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Sameer Bhat

Sameer Rashid Bhat is a 2018 Rhodes Scholar from Kashmir (India) and a Master of Public Policy student at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. He graduated from Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) India in 2018 with a B.A. LL.B. (Hons.). His work experience ranges from internships with corporate law firms to research assistantships with government bodies. Sameer’s finest policy experience came through assisting a member of the Law Commission of India (tasked to initiate reforms in laws and policies) on electoral and judiciary policies. 

At GNLU, Sameer helped establish the Centre for Law and Society, a community legal aid clinic and focal point for socio-legal research. He served as its Student Convener for 3 years, while also serving on the Moot Court Committee and taking on the role of the Managing Editor of the Indian Journal of Constitutional and Administrative Law. In his final year at GNLU, he also served as the Convener of the Student Welfare and Grievance Redressal Committee, a body that parleys with students and the university administration.

Georgiana Epure

Georgiana Epure is a Gates Cambridge Scholar alumna. At Cambridge, Georgiana completed an MPhil in International Relations and Politics, researching the politics of international criminal justice.

In 2017, Georgiana returned to the University of Leeds, where she had previously completed her BA. Back at Leeds, as an Economic and Social Research Council funded-scholar, Georgiana undertook an MA in Social Sciences Research Methods and worked as a research assistant at the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. She is currently an intern in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.

Georgiana is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Responsibility to Protect Student Journal and a Women Deliver Young Leader Fellow advocating for the introduction of comprehensive sexuality education in the Romanian scholar curriculum. 

Michael O'Keefe

Michael O’Keefe is a postgraduate student and Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. A proud Newfoundlander and Canadian, Michael is an alumnus of Memorial University, where he completed his Bachelor of Music (Honours) with a double major in Trumpet Performance and Musicology in 2018. At convocation, he was awarded the University Medal for Academic Excellence in Music, as well as the Chancellor’s Award and Fry Family Foundation Scholarship, the University’s highest honours for leadership. Michael is deeply interested in the nexus between music, diplomacy and public policy in the pursuit of solutions to global challenges. His undergraduate thesis was entitled “Musicalizing Diplomacy: Strengthening Canada’s Role in Global Leadership.”

Michael represented Memorial University’s undergraduate community as a member of Senate and on the Students’ Union Board of Directors, and he represented the University at Converge 2017, a Universities Canada conference of future innovators, creators, entrepreneurs and community leaders from Canada’s universities to discuss what Canada can become in the next 50 years. He was also selected as one of ten Canadian and ten American university students to attend the Fulbright Canada Youth Institute on Canada in the World, and co-authored a report on the future of Canadian foreign policy and Canada-US relations.

Liangliang Zhang

Liangliang is a Gates Cambridge Scholar pursuing a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Her current research explores the experiences of a geographically dispersed network of self-cultivators who draw on Daoist, Confucian and Buddhist traditions to enable self-improvement and self-healing. Through long-term, multi-sited fieldwork in China, Liangliang explores the kinds of self-transformation enacted in this community of practice, the forces that give shape to participants’ pursuits, and the relation between self-cultivation traditions, individual ethical projects and nationalist identity formation. Liangliang’s experiences in conducting ethnographic research, building social entrepreneurships projects, and working with nongovernmental as well as intergovernmental agencies have informed her commitment to promoting collaborations across disciplinary, socioeconomic and cultural divides.

Originally from Zhuhai, China, Liangliang graduated from Duke University in 2016 with a degree in International Comparative Studies and completed her MPhil in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

Georgiana Epure is a Gates Cambridge Scholar alumna. At Cambridge, Georgiana completed an MPhil in International Relations and Politics, researching the politics of international criminal justice.

In 2017, Georgiana returned to the University of Leeds, where she had previously completed her BA. Back at Leeds, as an Economic and Social Research Council funded-scholar, Georgiana undertook an MA in Social Sciences Research Methods and worked as a research assistant at the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. She is currently an intern in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.

Georgiana is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Responsibility to Protect Student Journal and a Women Deliver Young Leader Fellow advocating for the introduction of comprehensive sexuality education in the Romanian scholar curriculum. 

 

Liangliang is a Gates Cambridge Scholar pursuing a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Her current research explores the experiences of a geographically dispersed network of self-cultivators who draw on Daoist, Confucian and Buddhist traditions to enable self-improvement and self-healing. Through long-term, multi-sited fieldwork in China, Liangliang explores the kinds of self-transformation enacted in this community of practice, the forces that give shape to participants’ pursuits, and the relation between self-cultivation traditions, individual ethical projects and nationalist identity formation. Liangliang’s experiences in conducting ethnographic research, building social entrepreneurships projects, and working with nongovernmental as well as intergovernmental agencies have informed her commitment to promoting collaborations across disciplinary, socioeconomic and cultural divides.

Originally from Zhuhai, China, Liangliang graduated from Duke University in 2016 with a degree in International Comparative Studies and completed her MPhil in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

Michael O’Keefe is a postgraduate student and Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. A proud Newfoundlander and Canadian, Michael is an alumnus of Memorial University, where he completed his Bachelor of Music (Honours) with a double major in Trumpet Performance and Musicology in 2018. At convocation, he was awarded the University Medal for Academic Excellence in Music, as well as the Chancellor’s Award and Fry Family Foundation Scholarship, the University’s highest honours for leadership. Michael is deeply interested in the nexus between music, diplomacy and public policy in the pursuit of solutions to global challenges. His undergraduate thesis was entitled “Musicalizing Diplomacy: Strengthening Canada’s Role in Global Leadership.”

Michael represented Memorial University’s undergraduate community as a member of Senate and on the Students’ Union Board of Directors, and he represented the University at Converge 2017, a Universities Canada conference of future innovators, creators, entrepreneurs and community leaders from Canada’s universities to discuss what Canada can become in the next 50 years. He was also selected as one of ten Canadian and ten American university students to attend the Fulbright Canada Youth Institute on Canada in the World, and co-authored a report on the future of Canadian foreign policy and Canada-US relations.

Sameer Rashid Bhat is a 2018 Rhodes Scholar from Kashmir (India) and a Master of Public Policy student at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. He graduated from Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) India in 2018 with a B.A. LL.B. (Hons.). His work experience ranges from internships with corporate law firms to research assistantships with government bodies. Sameer’s finest policy experience came through assisting a member of the Law Commission of India (tasked to initiate reforms in laws and policies) on electoral and judiciary policies. 

At GNLU, Sameer helped establish the Centre for Law and Society, a community legal aid clinic and focal point for socio-legal research. He served as its Student Convener for 3 years, while also serving on the Moot Court Committee and taking on the role of the Managing Editor of the Indian Journal of Constitutional and Administrative Law. In his final year at GNLU, he also served as the Convener of the Student Welfare and Grievance Redressal Committee, a body that parleys with students and the university administration.

GSS 2019 Executive Committee Recruitment

Are you passionate about addressing some of the great challenges of our global society? Would you like to work in a team that seeks to secure speakers such as Nadia Murad, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Yuval Harari for a three-day symposium at the University of Cambridge? Join our team and help us shape and organise the Global Scholars Symposium 2019!

The Global Scholars Symposium (GSS) is an annual three-day event that seeks to connect, inspire, and challenge postgraduate students in the UK. Founded in 2008, GSS brings together some of the world’s most accomplished and promising scholars to connect with remarkable global leaders in a focused setting.

Being part of the GSS Executive is an opportunity to shape and facilitate the dialogue and debate between emerging scholars and world leaders about how to meet the great challenges of global society.

We are looking to recruit five postgraduate students from any UK university to lead the 2019 Global Scholars Symposium, which will be held at the University of Cambridge.

Responsibilities of the GSS Executive

Once selected, the GSS Executive will allocate responsibilities amongst themselves and work together to deliver GSS 2019. Responsibilities include:

  • Selecting the theme for GSS 2019 and shaping the structure of the event
  • Securing keynote speakers, panellists, small group facilitators and workshop facilitators
  • Developing and managing the budget for GSS 2019
  • Selecting a GSS organising team and working with the committees to implement communications, speaker logistics, conference logistics, delegate selection and social events for the 2019 Symposium

To apply, please send your CV and a one-page statement of intent outlining why you would like to be involved and any ideas you have for the vision of GSS 2019 to globalscholarsboard@gmail.com by 30th November 2018.Graphic1

 

Difference of opinion must necessitate debate and dialogue but in today’s time it compartmentalizes individuals in environments unsuitable for any discussion. This has led to gaps in societies world over and therefore, the choice of “Mind the gap” as the central theme for the three day long Global Scholars Symposium (GSS) was in sync with contemporary times. The GSS comprised 100 students from all over the World pursuing different post-graduate courses on various scholarships studying in the United Kingdom. Our generation of academicians and change-makers carries the responsibility of not only being mindful of these gaps but also of bridging them well. We spent many hours at the Cambridge Union brainstorming about many of these gaps and ways in which we could bridge them.

We started with Lord John Bird’s passionate keynote address, where he shared with scholars his first-hand experience with poverty. He implored his young audience to aim and strive towards poverty prevention and not gloat over poverty alleviation techniques, arguing that they are designed to inculcate dependence and perpetuate poverty. He explained how charity reinforces procrastination as he shared how he started the “Big Issue”- a news magazine sold by homeless individuals, that gave them a channel to redeem living with pride and dignity.

From minding the gap between poverty management and poverty prevention we then moved on to our first panel on “Deconstructing the Ivory Tower”, where each panelist outlined what they meant by an “Ivory Tower”. The panel offered competing and yet insightful narratives to justify their interpretation, that ranged from the need to preserve Ivory Towers to incubate reasoned academic opinion to the need to completely eliminate them and replace them with safe spaces for free speech. The panel also grappled with the act of balancing quality of academic opinion with enhanced access to all sections. Each panelist underscored the importance of reaching out to public opinion and help shaping it with reasoned commentary to bridge its gap from the “Ivory Tower”.

What followed next was an intriguing presentation by Dr. Samantha Nutt, who showed how most places of conflict are located in weapon importing global south and most weapon exporters are developed countries. Pointing out how even the permanent members of the UN Security Council gain from the economy of conflict, she appealed to global scholars to do their bit to pressurize their Governments to have arms trade regulations in place.

From one difficult gap we navigated to an even more pressing gap- that of climate justice. The panel discussed the Paris Accord, the silver lining in India and China over-achieving their stated targets and the dark cloud in the form of the new US administration dilly-dallying on its commitment to the accord.

The concluding keynote address of Day 1 by celebrated transgender woman activist Precious Davis gave the GSS -2017 its own mantra that reverberated on all three days, “We are the ones we have been waiting for!” She called upon her audience to appreciate diversity, overcome our deepest fears, rebel against oppressive conformity and to live in our own skin. Her session made each one of us suddenly think about the gaps in our own lives and struggles and gave us the confidence to overcome them.

The second day of the conference started with an inspiring talk by Nobel prize winner and Taliban conqueror Malala Yousufzai’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai. Now known for being Malala’s proud father, Zia, who has been a career diplomat had the courage to keep his school in Swat Valley open even during Taliban occupancy. Malala’s mother accompanied him and both of them identified “education” (not indoctrination) as the best strategy to mind the most divisive gaps in society.

The panel discussion that followed deliberated upon the important trends and learning from current movements world-over. Noting that there was enough fodder to cheer as well as deplore in the mixed bag of global undercurrents, the panel discussed how one could identify correct sources of information and learn the right lessons.

We then discussed the gaps between the uses and limitations of the concept of “allyship” in the next session, where we mooted on the most effective model of allyship, one that provides a push towards self-management of affairs rather than usurping of decision-taking authority. In minding these gaps of differing genres, by now one could inter-connect some of them- such as Lord Bird’s advocacy of constructive intervention to eliminate poverty was in sync with the general agreement in this session on allyship.

In the concluding keynote address of the day, Professor Paul Davies left us spell bound by his presentation on how prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination impact our daily living. Not only did he present extensive statistics and data out of his own fieldwork, he conducted an impromptu test on his audience that involved identifying the perpetrator of a crime, which we failed miserably. This indicated to us that there might be gaps so built into our lives that it might take special efforts in merely finding out about them.

Our final day at the Cambridge Union started with Tarell Alvin’s keynote on how he used his platform as an effective writer to share stories left out of the mainstream. What followed was an engaging panel discussion on representation in popular culture, in which each panelist identified the “gaps”- that of objectification, entrenched stereotypes and pursuit not of quality but of audience eyeballs- the two often contradicting one another.

The penultimate session of the GSS touched a raw nerve of many scholars, as the panel offered competing chronicles on “authentic peace building”. From Rwanda, to Venezuela, the panel dealt with the need of community participation, allyship that was not an unwelcome imposition and strategies that scholars can take back with them to combat threats to peace.

As the symposium was drawing to a close, the proof of its success was in the somber discussions among scholars- we had identified so many difficult gaps that some of us were wondering whether any were even surmountable? All we needed was a concluding address by Simona Miculescu, (who had served as Romania’s ambassador to the United Nations) that was laced with an overdose of positive spirit. She shared with us in detail how the United Nations had not been an overall failure and identified specific noteworthy achievements to its credit. Her own life story of being a career diplomat (Romania’s first woman in many fields) from wanting to be an actor was one that we all heard in upbeat spirit. As she counted her achievements, Simona was equally candid about her challenges, especially in Baghdad. She asked us to never hesitate in following our hearts and told us how she started a rock band comprising different ambassadors to the UN and combined her hobby with UN’s message for peace.

Apart from these sessions and keynotes, GSS 2017 also convened breakout groups simultaneously every day, which discussed various gaps in society in an informal setting in smaller groups. The formal dinner at Downing College, the silent disco and the open mic night also gave scholars from world over an opportunity to interact with one another. We learnt about each other’s work, ambition, passion, motivation and scholarship programs. I returned to Oxford having made good friends from the Gates and Chevening scholarship communities and having interacted with students from almost all of UK’s reputed scholarships.

“Minding the gap” was a formidable task made enjoyable thanks to the warm hospitality scholars received at the University of Cambridge and the sheer quality of participation in the symposium. The global scholars network has agreed to an action roadmap to follow up from where the symposium ended. Each participant returns to their host University and chosen course after being exposed to both, the gaps and the strength to make individual as well as collective efforts to fill them.

Written by Abhijay Negi

The author is a Louis Dreyfus Weidenfeld Hoffmann Scholar pursuing International Law and Comparative Law at the University of Oxford.

 

1) The Cambridge University Botanic Garden

cambridge_university_botanic_gardens

Cambridge University’s beautiful botanic garden is home to more than 8,000 different species situated on 40 acres of land.

For those keen on the outdoors, the Botanic Gardens are a great way to enjoy the fresh air without having to leave the city centre.

 

2) The Fitzwilliam Museum

fitzwilliammuseum

Just a fifteen minute walk from the Cambridge Union where GSS 2017 will take place, the Fitzwilliam Museum is the arts and antiquities museum of the university.

The museum houses over half a million paintings, sculptures and artifacts. Best of all, admission is free!

 

3) Punting on the river Cam

punting_on_the_river_cam

There may be no better way to enjoy the summer weather in Cambridge than taking a punt down the river Cam. Taking the flat-bottomed, gondola-like punt boat down the river has been a favorite recreation activity in Cambridge since Edwardian times.

The GSS 2017 conference will take place May 26-28, which is peak punting season!

 

4) Peterhouse College

old-court-and-chapel

Founded in 1284, Peterhouse College is the oldest constituent college in Cambridge! Peterhouse College, which is south of the central Cambridge campus, has been home to five Nobel Laureates.

 

5) Christ’s Pieces Park

christs_pieces_summer

Christ’s Pieces is a Victorian park in central Cambridge. Christ’s Pieces is popular with students and tourists, particularly in the spring and summer months. The park is home to Milton’s Walk, named for former Christ’s College resident and poet John Milton.

FrameWorks’ Interdisciplinary Team of Social Scientists
Takes Guesswork out of Communications Practice

When advocates at nonprofit or non-governmental organizations want to change public opinions about social issues, they often look to experts in marketing and public relations. These communications professionals carry out a range of valuable activities that aim to raise awareness about issues, change attitudes, and build support for change. They generate news coverage, produce advertisements and marketing materials, cultivate social media audiences, and more. These professionals focus on and specialize in getting messages out.

But this work frequently skips a vital first step: getting messages right. Social science research across many disciplines—from social psychology to linguistics and sociology to political science—has found that frames shape the effects that messages have. Through elements like images, values, messengers, facts and figures, and metaphors, frames communicate who is responsible for a problem and what kinds of solutions are needed to address it. They affect whether the public considers an issue an important problem that needs systemic solutions.

Even when communications professionals do consider how to frame an issue, they either go by instinct or commission a poll or focus groups that gauge reaction to messages. But these methods tend to be poor measures of the outcomes that advocates are pursuing—moving opinion, increasing support and creating engagement in a social issue. Instead, typical message testing simply measures the “likeability” of alternative wordings. Using “likeability” as a benchmark may do more harm than good, as it is likely to yield recommendations that merely reinforce existing understanding. Using these methods, it’s nearly impossible to arrive at communications that open up new perspectives.

As a result, social issue advocates have no way of knowing whether their (often costly) communications activities will have meaningful, long-term impacts. They don’t know whether the way they are communicating about an issue is in fact changing people’s attitudes and behaviours in the directions they desire. And, worse yet, they don’t know if their tactics might actually be undermining their cause.

At the FrameWorks Institute we believe that there is a better way of creating framing strategies that consistently move understanding and support in desired directions. We believe that communications research is a worthy investment and that communications questions are empirical questions.

A Multi-Disciplinary Approach
We are a multi-disciplinary team of social scientists working to help experts and advocates communicate in ways that are empirically proven to be effective. As social scientists, we understand that public attitudes about social issues are deeply entrenched as the pictures and thoughts in people’s heads that together add up to “culture.” We know that changing cultural norms involves more than catchy slogans, well-placed op-eds, elegant logos, and viral tweets. We know that long-term social change depends, first and foremost, on how ongoing frame contests play out. And we know that developing effective frames requires input from disciplines beyond marketing and public relations.

That’s why we developed Strategic Frame Analysis®, an interdisciplinary approach to communications that applies social science methods to communications on scientific and social issues. While framing has been called a “fractured paradigm” within the academy, our approach integrates methods and findings from across disciplines, designing studies and experiments that operationalize the extensive scholarly literature on frame effects. Our team includes:

• Anthropologists like myself, who analyze and catalogue the widely shared cultural assumptions that lie under and shape public opinion about social issues;
• Linguists, who develop metaphors that help people understand complex, abstract issues through concrete, familiar analogies;
• Sociologists, who ensure that framing strategies help people think about systemic, structural changes rather than individual behaviors; and
• Political scientists, who design experiments that test different framing strategies for their ability to move support for public policies.

We work together, across disciplines, and the results are clear. Over the past 16 years, we have worked on social issues all over the world to good effect. In the United Kingdom, we are working with advocates and experts to reframe public opinion about child development and maltreatment, criminal justice, the economy and poverty. This work has been used to guide campaigns, drive professional development programs and shift the strategy of leading charities and third-sector organizations.

At FrameWorks, we go beyond guesswork. We weave our interdisciplinary skills together to come up with evidence-based strategies to make change and strengthen society.

 

Nat Kendall

About this blog contributor | Nat Kendall-Taylor, Ph.D | Twitter: @frameworksinst
Nat Kendall-Taylor is Chief Executive Officer of the FrameWorks Institute, a think tank that designs empirical communications strategies to help nonprofit organizations drive social change. In this role, Nat leads a multi-disciplinary team of social scientists in studying public understanding and exploring ways to reframe such pressing issues as criminal justice reform, immigration, taxation, early childhood development, addiction, environmental health, education, public health and climate change.

Highlights from May 14, day two.

Our opening keynote on Day Two was from Professor Margaret MacMillan, on “Learning from the past: history in the present”.

MacMillanKeynote

Professor MacMillan encouraged everyone, regardless of their background, to learn history, and not just the facts, but how it’s made as well. History changes over time; Professor MacMillan explained how genetics and archaeology have revised understandings of human migration over time. History cannot predict the future, but it can help formulate questions. For example, in the first age of globalisation, before World War I, radical politics emerged in response to large economic shifts. Perhaps most important, Professor MacMillan told the delegates that history helps us realize humility.  

 

Next, GSS Executive member Amba Kak introduced Rhodes Scholar Seham Areff in conversation with Panashe Chigumadzi, titledSweet medicine, Coconuts and Kool-Aid”.

panashe

Panache shared a passage from her debut novel, Sweet Medicine, then spoke with Seham and delegates about the Rhodes Must Fall as well as Fees Must Fall movements in South Africa. Panache emphasized how the movement confronted issues of access and belonging in higher education at the intersection of race, gender, and economic status.

jrnlsm

Isabel Hilton’s keynote broadened  nomadic peoples, about the ‘low-intensity’ proxy wars fought in Central America and thought of as marginal by elites from hegemonic countries. She spoke about the consequences of siloed knowledge in disciplines, noting that ‘managing mangroves isn’t on any engineering syllabus,’ and the disastrous environmental consequences that has produced.

Collier

Sir Paul Collier with fellow Keynote Speaker Isabel Hilton, OBE.

 

 

After lunch, GSS Executive member Anne introduced Sir Paul Collier. Sir Collier carefully explained a novel economic model he constructed to understand corruption among tax collectors. His advice for non-economist delegates: read outside your field. Sir Collier gleaned a key part of his theory from perusing the quantum mechanics literature.

 

 

Throughout the day, delegates met for breakout sessions.

 

zoughbie breakout

Dr. Daniel Zoughbie on healthcare in low-resource settings.

Gabrielle Newell’s breakout session on successful and failing social interventions.

Gabrielle Newell’s breakout session on successful and failing social interventions.


hockfield

After breakouts, GSS Executive member Michael Mackley introduced MIT President Professor Susan Hockfield, who delivered a rousing talk on “The 21st Century’s Technology Story: The Convergence of Biology with Engineering.” In her talk, Professor Hockfield highlighted the fascinating work happening at MIT to improve renewable energy and medicine. She implored delegates to remember the critical role of government Research and Development funding.

gavin better

GSS Executive member Carlos Gonzalez then introduced Ambassador Michelle Gavin in conversation with Master of Public Policy Student Mastewal Terefe about International diplomacy in Africa.

Ambassador Gavin, who became pregnant while serving, explained that being a mother both limited her work and allowed her access to communities and topics that would have otherwise been closed. ‘A conversation about kids turns into a conversation about the future real quick,’ she opined.

In a separate interview with Media and Communications, Ambassador Gavin, a Rhodes Scholar, reflected on the Rhodes Must Fall movement. ‘Very few people…who end up with a Rhodes association haven’t wrestled with these responsibilities.’ She currently directs the Africa Center in New York, which aims to address negative misperceptions and stereotypes of Africa by supporting artistic and intellectual collaborations.

 

 

Delegates and speakers then headed out for an elegant formal Dinner at Wadham College, followed by a “Meet and Mingle” drinks reception at Rhodes House.