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New Las Casas Institute launched at Blackfriars Hall
01 Dec 08
A new Oxford Institute launched this week, which aims to combine a commitment to scholarly enquiry and a vision to develop and expand innovative models of community service.
The new Las Casas Institute at Blackfriars Hall is named after Bartolome De Las Casas OP who has been described as “the founder of modern human rights”.
It will have research fields in migration and asylum, poverty and development, dignity and suffering and international institutions and governance.
In 2010, the Las Casas Institute will also be offering the first service learning scholarships in the University. Mature students applying to the Permanent Private Hall to study PPE, philosophy or theology will be able to apply for these awards. Students would need to hit the usual academic standards to gain entry, but the scholarship would include extra placements with NGOs and international organisations and where appropriate, focus their coursework on topics geared the Institute’s concerns.
New funds will also be available for postgraduates who chose the Institute as their academic base.
Among those who have agreed to contribute to its lecture, conference and colloquia programmes are The Director General of the BBC, Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP (Financial Secretary To The Treasury), Rt Hon Greg Clark MP (Shadow Secretary of State For Climate Change) and Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank (former Chief of Defence Staff and Director at Rothschilds).
Francis Davis, the new director of the Las Casas Institute
Our aim is to become a significant but specialist centre of scholarly enquiry with a focus on social justice and leadership for social change.
Rt Hon John Battle MP, former Foreign Office and Science Minister, has been appointed a Fellow of Blackfriars Hall and will play an active role in the Institute’s work.
The Institute’s new Director, Francis Davis said: ‘Our aim is to become a significant but specialist centre of scholarly enquiry with a focus on social justice and leadership for social change. We equally seek to find creative ways by which the wider region, and others nationally and internationally, can contribute to the Institute’s learning while we share the fruits of our research and that of the wider university with many who would not normally look to universities for such insights and resources.’
The new Institute will also build on the Hall’s extensive work with sixth formers nationally and young faith based leaders internationally. Last academic year Blackfriars worked with over a thousand sixth formers in the South East and North West as part of its Leaders To Come programme for 16 and 17 year olds. This year this will be complemented by a new Blackfriars Prize for the best inter-faith community service project run by young people at school or in a youth group nationally.