OUSL Activities in 2013

14-15 November 2013: Foire de l'Etudiant

This was a busy event and we recorded no less than 150 qualified enquiries. We were ably assisted by Dr Elizabeth Peachey from the OU Admissions Office and by a team of enthusiastic OUSL members. See a photo of the stand.
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13 November 2013: School Visits

Elizabeth Peachey, the student recruitment officer for Europe at Oxford, along with Andrew Hallan, visited four Schools: Lycée Classique d'Echternach (together with Jean-Claude Muller); International School of Luxembourg; Lycée Robert Schuman & Lycée de Garcons Luxembourg. There was also a successful evening event at the European School II involving both parents and teachers.
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Monday 28 October 2013: Social Dinner at Mousel's Cantine

13 OUSL members ventured into Clausen to get ready for the winter at Mousel's Cantine. This Luxembourgish classic, renowned for its generous portions, lived up to its reputation. Conversation and beer were flowing in copious measure. We were glad to see old faces again and to welcome new members. The Social Dinner has now become a tradition. We look forward to the next instance in the Spring.
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Saturday 13 October: Visit to Longwy

OUSL members had the opportunity to visit nearby Longwy on 13 October 2013. The Vauban fortifications (listed as UNESCO heritage since 2005) as well as the Fort de Fermont (part of the famous Ligne Maginot) were on the cultural programme, while the Bistrot du Breuil in Réhon provided for an excellent culinary break. An enjoyable opportunity to acquaint - or re-acquaint - ourselves with some of what this lovely city has to offer.
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Monday 23 September: Discussion Dinner with Professor Nick Hanley

Professor Nick Hanley, Professor of Ecological Economics with the University of Stirling, joined OUSL members for a discussion dinner in the Brasserie de Kirchberg. Professor Hanley spoke about his work on applying ecological economics to guide environmental policy. Please read our report on the event.
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Friday 13 September: Presentation of a Cheque to SOS Village d’Enfants

The concert during our recent Benelux Reunion Weekend raised €1033 for the charity SOS Villages d’Enfants. Members of our Committee, together with a representative of the Cambridge Society, presented a cheque for this sum to representatives of the charity in the presence of the British Ambassador, HE the Hon. Alice Walpole, at the Embassy Residence.
You can read a newspaper report of the event (in German).
The money is being used to help families — as well as children who have become separated from their parents — in the Mopti area of Mali, where the population has been severely affected by the recent civil unrest in the country. You can read part of a mail from the charity’s representative explaining what work they are doing. You can also see photos of the presentation and of the on-going relief work.
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Wednesday 11 September: OUSL Debate: Sustainability of Meat-Eating

Following our debate on green growth, this year we addressed the Motion: ‘This House Believes that the Future Cost of Meat is More Than We Can Afford’. Under the chairmanship of Andrew Hallan, the speakers were:

  • IN FAVOUR: Dr John Ingram, Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, and Dr Jane Feehan, Natural Resources Specialist, European Investment Bank;
  • AGAINST: Mr John Brook, Regional Director for Europe with the US Meat Exporters Federation, and Dr Sandra Cellina, Sustainable Development Expert, Administration de la Nature et des Forêts, Luxembourg.

It was a stimulating and provocative evening which, it seems, has ignited discussions that are still ongoing around certain dinner tables! On the night the motion prevailed, but one of the interesting surprises of the evening was that all the speakers - on both sides - had a lot of common ground. All pointed out the perils of industrial farming; all put across the message that meat can be sustainably produced; and that we should buy less but buy better. Where the sides differed was on the feasibility of promoting alternatives and raising awareness in the general public to adapt consumption to sustainable production.
The ‘pro meat’ side pointed out the nutritional value of eating meat, discussed how biodiversity-rich landscapes are maintained by grazing animals, and pointed out that eating meat shouldn't be singled out for punishment - what about long-haul flying, or buying a gas-guzzling car?
The ‘anti meat’ side pointed out that cheap meat is becoming too expensive: it has impacts - carbon emissions, our own health, animal welfare, loss of biodiversity - which aren't reflected in the retail price. Globally, there's an explosion in pork and chicken consumption, much of which is farmed intensively. Increasing amounts of valuable arable land are being used just to produce feed for animals.
You can download a more detailed report, and you can also see the slides that the speakers presented.

Additional links provided by the speakers for interested readers:

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Saturday 13 July: Luxembourg Varsity Croquet

With the Luxembourgish afternoon sun beating down on Chez Vaudrey, one of Luxembourg’s finest croquet players asked if someone said Pimm’s o’clock? The 20 other croquet players turned to one another, shrugged and then cracked open a few bottles of Britain’s favourite summertime liquor. The ensuing sweet, minty-fresh cocktails were accompanied by the food of champions (wurst, burgers and Persian rice!). After players had had their feed, croquet activities were “struck off” across two lawns. Each lawn brought with it varying degrees of fortune to the Dark Blues. The first Oxford pairing wielded their mallets on “Centre Lawn” but ultimately succumbed to a pairing that included the Other Place’s captain, and a local (very familiar with the terrain). However, sterling efforts by the second Oxford pairing on the adjacent lawn resulted in the match being tied after the first round. The other croquet matches to-ed and fro-ed in a similar fashion but one thing was for certain, we all need a lot more practice! Same time next year I guess? Fun was had by all on what was a thoroughly enjoyable summer’s afternoon in Useldange, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Vaudreys for kindly hosting the event. Their fabulous home and beautiful garden provided a perfect setting for the festivities. Photos can be viewed in our Gallery.
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Friday 28 - Sunday 30 June: Oxford and Cambridge Societies of Benelux Reunion Weekend

The highlight of our year, we are delighted to report that the Reunion Weekend was a great success.

Eighty-nine alumni and partners gathered in Luxembourg on Friday 28th June for the second Oxford & Cambridge Benelux reunion. Alumni came not only from the Benelux countries but also from Germany and the UK. The programme was rich and varied, starting on the Friday evening with a reception for visitors at the home of an OUSL member, followed by the choice of a pub-crawl or dinner in a cosy Alsatian restaurant. Some visitors managed to do both!
Saturday was devoted to more serious culture. The City archivist, an Oxford alumna, took us to the depths of the city museum, deep in the rock of Luxembourg, to show us early documents and models of the great fortress that Luxembourg used to be. Visitors learned more of the history of the old city on a guided tour by one of our members. After a generous lunch visitors moved on to the European Investment Bank for a tour of their impressive collection of contemporary art.
The evening was black tie, but it began in the church of St Jean du Grund with readings of Shakespeare and Donne sonnets by Christopher Dobson, a noted German Kammersänger, interspersed with period songs and lute music from his colleague Axel Weber. This concert was organised by the Oxford and Cambridge societies of Luxembourg in aid of the charity SOS Villages d’Enfants and was open to the public. The event raised €1032,00 for the children’s villages in Mali.
A short walk through the Grund district took our party to the Cercle Munster, where we enjoyed an excellent dinner and outstanding wines, not to mention a witty address by H.M. Ambassador to Luxembourg, the Hon. Alice Walpole.
It says much for the stamina of Oxbridge alumni that on the Sunday morning a majority chose to walk down into the valley below the old city and then up the heights the other side, for a visit to the Drei Eechelen military museum in one of Vauban’s old forts. This was followed by a delightful cold lunch in the airy spaces of I. M. Pei’s Museum of Modern Art.
Whilst some visitors stayed to explore the museum, others drove off in convoy to sample Luxembourgish wines at a traditional winery near the Moselle. No one got lost and all returned home safely. Ideas are now fermenting for the next Benelux/Germany reunion.
One of our Belgian visitors has kindly uploaded photos of the different events, taken by himself and several other participants. In addition, you may be interested to read the Wort.lu article about the weekend.
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Wednesday 19 June: Oxford University Society Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Society took place at 19.00 on 19 June. The Chairman's Report, Treasurer's Report and Annual Accounts are now available for you to read.
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Thursday 11 April: Information event for future applicants to Oxford and Cambridge

This was a follow-on from last year’s highly successful event, and was held et the ECG on the Geeseknäppchen Campus in Belair. Volunteers from both OUSL and the Luxembourg Cambridge Society gave presentations, about careers after university and about the British UCAS system for university admissions. We were fortunate in having a visit from Dr Steve Rayner, the Tutor for Admissions of Somerville College, Oxford, who gave a presentation about the Oxford Admissions Process. H.E. the British Ambassador, the Hon. Alice Walpole, also gave a speech.
After the formal presentations a number of alumni volunteers from both universities were available to answer students' questions, and there were stands with information about studying at Oxford and Cambridge.
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Tuesday 19 March: Social Evening with the Cambridge Society of Luxembourg

Building on the success of the social evening held at the Goethe Stuff, the OUSL-CSL social evening took place at Ristorante Essenza, an Italian restaurant no more than a stone's throw away from the Grand Duke's palace. With over 30 members in attendance, the restaurant provided an ideal setting for members of both societies to share a glass, and thank one another for their efforts in helping 37 students apply to Oxbridge in 2012. Fun was had by all and many called for a repeat event some time in the near future. Bring on the Oxbridge Benelux reunion at the end of June!
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Thursday 14 March: Laurent Mignon on Rabindranath Tagore in Turkey

Laurent Mignon, a Luxembourger and University Lecturer in Turkish and a Fellow of Saint Antony’s College, Oxford spoke about the reception of Rabindranath Tagore in Turkey.

A century ago in 1913 the Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in literature. In the following decades, he was one of the most popular poets in Turkey, an exceptional case in a country where little attention was being paid to literary developments beyond eastern borders. The talk addressed the reception of Tagore in Turkey and assessed his place in the Turkish literary world. Please download our report about the event.
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Saturday, 23 and Sunday, 24 February: Brief Lives with Music

The antiquarian John Aubrey's amusing sketches of the lives of 17th century celebrities, interspersed with music from his time, formed the basis for a well-attended evening's entertainment in Oetrange on 23 and 24 February 2013.
Compiled by Oxonians Dick Holdsworth and Edward Seymour, the programme ranged from the high-minded (Thomas Hobbes and John Locke) to the frivolous (Mary Herbert) and obscene (Walter Raleigh), sometimes in the space of a single biography. The music followed a similar pattern, including songs and dances by Aubrey's fellow-countrymen John Dowland, Orlando Gibbons, John Jenkins and William Lawes.
Dick Holdsworth (Univ) and Susanna Seymour (Wadham) read Aubrey's quirky texts; Alexandra Protopapadakis (Uppsala), Chris Coggill (Oriel) and two guest Cantabrigians, Chris Birch (Jesus) and Mick Swithinbank (Christ's), played the viol, recorder, violin and virginal; Baiba Rozenbaha (Latvia) and Chris Vigar (Christ Church) sang the songs.
39 people attended the event, and the organisers are glad to announce that the 500 EUR raised is being offered as a contribution to meet students' needs.
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Friday 15 February: Dinner with the Belgo-Luxembourgish Society in Oxford

The Oxford Belgo-Luxembourgish Society hosted a dinner on 15 February 2013 at University College in Oxford. Several members of our society and their partners attended. Please download our report about the dinner.
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Thursday 7th February at 18:30 - Talk by the Japanese Ambassador at the MNHA

His Excellency Wataru Nishigahiro (Corpus Christi), the Japanese Ambassador, gave a talk at the Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art, in the Marché aux Poissons, on “Kabuki, Chikamatsu and Shakespeare”.
The Ambassador is a Shakespeare specialist and his fascinating talk, in the context of the exhibition Trésors de Kamigata, looked at commonalities between the theatre of Shakespeare and the traditional Japanese Kabuki theatre. The Ambassador drew parallels between the lives and attitudes of Shakespeare and his near-contemporary Chikamatsu, a famous author of both Kabuki and Bunraku (puppet) plays. He also suggested ways in which knowledge of Shakespeare's plays and of English theatrical traditions would have reached 17th Century Japan, via the East India trade and in particular through William Adams, the pilot and shipbuilder, who became an adviser to the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. The exhibition of traditional woodcuts included pictures of Kabuki actors and scenes from the plays; many of the exhibits were from private collections and had never been shown before.
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