February 2016


Working to solve the refugee crisis

  Dr Will Jones

Dr Will Jones (2004, and former Junior Research Fellow in the Social Sciences) and Alex Teytelboym, research fellow at Oxford’s Institute for New Economic Thinking (and Lecturer at Balliol 2010-2012), have proposed a possible solution to the refugee crisis. They argue that the European Union could create a centralised ‘matching system’. Applicants would rank European Union countries by order of preference and submit that ordering to a central clearing house. The proposal can be read in full on the New York Times website.

Eric Lubbock, Lord Avebury

Photograph by Paul Davey/
Demotix/Corbis, 2013 

We are greatly saddened to learn of the death of Eric Lubbock, Lord Avebury (1945), Honorary Fellow of Balliol, on 14 February 2016.

In 1957, together with his mother, Lord Avebury set up the Maurice Lubbock Memorial Fund in order to commemorate his father. The trust, of which Lord Avebury was chair for 56 years, supports Engineering and Management at Balliol - the two subjects which were dear both to him and to his father.  


Chemistry award for Balliol Fellow


Professor Dermot O'Hare 

Congratulations to Professor Dermot O’Hare (SCG Fellow, Professor of Chemistry and Tutor in Inorganic Chemistry), who has received a University of Oxford MPLS Impact Award, which recognises excellence in ‘generating broad user interactions that achieved impact or are conducive to achieving impact’.

Expressing his pleasure on receiving the award, Professor O’Hare said, ‘It recognises the effective and long-term collaboration that has been established between Oxford Chemistry and SCG in Thailand, through the creation of the Oxford-SCG Centre of Excellence in Chemistry.’ 

Professor Daniel Butt makes the case for redressing historic colonial injustices at Omar Azfar Lecture

Professor Daniel Butt 

The second Omar Azfar lecture on social justice was delivered by Professor Daniel Butt on Tuesday 23 February. His talk was entitled ‘Historic Injustice, Political Philosophy, and Public Policy: So What Happens Next?’ Professor Butt drew on a wide range of historical evidence, and offered an eloquent and compelling moral argument about the need for societies which have benefited from past injustices such as slavery and colonialism to think about how to offer restitution to the descendants of these communities.

The annual Omar Azfar lecture was inaugurated in 2015 to honour the memory of Omar Azfar (1987), who read PPE at Balliol and was strongly committed to the ideal of social justice. After graduating from Oxford, Omar went on to teach Development at the University of Maryland and the City University of New York. He developed bone cancer and died in 2009. 

Honorary degree for Professor Simon Lee


Photograph courtesy of
Liverpool Hope University

Congratulations to Professor Simon Lee (1976) on being awarded an honorary degree by Liverpool Hope University. Professor Lee is former Rector and Chief Executive of Liverpool Hope University College (1995-2003).

ERC grant for hatha yoga project


Image courtesy of SOAS,
University of London 

We congratulate Dr James Mallinson (1995) on being awarded a mid-career grant for a five-year project on the history of hatha yoga at SOAS, London University. The project also provides a post-doctoral position for Jason Birch (2008). Both James and Jason were supervised by Professor Alexis Sanderson (1967). 

Young Alumni at The Balliol Garden Party



Young Alumni are especially invited to join 600 current students, Old Members, and friends in the sanctuary of the College quads for The Balliol Garden Party on Sunday 8 May. Recline on the grass with a glass of champagne, try your hand at one of the giant garden games, or dance the afternoon away listening to Jack and Joel and Dot’s Funk Odyssey. For those with a sweet tooth, you can satisfy your cravings with unlimited waffles or cool off with some ice cream. 

There are only two weeks left to book special Young Alumni tickets at the discounted price of £25 per person. Don’t miss out on Balliol’s first Young Alumni event of 2016! 

Balliol rugby flourishes


Balliol’s rugby captain, George Badger (2014), has written a report on the flourishing Balliol RFC, and some of its impressive recent performances, including promotion to Division 1, and their recent triumph over Keble, the reigning Cuppers champions.

The club is always keen to hear from Old Members, and invites alumni to contact him if they are interested in knowing more about the rugby at Balliol.

Sweetheart Abbey manuscript


Portrait of Dervorguilla

The National Library of Scotland has acquired an early 14th-century Breviary from Sweetheart Abbey, a Cistercian abbey which was founded by Dervorguilla, co-founder of Balliol. This ‘monastic treasure’ is an extremely rare example of an early religious manuscript that was both written and used in Scotland.

Dervorguilla founded Sweetheart Abbey in memory of her husband John de Balliol. On her death in 1290 she was buried there next to her husband’s embalmed heart. The Breviary was written c.1300-1350.


If you would like us to mention in this section any significant work published this year or last, please contact Ginny Matthews.
Jack Shenker (2004) has published 'The Egyptians: A Radical Story' (Allen Lane/Penguin, 2016). The book uncovers the roots of the uprising that succeeded in toppling Hosni Mubarak, one of the Middle East's most entrenched dictators, and explores a country now divided between two irreconcilable political orders. Interrogating the country’s turmoil from below, his book argues that Egypt's struggles are intimately enmeshed with global patterns of oppression and resistance which stretch well beyond its borders.
Warwick Jessup (1982) has published 'The Teaching of Reality' (School of Economic Science, 2014). It is the first known translation into English of Tattvopadeśa, a work attributed to the great spiritual teacher Śankara. The text reveals the full significance of the great sentence ‘You are That’ (tat twam asi), which is said to convey the essence of the entire teaching of the Upanishads and to be the key to Advaita, the philosophy of non-duality.
Philip Mansel (1970) has republished his book on the court of Napoleon I, 'The Eagle in Splendour' (I.B.Tauris, 2015), and in 2016 has also published the first history of Aleppo in English, 'Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of Syria's Great Merchant City' (I.B.Tauris, 2016). In this latest work, Dr Mansel vividly describes Aleppo's decline from a pinnacle of cultural and economic power, a poignant testament to a city shattered by Syria's civil war.
Brian Doman (1955) has published the book 'The Classical Orthogonal Polynomials' (World Scientific Publishers, 2015). This book collects in one volume the main properties of the Classical Orthogonal Polynomials together with a number of less well known results and their derivations. The presentation is such that the material is accessible to anyone with a basic knowledge of calculus. After an introductory chapter, each following chapter is devoted to a particular polynomial. An appendix describes functions referred to in earlier chapters.




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