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King’s College London Celebrates USA Week 2016

November 29, 2016
King's College London

King’s College London hosted USA Week in November 2016, featuring work produced as a result of the UNC-King’s Strategic Alliance and other activity with U.S. partners. A King’s review of the events of USA Week follows.


King’s hosted USA Week from November 14 to 18, a celebration of our engagement with United States. A wide array of events, including cultural performances, guest lectures, panel discussions and information events encouraging our students to study in the U.S., ran throughout the week to highlight our long-standing relationship with colleagues and partners in the United States. In the run up to USA Week, King’s was honoured to host Matthew Barzun, U.S Ambassador to the UK for a series of workshops on “Applied Wikiplomacy: Diplomacy for the 21st Century,” which explored what light the special relationship between the U.S. and U.K. can shed on the habits and behaviors that will be required to influence change in a networked world.

USA Week was opened by Lewis Lukens, deputy chief of mission at the United States Embassy, London. In his opening address, Lukens spoke of what Winston Churchill called the “special relationship” that exists between the U.K. and U.S., with the timely observation that “over the decades, it has adapted and remained relevant, regardless of the challenges facing our world, and whichever administration is in office on this side of the Atlantic or back home.” Lukens also noted that “ultimately the future of our special relationship will be in the hands not of politicians or diplomats like me. It resides with you, the students and young people here in the room today.”

The opening event included a panel discussion where Lukens was joined by Emanuel Adam of BritishAmerican Business, Denice Peet of Caterpillar Inc., Mary Denyer of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission and Douglas Bradburn of Mount Vernon. Our own John Bew from the War Studies Department moderated the discussion. With an interesting combination of academic and commercially focused panel members, the discussion was thought-provoking at a particularly interesting time for U.K.-U.S. relations.

Events over the course of USA Week included well-attended presentations and panels such as a talk from the Fulbright Commission on postgraduate study and scholarship opportunities in the U.S. We had the pleasure of hosting colleagues from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) who are a long-standing and valued partner. UNC was the focus of our “Study Abroad in the USA” session that included a visa surgery with the U.S. Consulate. In the middle of the week a discussion and networking event included speakers sharing their experiences of starting a career in the U.S.

Sir Lawrence David Freedman gave a guest lecture on the future of U.S. foreign policy that was fascinating and timely given the new president-elect Donald Trump. Michael Rainsborough is head of the War Studies Department at King’s and was present to introduce Freedman who outlined trade as a key area to watch as political changes both in the U.K. and U.S. unfold.

Another highlight of the week was a virtual symposia on pharmaceutical sciences and the history of health sciences. Six presentations showcased wide array of transatlantic doctoral research currently being conducted with the University of California San Francisco.

Throughout the week King’s was very pleased to welcome colleagues from UNC Chapel Hill, Mount Vernon, Georgetown University and George Washington University. King’s has a strong historical relationship with many partners across the Atlantic and following the success of USA Week, King’s looks forward to continued research collaborations and a thriving exchange of staff and students in the future.The final event was a riveting reading of “The Black Pioneers of UNC-Chapel Hill,” a play written by Joseph Megel that describes the experience of UNC’s first black students. The performance was introduced by Raphael Woolf from the Department of Philosophy, who described the performance as a “powerful and moving dramatization of the voices of some of the earliest black students to attend UNC-Chapel Hill.” Woolf also said that “the collaboration between distinguished director Joseph Megel from UNC and a group of committed performers from the King’s Players Society provided a fitting illustration of the partnership between our institutions and brought alive a history that we still have much to learn from.”


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