Monthly Archives: January 2014

Lo Family Scholarship awarded to Kent Business School students

Mr Tuo Li, who is studying for an MSc in International Accounting and Finance, and Mr Kenny Kung who is studying for a BA in Accounting and Finance, are this year’s recipients of the Lo Family Scholarship in Kent Business School. The Lo Family Scholarship ensures that Kent Business School can continue to educate the best and brightest students, irrespective of their personal and family circumstances.

The Scholarship was founded in 2012, thanks to a generous donation from Mr and Mrs Sammy Lo, and supports students from Hong Kong and China studying at Kent Business School.

Professor Martin Meyer, Director of Kent Business School, said “we are delighted to have made the first Lo Family Scholarship awards this year, and we are hugely grateful to the Lo Family for their support. One of Kent Business School’s strengths is its global network of alumni and supporters and, as we approach the School’s 25th anniversary in 2016, we look forward to working more closely with this important group. Our staff and students benefit hugely from the time and expertise provided by alumni, and those who provide philanthropic support are also valuable members of our community. Our supporters work in partnership with us to achieve our goal ensuring our students receive a quality international business education, supported by research excellence and a global outlook.”

If you would like more information about supporting Kent Business School, email giving@kent.ac.uk

Alumnus Gavin Esler appointed Chancellor

Award-winning journalist, broadcaster and author Gavin Esler has been appointed Chancellor of the University of Kent.

He succeeds Professor Sir Robert Worcester, who has retired from the position after seven years.

Gavin Esler – who graduated from Kent with a BA in English and American Literature in 1974 – will be installed as Chancellor during one of the University’s congregations ceremonies in July. As Chancellor his duties will include conferring degrees, chairing the University’s Court and representing the University on special occasions.

He takes office at a time when the University is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Born in Glasgow and brought up in Edinburgh and Northern Ireland, Gavin Esler has worked for the BBC since 1977. He was its White House-based Chief North American correspondent between 1989 and 1998 and has more recently been one of the three main presenters on BBC2’s Newsnight and the main presenter on Dateline London (BBC World and BBC News Channel). He is the winner of a Royal Television Society Award and in 2007 a Sony Gold Award for his radio documentary report on Sami al-Hajj, one of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay. Following the broadcast al-Hajj was released from American custody.

Gavin Esler is also a regular newspaper and magazine writer and commentator. As an author, he has written a book on American discontent (The United States of Anger, 1997), a book on leadership (Lessons from the Top: how leaders succeed through telling stories, 2012) and five novels. He is a BAFTA member and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

The University awarded him an honorary MA in 1995 and an honorary Doctor of Civil Law in 2005.

Kent’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow said: ‘I am delighted that Gavin Esler has accepted our invitation to be the sixth Chancellor of the University of Kent. His achievements and international profile make him the perfect choice for the role, and as an alumnus and Honorary graduate he has an important understanding of what the University means to its students and staff, past and present. I am confident he will be an inspiration to all our students and a marvellous ambassador for Kent in its 50th anniversary year and beyond.’

Gavin Esler said: ‘I am delighted and honoured to have become Chancellor of one of our great universities during its 50th anniversary year. I was lucky enough to be the first member of my family to achieve a university degree and my time in Canterbury inspired me greatly. I have a long connection with Kent and Canterbury and I hope to help other young men and women to achieve their ambitions through a wonderful university experience.’

Kent EDA alumnus shortlisted for first Tate IK Prize

Alumnus Evan Boehm, who graduated from Kent’s School of Engineering and Digital Arts  formerly Electronics) with a BSc in Multimedia Technology and Design in 2002, has been shortlisted for the first ever IK Prize, a new award celebrating creative talent in the digital industry.

Evan is an award winning director and coder, with a background in computer engineering and 3D graphics. He proposes to build an animated, interactive web experience that explores Tate’s collection of British art through the beautifully imaginative mind of an eight-year-old boy. You can find out more about Evan’s project here.

The winner of the IK Prize, to be announced on 6 February, will receive a prize of £10,000 and a £60,000 production budget to realise a digitally innovative project that will enhance people’s enjoyment of art. The winner’s work, along with presentations from those shortlisted, will be showcased at Tate Britain in 2014.

Ania Bobrowicz, Senior Lecturer in Digital Arts said ‘We are delighted that Evan has been shortlisted for Tate’s IK Prize. His idea demonstrates the creative potential of digital technologies to enhance audience’s engagement with art.’

A panel of six industry experts has shortlisted the four projects, and Tate invites the public to cast the seventh vote, so you have the chance to help Evan win this award! To vote, go to www.tate.org.uk/ikvote.

Good luck Evan!

Law School mourns the loss of Adrian Taylor, founding Director of Kent Law Clinic

It is with great sadness that the Law School has learned of the death of Adrian Taylor on 11th January 2014 at the age of 79 after a short illness.

Adrian Taylor was a lecturer in law in the University of Kent from 1967 to 1977. He was the foremost pioneer of clinical legal education in the United Kingdom, and in 1973 became the founding Director of the Kent Law Clinic.

Having obtained two degrees, first in modern languages and then in law, at the University of Cambridge, he started his career as a law lecturer at the University of Hull, and from there developed his critique of the role of the lawyer in society and of the adequacy of the traditional university education of law students. At the heart of his pedagogical method was the understanding that a scholarly legal education could be, indeed should be, integrated with both an engagement with legal practice and an interdisciplinary approach to the study of law and society. In 1974 he was quoted in a national newspaper saying, ‘In a new university we must ask what we are here for. Students are not blotting paper; they must test what they are told through experience.’

The new Clinic, with solicitor Larry Grant working alongside Adrian Taylor and dozens of law students, assisted members of the public in over 1,000 cases within its first two and a half years, mainly in the fields of housing, welfare benefits, employment, consumer advice and mental health. At least three cases received national attention, especially one for patients in a local mental hospital.

Although the University withdrew support from the Clinic in 1976, law students and staff, inspired by the example that had been set, continued to provide pro bono legal support to local people through projects such as Canterbury Community Aid and Canterbury Employment Discrimination Clinic. In 1992 the Kent Law Clinic itself was relaunched, and received his staunch support. In March 2012 he gave a lecture on the history of clinical legal education to a rapt audience of Kent staff and students, and in June 2012 he was a guest speaker at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the 1970s foundation of the Clinic. In November 2013 as a Patron he attended, with his partner Yvette Gibson, the formal public launch in London of the Kent Law Campaign for funding for a new building for Law Clinic offices and a mooting chamber. The current staff of the Law Clinic found his guidance and encouragement in recent years to be inspirational, and will sorely miss him.

Adrian Taylor was born in Leeds and attended Roundhay Grammar School on a Senior City Scholarship, and Trinity Hall, Cambridge on a Wootton Isaacson Scholarship in Modern Languages, obtaining a BA in 1956 (MA 1960). After National Service in the Intelligence Corps in Germany, he became the manager of The Soup Kitchens in London, and then taught modern languages for two years in Lagos, Nigeria.

He returned to Cambridge in 1962 and obtained an LLB in 1964 (LLM 1966) winning the University Prize for Jurisprudence. He was a lecturer in law in the University of Hull from 1964 to 1967, and from 1967 to 1977 was a lecturer in law in the University of Kent. He was called to the Bar in 1977 and practised successfully until his retirement in 2000 at 5 Essex Court and 4 Brick Court, Middle Temple in the specialisms of housing, family, planning and professional negligence.

During his career as an academic he served on the General Committee and later the Council of the Society of Public Teachers of Law, and on the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Legal Education (the Ormrod Committee, which reported in 1971).

In 1964 he gave a paper ‘Functional Aspects of the Lawyer’s Concept of Justice’ at an interdisciplinary seminar of lawyers and anthropologists at the University of Edinburgh, which was published in Juridical Review 13 (1966-67). In 1966 he organised and convened a conference at Cambridge on ‘Law and the Social Sciences’. His introduction to the proceedings of that conference ‘The Concept of a Law Degree: Law and the Social Sciences’ was published in 9 Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law 328 (1966-67) .

In 1971 and 1972 he gave talks on clinical legal education at the Universities of Glasgow, Hull and St. Andrews. In 1972 he initiated clinical legal studies at the University of Kent, founded the Kent Law Clinic and established the journal PRAXIS. He was Director of the Law Clinic and editor of PRAXIS from 1973 to 1976.

The legacy of his writing and activity in these years may be seen in the wide network of university law clinics in the United Kingdom today.

Preparation for our 2014 appeal underway

Work is underway to prepare for our 2014 telephone appeal, which will see a group of friendly and engaging current students hit the ‘phones to contact alumni.

Our annual appeal is an opportunity for you to learn about recent developments at the University whilst chatting to one of our student callers about life at Kent. We want to hear from as many alumni as possible and our students will encourage you to share your memories of life at Kent with them, in addition to letting you know about opportunities for you to support our work.

We’ll be calling alumni from 24 February to 23 March 2014 and we’ve keen to hear your ideas about how we should celebrate our 50th anniversary, as well as talking to you about how your support for the Kent Opportunity Fund is changing the lives of current students at Kent.

If you’d like to take part in our 2014 telephone appeal and speak to one of our student callers, please ensure that we have your current telephone number by updating your details or signing up for our online alumni community.

Kent Law Clinic secures refugee status for atheist on religious grounds

The Kent Law Clinic has secured UK asylum for an Afghan citizen for reasons of religion, despite him being an atheist. The case is believed to be the first of its kind.

The client involved had fled to the UK from a conflict involving his family in Afghanistan and was permitted to remain in the UK until 2013. He was brought up as a Muslim, but since arriving in the UK in 2007 at 16 years old he gradually turned to atheism.

The case was submitted to the Home Office under the 1951 Refugee Convention on the basis that if the client returned to Afghanistan he would face persecution on the grounds of religion – or in this case his lack of religious belief.

All legal support in the case was provided for free by Kent Law Clinic, which is a pro bono service provided by students and supervised by qualified practising lawyers from the University of Kent’s Law School, with help from local solicitors and barristers.

The case involved the Law Clinic lodging an extensive written submission with the Home Office, drawing on recent Supreme Court decisions, and including detailed evidence that a return to Afghanistan by the client could result in a death sentence under Sharia law as an ‘apostate’ – unless he remained discreet about his atheist beliefs.

Evidence also showed that because every aspect of daily life and culture in Afghanistan is permeated by Islam, living discreetly would be virtually impossible.

Claire Splawn, a second year law student at the University of Kent, prepared the case under the supervision of Clinic Solicitor, Sheona York.

Claire Splawn said: ‘We argued that an atheist should be entitled to protection from persecution on the grounds of their belief in the same way as a religious person is protected.’

Sheona York said: ‘We are absolutely delighted for our client. We also want to welcome the prompt and positive response of the Home Office. We believe that this is the first time that a person has been granted asylum in this country on the basis of their atheism.

‘The decision represents an important recognition that a lack of religious belief is in itself a thoughtful and seriously-held philosophical position.’

Kent Law Clinic is a highly successful partnership between students, academics and solicitors and barristers in practice locally. As part of Kent Law School, the Clinic aims to enhance the legal education of students through their supervised provision of a public service for local people who need legal advice and representation but cannot afford to pay for it. The Clinic has been a central part of the work of Kent Law School since the early-1970s.