Principals Blog: Early February 2020

blogBowerscrop1Antonia Romeo:
Antonia gave a brilliant talk to about 70 people on a “Chatham House” basis so sadly I cannot recount much of what she said. She is currently Permanent Secretary at the Department of International Trade and was previously Consul General in  New York. She spoke of international trading policy after Brexit. She gave the astonishing statistic that in an average iPhone components come from 43 countries on three continents. She also emphasised the value of a career in the civil service, having worked herself originally for a management consultancy, and also about the challenges of being a female permanent secretary and the power of big tech companies.

There was a very pleasant Eucharist service for Candlemas on 2 February. Rev Anthony Buckley, Vicar of St Michael at the Northgate, spoke of the split in Brasenose between his parish and that covered by the University Church so that weddings might take place in the two different churches depending on where in the College one lives*. He also called for us to care for and listen to the wisdom of the elderly. At the end of the service, everyone lit candles and unusually the great doors of the Chapel were opened for a procession.

*all members of Brasenose may marry in Chapel of course!

Commiserations to our alumna Clare Perry O Neill for a rather brutal dismissal by the Government from her role chairing the COP 26 Climate Change conference in Glasgow. Interesting that Johnson offered the job to our alumnus David Cameron who turned it down.

I like to keep up some lecturing and on 29 January I spoke to the Industrial Law Society in Nottingham about reform of employment tribunals.

It was good to hear the BBC Food Programme carry an item on Dr Nicholas Kurti after whom our Kurti Fellows are named. He was a legend in the culinary world. My article about him for the Brazen Nose can be found at on p.88 here.

As a university we are trying to become more involved with the city so it was excellent to meet the Chief Executive, his deputy and the Leader of Oxford City Council at a dinner arranged by the Conference of Colleges.

We are in the midst of the Brasenose Fine Art seminar series.  The seminar is a platform for Fine Art students at Brasenose to discuss selected cultural artefacts in relation to issues relevant to contemporary art practice. Each week, one or more of our students offers up an object of interest to act as a prompt for open discussion.   No particular knowledge of the field of contemporary art is required, and anyone curious about the subject is welcome.

I do not normally read books by authors who remain anonymous but I made an exception for the exceptional book “A Warning” by Anonymous, a high ranking Trump Administration Official who under cover of anonymity tells the full picture of the Trump White House.

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