Dear friends and supporters of WHT

2019 began with a flourish for us – thanks to André Hoffmann’s generosity, we were given a space to showcase our bespoke Leadership Programme at the World Economic Forum at Davos in January. We were undoubtedly the youngest and least experienced contributors, but I can honestly say that the WHT group wowed the audience. In the end, a dozen scholars and alums gave short presentations about the problems facing their countries. The audience of business people, non-profit executives and those interested in education (including Oxford’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, who introduced the session) asked many questions, complimented the young people on the positivity of their approach and left with a sense of hope about the future. This trip seemed a distant possibility when the visas were not forthcoming, no one quite knew what they should do or say, and we had no idea whether anyone would come and listen to our ‘young voices of hope’. . . But we did get visas albeit at the eleventh hour, the students helped each other to polish their performances and the tent was filled to standing-room-only. If you haven’t already, please look at the short highlights video on our landmark trip to the World Economic Forum.

We also chose this moment to launch a fundraising campaign for the all important Leadership Programme. Some of the alumni that couldn’t make it to Davos sent messages from their home countries, it gives a wonderful idea of what the Leadership Programme has meant – please take a few minutes to enjoy it. Professor Roland Rosner has become our latest supporter – his family foundation is generously donating towards the Leadership Programme for the next cohort, for which we are very grateful.

Otherwise, this term has sped by with an outstanding Moral Philosophy follow up session on Feminism where, for the first time, our male scholars participated in the same numbers as the female ones; the Town Hall was packed with people both ‘Town and Gown’ to listen to a topical scholar run debate entitled: ‘This House believes countries should restrict immigration to preserve national culture’.

The Annual Debate at Oxford Town Hall.

Our scholars continue to impress us with extra-curricular feats from fencing to debating and taking on leadership positions in their respective colleges. Our alumni have also returned to Oxford in waves to collect their various awards and take another walk down memory lane; Sagar Dhakal (Nepal, MSc Water Science, Policy and Management, Oxford-Weidenfeld and Hoffmann) brought several generations of family, from grandparents to young cousins, for his graduation and introduced me to the art of making special sounds like gongs with a wonderful gift from their country – perhaps they, rightly, thought I needed some quiet, contemplative moments!  

A memorable moment with WHT Alumni, Sagar Dhakal and his family.

Congratulations also to several alumni who have shared their personal and professional successes with us this term. Saadia Gardezi (Pakistan, MPhil Modern South Asian Studies, Oxford-Weidenfeld and Hoffmann-Rausing/Abraham) took the opportunity over the Christmas holiday to get married. She shared the following colourful and brilliant photos of her and her family’s festivities with us:

Saadia Gardezi and her husband at their traditional Pakistani wedding’.

Manisha Nair (India, DPhil Public Health, Louis Dreyfus) has been shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards

Mastish  Taddese Terefe (Ethiopia, Master of Public Policy, Louis Dreyfus), who is our first scholar from Ethiopia, wrote to say that she had returned home with new and interesting prospects for the development of her home country, which recently made news for the election of the first woman President, Sahle-Work Zwede.

Mowmita and Baby Ayan, the newest member of the WHT Network.

Mowmita Basak Mow (Bangladesh, Master of Public Policy, Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld and Hoffmann) shared the happy news that she has given birth to a lovely little boy.

And so the list goes on. . .

We now begin the process of selection for the next cohort and look forward to welcoming some of you back for our end of term celebration in June.

Best wishes

Alexandra 

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