can Earth Support In Comfort?’
This event was an ‘in conversation’ between a world renowned academic, Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, whose cutting edge research covers welfare and development economics and issues of poverty and inequality, and Dr. Aisha Dasgupta, who is at the UN Population Division in New York and has a background at the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Marie Stopes International. Sir Partha is a distinguished academic and Aisha is a young practitioner who works on family planning and reproductive health in the world’s poorest countries, which are issues Professor Dasgupta addresses in his academic work. The conversation will be built around the potential synergy between theory and practice. The conversation will be on reasons humanity’s demands on the biosphere currently exceeds the biosphere’s capacity to supply them. The overshoot will be analysed both in terms of population and consumption.
The lively discussion was chaired by Sir Andrew Dilnot and organised by the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholarships and Leadership Programme, with the support of the Saïd Business School. This event was made possible by the generous support of Tom Kaplan.
Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has spent much of his professional life working on the theory and empirics of poverty and inequality. His cutting-edge research covers welfare and development economics, the economics of technological change, population, environmental and resource economics, game theory and the economics of malnutrition. His more recent work has involved investigating the idea of sustainable development in which pure economic reasoning frequently collides with ecological and social concerns. An important area of his research has been social capital, focusing on the degree of mutual trust that may be expected in the social networks that form communities. Having grown up in India, he brings a unique perspective to his field. He has also been invaluable to the cause of capacity-building among young scientists, especially in developing countries. Professor Dasgupta is the Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Cambridge. He was formerly chairman of the scientific board of the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, as well as professor of economics and philosophy and director of the Program in Ethics in Society at Stanford University. Since 2013, Professor Dasgupta has been Visiting Professor at the New College of the Humanities, London. Among other honours, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Science, Foreign Member of the American Philosophical Society, and Member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences; and has been awarded the Volvo Environment Prize, the John Kenneth Galbraith Memorial Prize, the Zayed International Environment Prize, the Blue Planet Prize, and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.
Dr. Aisha Dasgupta was awarded a Ph.D in 2014 by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, on the relationship between family planning, and fertility. Her field work was conducted in Malawi. She currently works at the UN Population Division in New York. Previously she worked at the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Marie Stopes International, London, respectively. Her practical work and academic research cover: demography, family planning, population, sexual and reproductive health, HIV, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV, food security and food systems.
Sir Andrew Dilnot is Warden of Nuffield College Oxford. He was Chairman of the UK Statistics Authority from 2012 to 2017, and was the Chairman of the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, which reported in 2011. He was Principal of St Hugh’s College, Oxford, from 2002 to 2012 and a Pro Vice Chancellor of Oxford University from 2005 to 2012. He was Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies from 1991 to 2002. He was the founding presenter of BBC Radio 4’s series on the beauty of numbers, ‘More or Less’ and also presented Radio 4’s ‘A History of Britain in Numbers’. He sits on the Advisory Board of the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Trust.
WHT Alumna Quratulain Fatima appointed 2017-18 Build Peace Fellow
WHT Alumna Quratulain Fatima (Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld and Hoffmann, Master of Public Policy, 2015-16) has been appointed as one of three 2017-18 Build Peace Fellows. Drawn from a pool of over 300 applicants from around the world, Build Peace fellows are young leaders engaged in on-the-ground work designed to strengthen civil society and limit conflicts.
Quratulain currently works at the Agency for Barani (Arid) Area Development (ABAD), Punjab, where she leads a team focused on improving the existing integrated development plan for the Arid Track of Pakistan. As a Build Peace Fellow, Quratulain will be designing and piloting a GIS-based water dispute resolution management system in Punjab‘s vulnerable arid tract, combining technology and community-based participatory research for prevention and resolution of communal conflict in farming communities. The key aim of the system is to improve the dispute resolution time and prevent disputes through identification of conflict patterns and deployment of an effective resolution toolkit.
Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholarships and Leadership Programme boosted by £9million benefaction
Founded in 2007, the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholarships and Leadership Programme is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the announcement of a £9 million gift from entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, André Hoffmann. This generous support will be matched with £6 million of University funding, thereby fully endowing 15 taught masters’ graduate scholarships.
The Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholarships and Leadership Programme cultivates the leaders of tomorrow by creating opportunities for outstanding graduate students and young professionals from emerging and transitional economies to undertake their graduate study at Oxford. In addition, the Leadership Programme provides the scholars with the skills, knowledge and networks to ensure they are fully equipped to make valuable contributions to public life in their countries and regions of origin. The programme includes practical skills training as well as mentoring and various networking events. It also helps to build lasting professional links across cultures and continents.
Since its founding, the programme has supported 216 Weidenfeld Scholars from 63 countries, undertaking study across more than 30 academic departments at Oxford. This new support will ensure more students from across the world are able to benefit from being part of this distinguished and diverse scholarship initiative.
André Hoffmann said: ‘For the last 10 years I have been proud to support young talented students through the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholarship scheme. I believe knowledgeable and skilled leaders are needed to shape more equitable and sustainable societies and make a real difference, particularly in trouble-stricken regions and in today’s highly complex world.’
Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford commented: ‘This wonderful gift bears testament to André’s unwavering commitment to Oxford and to our students, present and future. It will enable smart, talented and ambitious young people from developing and emerging economies across the globe to come to Oxford for graduate studies, and to participate in the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholarship and Leadership Programme. We are deeply indebted to him for his vision and his generosity.’
2016-17 Scholarships Report Published
We’ve just finished our 2016-17 Annual Report, covering all of our activities throughout the academic year, from our Robin Hambro Moral Philosophy Seminar back in September to our 10th Birthday Party in June, and everything in between. The report is packed with pictures of the year, profiles of our scholars and alumni, and news about our plans for next year.
Click HERE to view and download a PDF of the report.
WHT Alumna Dr. Manisha Nair secures over £1m in funding for maternal healthcare
Dr. Manisha Nair has been awarded a Medical Research Council (MRC) – UK, Career Development Award that provides her a funding of more than £1 million (£1,030,894) for a period of five years to set up a UK-India collaborative platform for maternal and perinatal health research called MaatHRI (means ‘mother’ in Sanskrit). Manisha will continue to be based at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) of the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, but her research project will be in India.
What will this research collaboration do?
Maternal and perinatal Health Research collaboration, India (MaatHRI) aims to create a large and diverse platform for academics and scientists to conduct large-scale population-based research to improve maternal and perinatal health in a setting with a high burden of mortality and morbidity. Studies that are critical to informing policies and planning to address new and emerging complications in pregnancy can be quickly and efficiently rolled out through MaatHRI. The resultant new and improved scientific evidence will help policy makers and clinicians in India and globally to develop guidance to improve pregnancy care. The collaborative platform will also be a training platform for Oxford students interested in developing skills in conducting research in maternal and perinatal health in a low-to-middle income country setting. MaatHRI could form the basis of many studies well in to the future. During this fellowship, however, Manisha will begin this process by expanding the research platform already started during a pilot, and by undertaking work to improve the clinical management and outcomes of pregnant women with anaemia for which research is clearly indicated.
Dr Manisha Nair was a Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld and Hoffmann Scholar from 2010-13.
Louis Dreyfus-Chevening/Weidenfeld and Hoffmann alumni Gent Salihu discusses his career since gradution
Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholar Abhishek Parajuli presents at TEDxOxford
WHT Scholar Abhishek Parajuli recently gave a talk on the impact of foreign aid at TEDxOxford. Drawing upon his MPhil research, Abhishek questioned whether or not the impact of foreign aid is always as positive as we hope. His thesis, that foreign aid can cause citizens to worry less about corruption, is controversial, but allows space for researchers and practitioners to design new and more effective mechanisms for distributing aid.
Louis Dreyfus Scholar Nidhi Singh presents at international Law Conferences
Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Trust Donald Trump Inaugural Debate and Q&A with Sir Trevor McDonald
The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has been greeted with both astonishment and fear. Since his election Trump has come to symbolise a new brand of reactionary politics, one that breeds on economic frustration, resentment towards migrants and hostility towards minorities. In the age of Marine Le Penn and Geert Wilders, the election of Trump is seen as the harbinger of a spring of nationalism. Even more disconcerting are recent appointments to the Trump Cabinet and White House as these suggest that America no longer holds true to the values of life, liberty, and equality in the pursuit of happiness. Rather, Trump’s America is viewed as one that accepts misogyny, tolerates bigotry and neglects equality. The question that soon arises is should the world turn its back on Trump’s America?
This is the motion that will be debated at the upcoming Trump Inaugural Debate organized by the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholarships and Leadership Programme. The Debate will be followed by a special Q&A with Sir Trevor McDonald on the topic of “Did the Media Get Trump Elected?”
Trevor McDonald has over 40 years of experience in the media and was the first black Briton to present a national news programme. Recently he has presented a number of documentaries on America, with a focus on incarceration and the death penalty. McDonald was knighted in 1999 for his services to British journalism.
To sign up for the event go to
Update: Please note that tickets are currently sold out. Join our waiting list to be notified when more tickets become available
WHT Michaelmas Newsletter now available
This term has seen the WHT enrol our 10th class of scholars, mark the remarkable life and contributions of Lord Weidenfeld and develop new and exciting aspects of our leadership programme, all while our alumni continue to achieve remarkable things around the world. To catch up on what we’ve been up to, and for an overview of our upcoming events, read our newsletter here.