Following the success of the inaugural Oxford University Alumni Weekend in Asia, which was held in 2014, Oxford University hosted their second Alumni weekend giving Somerville an opportunity to reunite with our alumni in Hong Kong and Singapore. Unfortunately the Principal was unable to attend as planned due to a wrist injury but Director of Development, Sara Kalim, (1990 Classics) and Secretary of the Somerville association, Lisa Gygax (1987, PPE), stepped into her ambassadorial role.
The formal Weekend program was preceded by a series of events in Hong Kong including a reception for alumni which was hosted by the University in the Penthouse of Jardine’s House – Hong Kong’s first true skyscraper and the tallest building in Asia when it opened in 1973.
The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson commenced the reception, highlighting the recent achievements of the University in world rankings, and this was followed by a panel discussion on Oxford University’s future in an uncertain world, moderated by Professor Nick Rawlins, (Pro-Vice Chancellor for Development and External Affairs) and with panelists Professor Anne Davies, (Dean of the Law Faculty), Mr Miles Young (Warden of New College), and Professor Steve Cowley (President of Corpus Christi College).
On the 23rd of March, Somerville invited alumni to a drinks reception, organised by Rajesh Nihalani (1997, PPE) at the Continental Restaurant in Pacific Place, Admiralty. Somerville College’s Singapore Alumni drinks reception took place the next day, at the Peach Garden restaurant. Both receptions were well attended by a number of alumni from different generations and academic programs who enjoyed the chance to reflect upon their experiences at Oxford as well as their relationship with the College and the University after graduation.
The University’s formal academic programme took place the following day in Marina Bay Sands, Expo & Convention Centre and the speakers included the academics who had spoken in Hong Kong along with a number of colleagues including Professor Rhodri Lewis (Professor of English Literature, and Director of the Ertegun Centre) who spoke about Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Professor Jim W Hall (Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks) who focused his lecture on water security issues.