19 January 2017
Baroness Valerie Amos CH addressed the Global Education Summit at Presidency University, Kolkata, as part of SOAS University of London’s centenary celebrations in India.
Presidency University, the oldest institution of higher education in Asia is celebrating its 200th anniversary and is one of SOAS’s centenary partners.
Speaking at the Global Education Summit, Baroness Amos spoke of the proud heritage of the two which have had a major impact on nurturing knowledge and understanding across cultures and continents.
Baroness Amos highlighted the vital importance of international collaborations and partnerships in an increasingly fractured world. She said: “In these uncertain times, universities have an opportunity to ensure that the next generation continues to look beyond borders and embraces collaboration and partnership. That is the only way to tackle the most complex problems of our time – whether that’s climate change, inequality, immigration, or conflict.”
She also stressed the importance of diversity at SOAS and its contribution to the continued excellence of the School’s teaching and research. While the number of students from India studying in the UK has declined over recent years, the appeal of London and of SOAS as a study destination remains strong.
Baroness Amos said: “At SOAS we continue to attract gifted students from India. They are attracted to the quality of our scholarship, the way we combine disciplinary focus with language and area studies expertise, and our preparedness to challenge conventional orthodoxy."
Baroness Amos thanked the Government of West Bengal for its generous grant to SOAS. The Bishwa Bangla Scholarships will support one PhD student and eight Masters students, who are normally resident in West Bengal, to study at SOAS over the next four years.
Left to right - Commodore Uday Bhaskar, Baroness Valerie Amos CH, Ambassador Dr Hardeep Singh Puri and Dr Alexander Evans
At a major alumni event, SOAS also had the New Delhi launch of its Centenary fundraising campaign Questions Worth Asking. As part of the campaign the School aims to raise funds to enable the most talented people from around the world to benefit from a SOAS education, whatever their financial circumstances.
SOAS’s centenary celebration in India is part of a series of international events to mark the School’s 100 years. It follows centenary events in Hong Kong and New York last year. SOAS will be celebrating its centenary in Abu Dhabi and Lagos later this year.