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Legacy 110 awards ceremony blog

utnvlru11 December 2016

The Legacy 110 programme is an initiative built around the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)’s First World War Centenary Battlefields Tour Programme, which aims to encourage pupils and schools that take part in the tours to share what they have learned with others in their schools and communities in order to help maintain the legacy of the Great War.

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This comprehensive education programme, which allows every secondary school in England to send two pupils and one teacher to the Ypres and the Somme to witness first-hand battlefields sites, is now half way through its scheduled five years. The second annual awards ceremony, recognising some of the most outstanding projects that have taken place as part of Legacy 110, was held at the House of Lords on Thursday 8th December – featuring presentations from each of the winning schools.

The diverse and impressive range of projects that received awards showcased how the programme is about much more than simply learning about WW1 or history, and that it actually cuts across subject areas – from English, drama, music through to art, and helps encourage children to work with different groups of people.

As the programme leader, Jerome Freeman from the IOE said in his address: “this is much more than just a battlefield tour – it is a comprehensive educational programme. It goes well beyond the 1 Plus 2 on the tour – it impacts hundreds of students in every school”. He added that the Legacy projects encourage children to work with many different groups – “their communities, other schools, different generations” and encourages them to “build connections across these”.

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The 2016 US presidential election: a post-mortem

Melissa Bradshaw23 November 2016

Dr Nick Witham began by admitting that he’d had to rewrite this Lunch Hour Lecture because, like all the pollsters, he had expected a different outcome from the US presidential election. Nonetheless, and unsurprisingly given Dr Witham’s expertise, it was a thorough post-mortem with important conclusions.

Although the electoral map of the US, as Dr Witham showed us, is now heavily dominated by Republican red, for only the fifth time in US history the President-elect lost the popular vote. Hillary Clinton has won more than 1.5 million more votes than Donald Trump, he said, and this margin could increase to 2 million.*

As well as the distorting effects of the Electoral College, Donald Trump’s victory “forces us to reckon with some very unpleasant features of the US political landscape,” Dr Witham said.

Trump’s appeal to ethno-nationalism, racism, and misogyny

He began by analysing the appeal of Trump’s campaign. His slogan, “Make America great again”, resonated with a large portion of the American population who felt unrepresented by globalisation, multiculturalism and political correctness: in particular in America’s Rust Belt, which has experienced stagnating wages and living standards.

“Make America great again” was also an etho-nationalist appeal to the memory of white privilege.

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In many of the most memorable moments of his campaign – smearing immigrants, promising to build a “glorious” wall to keep out Mexicans, promising a ban on Muslims entering the US, and a public fight with the parents of a Pakistani-American US Army captain killed in Iraq –  Trump  “politicised immigration more successfully than any Republican candidate before him,” said Dr Witham. (Image: Evan Guest)

Trump also appealed to old-fashioned American racism, Dr Witham said, and he warned that Trump’s endorsement by white supremacists such as David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, means that these people will now take a place at the forefront of American political life.

Finally Trump’s misogyny, culminating in a number of sexual assault allegations against him, and his behaviour towards Clinton in the televised debates, which was “dripping with condescension and privilege” only  added to Trump’s status as a maverick outsider who “tells it like it is”. (T shirts worn at Trump rallies included “Hillary sucks but not like Monica” and “Trump that Bitch”.)

Unlike “shy Brexit” voters in the UK, Trump’s supporters did not quietly or shyly support him, but loudly and proudly.

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Hospitality and hostility: the role of established refugees in a crisis

Melissa Bradshaw9 November 2016

Even in the most sympathetic coverage, refugees often come across as passive and dependent. Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh’s Lunch Hour Lecture showed how refugees, in fact, actively help each other in highly challenging and complex situations. Her lecture focused on Baddawi, a refugee camp in North Lebanon.

Dr Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is leading a new four-year AHRC-ESRC funded research project, Local Community Experiences of and Responses to Displacement from Syria, that “aims to disrupt the assumption that citizens are hosts and aid providers while refugees are dependent recipients of aid”.

baddawi3This interdisciplinary and participatory research in nine communities in the Middle East will address the need for evidence that tells us how local communities respond to people displaced by conflict.

Dr Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is also Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit, and Coordinator of UCL’s Refuge in a Moving World Research Network, which seeks to examine the effects of UCL’s institutional response to the refugee crisis and strengthen its impact.

She outlined three trends: ‘Protracted displacement’ describes displacement that has lasted for more than 26 years; ‘urban displacement’ applies to the 65% of refugees living in cities; ‘overlapping displacement’ between different refugee groups has until now not been thoroughly analysed.

Baddawi is a Palestinian refugee camp run by competing groups and militia – a place of both violence and sanctuary, said Dr Fiddian-Qasmiyeh. It was established in 1955.

In 2007, 15 thousand refugees moved to Baddawi from Nahr al-Bared, another refugee camp that had become the centre of fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam, a radical Sunni Islamist group.

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UCL in the Middle East: crossing cultures

ucyow3c21 September 2016

pencil-iconWritten by Sophie Vinter, Global Engagement Communications Officer

“When we talk about the Middle East we’re talking about many places and very different contexts – what goes for Qatar is not the same as for a refugee camp in Syria.”

The panel of the inaugural ‘UCL in the Middle East’ event nodded in agreement at the words of Dr Seth Anziska (UCL Hebrew and Jewish Studies), who was joining in a lively discussion by Skype from the USA.

Jonathan Dale (right) talks with attendees at UCL in the Middle East

Jonathan Dale (right) talks with attendees at UCL in the Middle East

Focusing on a range of contemporary issues – ranging from urban development and cultural heritage to healthcare and education – ‘UCL in the Middle East’ was the second regional-specific event that had been organised by Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, Pro-Vice-Provost (Africa & the Middle East) and the Global Engagement Office. The first event, Knowledge Africa, took place in June.

Open to academics and professional services staff from around the university, these events have offered the opportunity to hear from a range of speakers, network and take part in panel discussions to share ideas and learn more about UCL’s collaborations in a specific area of the world.

Questions from the audience encouraged thought-provoking debate on some hot topics in the Middle East, including the balance of encouraging entrepreneurship while also allowing for intellectual property ownership and the idea of post-conflict ‘interventionism’.

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