Some of our activities in 2017

Thursday 29th June – Annual Dinner with Guest Speaker Bob Kneip

The Society’s Annual dinner was held at the Cercle Munster. We were delighted to welcome Bob Kneip, the successful Luxembourgish entrepreneur, as our guest. Based on the history of Kneip Communication S.A. (Kneip), the company he founded in 1993, Bob gave a fascinating speech on “The Fund Industry - Radical Change Theory”, in which he outlined the constant need to adjust to ongoing change in order to achieve sustainable success.

Citing John F. Kennedy’s dictum “change is the law of life”, Bob gave several examples of radical change (such as the invention of Microsoft PowerPoint and the upheaval in telecoms technology). He then elaborated on radical change in the financial and more specifically the funds industry.

His latest measure to incorporate change in his own enterprise was the creation, earlier this year, of a new, small and flexible division within Kneip, the Digital Accelerator, which he now leads, after stepping down as CEO of Kneip and becoming its president. The evening concluded with a lively Q & A session followed by after dinner drinks.

During the dinner, Andrew Hallan, OUSL Chairman since July 2013, announced that he was stepping down from his functions both as Chairman and as Member of the Committee. Andrew is succeeded as Chairman by Jan Könighaus, who has been OUSL Treasurer for several years. Members thanked Andrew for his considerable contributions both to OUSL, which has flourished under his chairmanship, and to Oxford University’s outreach work.
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Monday 27th February - “Play it again” - an OUSL dinner with the Principal of LMH

Alan Rusbridger, the Principal of Lady Margaret Hall and a former journalist and editor-in-chief of “The Guardian”, was the guest speaker at a dinner hosted by the Society in the elegant premises of House 17. He gave a thrilling presentation of his book ““Play It Again: An Amateur Against The Impossible”.

While professionally dealing with, inter alia, Julian Assange’s Wikileaks, the “News of the World” phone-hacking scandal and the rescue of a captured journalist in Libya, Alan Rusbridger managed to learn, in the course of a year, Chopin’s Ballade No.1 in G minor, which is one of the most challenging pieces ever composed for the piano and well known to cinema lovers from the film “The Pianist”. In his presentation, Alan Rusbridger mixed his private story of how he managed to achieve this task with anecdotes of his professional encounters and meetings with famous pianists, piano teachers and amateur musicians. 39 members and distinguished guests formed an enthusiastic audience.

Whilst he was in Luxembourg Alan Rusbridger also visited the European School II at Mamer to talk to pupils, teachers and parents about studying at Oxford.
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Thursday 16th February - Annual General Meeting

With 16 members present the 2017 AGM was more than just a formality run by the Committee. The Chairman and Treasurer reported on a very successful year in 2016, with a strong series of varied events and a membership that had risen to 73 by the end of the year. It was gratifying to see that the Society is attracting new members and that the membership spans all ages and backgrounds. The Chairman’s and Treasurer’s reports will shortly be available on our Members’ page. Our honorary auditor, Richard Goddard, reported favourably on our accounts (also to be published shortly) and was duly re-elected to do the job again! All the current members of the Committee stood for re-election and were joined by Paschalis Paschalidis. Having an extra Committee member was a welcome move, as the current Chairman announced his intention of resigning and leaving the Committee on his 75th birthday in August.

Our custom is never just to do routine business but to add something extra to the AGM. This year Francis Carpenter, one of the original founders of the LOUDIES dining society, an early pre-cursor of OUSL back in the early 80s, gave us a fascinating insider account of a recent, and rare, hostile take-over of a Luxembourg company, where the Board (including Francis), using little-known defence tactics, forced the bidder to seriously increase its offer, before yielding to the inevitable, but honorable, surrender, and winning rare plaudits in the “Financial Times’s” influential LEX column. Details cannot be revealed here, but it was quite a thriller. Many thanks to Francis for lifting the curtain.

The society is most grateful to David and Marilyn Clark for once again hosting the AGM at their appartment on Luxembourg city.
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Tuesday 17th January - Visit to the Luxembourg National Centre for Literature

Oxonians turn up everywhere, so it was no surprise to find that one of our members, Pascal Seil, had become a curator at the Centre National de Littérature in Mersch. He and his director Claude D. Conter kindly invited OUSL to hold their first meeting at the Centre and for nearly all of us it was a revelation. The Centre archives, conserves and promotes literature written in Luxembourg or about Luxembourg, no matter in what language. Luxembourgish obviously takes pride of place but local authors write in French, German and English as well. Indeed, we discovered that another of our members, James Leader, writing in English, was already amongst the established local authors.

The Centre is housed in a lovely old bourgeois house that used to belong to the Servais family, which included Emmanuel Servais, the fifth prime minister of Luxembourg from 1867 to 1874. We were a group of 16 Oxonians who were given a complete tour of the Centre, which has been extensively restored and modernised, for example, to conserve the archives, including precious personal papers, under controlled conditions. We finished the visit in the “Café Littéraire”, a modern extension built to house events such as ours where talks can be given and literature discussed.

On April 6th there will be a lecture on literature in English from Luxembourg which members might like to attend. The Society is most grateful to the Centre for giving us this visit and we hope that many members will have the pleasure of discovering the Centre for themselves.
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Oxford University News

Latest edition of Oxford Today read

Oxford University to have ‘most state school students for decades’

Almost 60% of offers made to pupils at state schools.
Read about this and the University’s extensive school outreach work.

Radcliffe Camera


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