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Professor Tariq Ramadan at the UCLU Arabian Society

news editor29 May 2012

Over the past 18 months the world has witnessed historic change in the Middle East.

Unprecedented and unpredictable, the dynamics of transition in the Arab world have defied analysis and fuelled debate, and raised a plethora of essential questions for us to consider.

Since October, the UCLU Arabian Society has hosted a series of lectures and discussions to promote the education of the Middle East at UCL, reflecting the prominence of the ongoing events while always making sure to maintain a strict secular and apolitical stance.

In doing so, the society has seen its membership reach record levels, with a large percentage of its members coming from non-Arab backgrounds for the first time.

The successful programme, which helped the society win the award of UCLU’s Most Developed Society of the Year, has comprised student debates investigating the prospect of democracy in the Middle East, seminars examining the patriarchal culture of Arab societies and the role played by women in the uprisings, and also invited guests such as BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner to talk to the society.

The society has also strengthened its co-operation with other UCLU societies such as the UCLU European Society, with which it hosted a discussion on European foreign policy in Libya as part of UCL’s European Focus Week in November.

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The UCL Awards for Enterprise – inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs with stories of the last

news editor25 May 2012

A startling and inspiring story marked UCL’s fifth Annual Awards for Enterprise – that of Professor Roger Ekins, who invented technology that enables a single drop of a newborn baby’s blood to be used to test for thousands of different substances and ensure that they begin life in the best possible health.

Yet the technology – now used in hospitals around the world and worth billions of dollars annually – started with research by one man, who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the ceremony in recognition of his accomplishments.

It summed up the mood at the Awards – this year, with an appropriately chosen Olympic theme – of a feeling that a vision, with nurturance and support, can become a success that defies expectations.

Some visions for the enterprises awarded were very inspiring and exciting – especially Art Stavenka’s eye-catching bikes that can display 3D animations, ads and cartoons on the wheels.

A demonstration at the reception afterwards quickly grabbed the assembled guests’ attention, having already achieved that of the judges – resulting in an Award of £7,500 in funds to kick-start his business, Old Bond Ltd.

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Looking back (and forward) at student volunteering

news editor6 February 2012

UCL’s Volunteering Services Unit is marking a decade of facilitating student volunteering with a photographic exhibition in the South Cloisters.

The VSU has also produced a document – Student Volunteering: UCL’s Commitment – that outlines the university’s ongoing dedication to voluntary services. Ben Davies was at the joint launch event on 30 January.

Twenty-two photographs currently line the walls of UCL’s South Cloisters. Taken over 10 years, they show a variety of seemingly mundane activities: individuals gardening, having a cup of tea and a conversation, or preparing some children for a game of netball.

The scenes depicted are of the everyday, but they are also hugely important, for they are scenes of the minutiae that many of us take for granted in our lives, and without which we would be lost: company, conversation, welcoming surroundings and fun.

For the past 10 years, UCL’s Volunteering Services Unit has harnessed and encouraged the energy of the university’s students in helping to provide these often underappreciated necessities to those, both in the local community and further afield, who cannot access them easily.

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Lord Robert Winston on the morality of Science

news editor26 January 2012

Does science have a moral compass? UCL Second year History undergraduate Daniel Bowman discusses the highlights of a lecture by Lord Winston hosted by UCL Jewish Society on 18 February.

As the education director of the UCL Jewish society, my primary focus has been to invite and host successful figures in a variety of different fields to talk about thought provoking topics that are important to students. The hallmark of our talks has been the question and answer sessions, which often go well beyond the allotted time.

This was certainly the case with Lord Winston’s talk. The theatre was filled far beyond capacity, with students crammed into aisles and in the corridor, making the atmosphere of the talk especially exciting. It was without doubt the talk that I was anticipating the most, and it definitely surpassed all expectations.

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