OUSL Activities in 2005

Wednesday 6th April 2005 - Secrets of a Luxembourg Spy Ring

The OUSL hosted yet another extraordinarily interesting meeting at the International School, Luxembourg, at which Janet Morgan talked about the courageous exploits of a network of Luxembourgers who conveyed valuable information to the French and British from behind enemy lines on troop and weapons movements through Luxembourg during the First World War. The details of this clandestine operation only came to light a few years ago with a discovery of papers in a family archive in Britain and Janet has written a gripping account in her book “The Secrets of Rue St Roch”, which formed the basis for her talk. With the aid of photographs and drawings she related how an intrepid Luxembourg lady, Lise Rischard, returned from Paris to her occupied country and with the help of her husband and trustworthy contacts set up a formidable network of informers. The manner in which the information was spirited out of the Grand Duchy to the waiting intelligence men in rue St Roch in Paris was in the best cloak and dagger tradition and indeed the whole story was far more dramatic and compelling than most works of fiction.
About one hundred people, some of them from the Western Front Association and ‘Les Amis de l'Histoire’, attended the meeting and were able to ask questions and buy Janet Morgan's book.
See picture in the Gallery
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Tuesday 26th April 2005 - OUSL Annual General Meeting

The OUSL's first AGM was well attended and the assembly unanimously voted the membership of the committee of the association. The evening was marked by an excellent lecture by Professor Marc Schoelen about the gardens of the Chateau de Mansfeld. We visited the traces of the Chateau hidden among the modern streets of the district.
Read the AGM Minutes
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Wednesday 1st June 2005 - OUSL Annual Dinner

The Oxford University Society of Luxembourg held its first Annual Dinner at the Cercle Munster, Luxembourg, which was attended by thirty-six people. We were privileged to have as our guest of honour Lady Nancy Kenny, Secretary of the Oxford University Society. After a convivial meal the members and their guests heard an interesting talk by Lady Kenny on the Society’s world-wide activities, accompanied by a great deal of generous advice and encouragement to our young branch. Indeed, she expressed admiration at how much has been achieved in the short time since our foundation last year. After her talk she fielded a number of questions about the fortunes of the University and the challenges it is facing in the new century.
Read the Chairman's Speech
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Wednesday 8th June 2005 - Decision-making for leaders

The joint meeting with the Luxembourg Alumni Association of ‘top ten’ business schools was held in the European Investment Bank boardroom.
Professor de Graeve spoke with energy and conviction on getting the process of decision-making right. His talk was addressed to anyone who aspires to lead. As often happens, a good rule for business is a good rule for private life. All decisions involve risk. A good decision aims to achieve a net positive present value, while a gamble is an action with a likely negative outcome. He himself staked generously on the outcome of a gambling game that the other player could, by sound processing, weigh in his own favour.
His thesis was that a decision should be judged not by the outcome but by the process. The reason is that, in the long run, you get better decisions from following better processes than from banking on the continuation of past good outcomes. This rules presents a challenge, since it is easier to measure outcome than to assess process.
A corollary of this thesis is that a firm should reward its managers according to the quality of their decision-making process, not by the outcome of the decisions.
His second point was that you should analyse your prospective decisions and the facts in order to maximise the chance of choosing the path to a favourable outcome. That does not mean predicting the outcome. It means assessing the relative likelihood of good and bad outcomes. A rational decision-maker in business will choose between options according to the weighted sum of the present values of all possible outcomes resulting from each option.
Finally, the decision-making process should take account of the decision-maker’s tolerance of failure. Where you cannot afford a negative outcome, it may be better not to take a risky decision, even if the objective weighted value of the positive outcomes should outweigh that of the inferior ones. In general, you should weigh outcomes according to the subjective benefit or damage that they bring.
a href="gallery.htm">See picture in the Gallery
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3rd July 2005 - Choral and Poetic Recital

Members, guests and friends enjoyed a fascinating day that appealed to the ear, the eye and the mind. It climaxed at one of Luxembourg's architectural treasures, the remote and beautiful 10th to 16th century church of St Willibrord at Rindschleiden and its celebrated frescoes from the 15th and 16th centuries.
After visiting similar frescoes in churches at Bourcy and Bastogne, in Belgium, the group was given a detailed description of the Rindschleiden frescoes and their historical context by the eminent Luxembourg historian and OUSL member, Dr Jean-Claude Muller.
The musical centre-piece of the day was the singing of ‘The Art of Music’, the well-known vocal ensemble which had prepared a programme of music ranging from the 9th to the 17th centuries. Beautifully sung, it complemented the setting of the small country church and provided a moving reminder of the link with St Willibrord, the Northumbrian who brought Christianity to this part of Europe at the end of the 7th century. As Dr Muller remarked, some of the music was no doubt being heard for the first time in this church for hundreds of years.
In a more light-hearted vein, Ann and John Overstall and Roderick Dunnett performed Roderick's entertaining ‘masque’, written in faultless rhyming pentameters and providing an amusing commentary on recent events involving Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Europe.
A delicious dinner at the Restaurant La Diligence, Arsdorf, featuring Luxembourg country cooking at its best, brought another successful OUSL event to a pleasant close.
Read “Homage to Europa”
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Thursday 29th September 2005 - President of Corpus Christi College visits Luxembourg

The OUSL was privileged to entertain to lunch Sir Tim Lankester, President of Corpus Christi College, who spoke informally and in considerable detail about the problems and issues facing the Oxford colleges in the present economic and social environment. He spoke about the challenge of being both a British and an international place of learning, as well as of the financial implications of maintaining excellence in both teaching and research. His talk was followed by a lively discussion touching on such questions as public versus private funding, recruitment and retention of teaching staff, admissions policy and the governance of the University.
This was another successful occasion with an excellent speaker and maintained the high standard that has been set by the OUSL in its brief existence. It provided an opportunity to make a link between Oxford and a local school. Back to top

Tuesday 11th October 2005 - Talk on "Globalisation and its impact on the Rhineland social model" by Dr Martin Wolf

Dr Martin Wolf (CCC Oxford 1965), Associate Editor of the Financial Times and author of Why Globalisation Works, spoke to members of the association and to invited members of staff of the European Investment Bank. The lecture, arranged by the Associaition, took place at the premises of the EIB. The talk provoked lively discussion.
The clarity of Dr Wolf's exposition was outstanding. The breadth of his economic vision and the precision of his analysis deeply impressed the audience.
Read detailed notes on Dr Wolf's talk
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