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Alumni Newsletter Edition 32 - Summer 2008 Hon DMus degree for Daniel Barenboim New Vice-Principal and Pro-Director Moving Tales from globetrotting alumni Launch of LIDC

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terEdition 32 - Summer 2008

HonDMusdegree forDanielBarenboim

NewVice-PrincipalandPro-DirectorMovingTales fromglobetrotting alumni

Launch of LIDC

News in BriefAlum



ter2 SOAS Summer 2008

Dr Mo Ibrahim, SOAS InternationalAdvisory Board (right) is warmlythanked by Professor Paul Webleyfor the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s£1.375m donation to Governance

Development in Africa.The ceremony on 17 March 2008

launched an initiative topromote knowledge and debate inAfrica on the economic, political

and legal dimensions of governanceand development on the continent

students undertaking a KoreanStudies programme.

e School is most gratefulto Madame Sochon Park YoungHi, Founder of the SochonFoundation, for making thisscholarship possible.

it is not only a reflection ofSOAS’ rich history in KoreanStudies, but is also a testamentto the innovative programmesand research the School offerson Korean language, cultureand beyond.

For more information onKorean Studies at SOAS, visit:www.soas.ac.uk/academics/centres/koreanstudies.

Dr Mo donates£1.375m for

Africa project

Library terraces reach RiBA shortlist

A Google first!

AcknowledgementsSpecial thanks to all alumni, staff, students andfriends of SOAS who contributed to this issue.

e views represented by individual contributors donot necessarily reflect those of SOAS.

SOAS photography: Glenn RatcliffeCover: Daniel Barenboim at his

DMus Honorary Degree ceremonyPlease send all correspondence to:

e Editor, AlumniNewsletter,SOAS, ornhaugh Street, Russell Square,

London WC1H OXGemail: [email protected]/alumni

Designed in-housePrinted by Linney Group on100% managed paper stock

Deadline for next issue: 30 Sept 2008

SochonFoundation’s £100,000boost forKorean Studies


Madame Sochon Park Young Hi ofthe Sochon Foundation pictured atthe SOAS reception with the Am-bassador of the Republic of Korea,His Excellency Dr Yoon-Je Cho

The extension of the North and eastSOAS Library Terraces (2005-6) wasshortlisted for a 2008 Royal Institute ofBritish Architects (RIBA) award.

Architects John McAslan +Partners ex-panded on the existing library building(1968-73) by leading architect the lateSir Denys Lasdun.

©© DD




An 18-month collaborative project onwater supply policy in Africa has won fund-ing from the W Charitable Foundation. AProfessor of Water and Development inAfrica, supported by an administrator anda research assistant, will be appointed to design and run the social sciences project.its purpose will be to inform current and future policy-making in Africa on watersupply. e W Charitable Foundation project will also fund eight scholarships forstudents from Africa – three on campus atSOAS and five scholarships for distance-learning students.

THiS summer SOAS is to be the first UKuniversity to migrate to the US mail andcalendar services, Google, and will even-tually adopt Google Docs functionality.Stay tuned!

MADAME Sochon Park Young Hi wasguest of honour at a special signingceremony hosted by Director and Principal Professor Paul Webley on 13February at SOAS to celebrate theSochon Foundation’s generous donationof £100,000 to the School.

Guests included the Ambassador of theRepublic of Korea, His Excellency DrYoon-Je Cho; the First Secretary to theAmbassador, Mr J K Park; and membersof SOAS staff.e £100,000 gi will beused to create an endowment fund thatwill generate postgraduate scholarships for

Letter from the Director





3SOAS Summer 2008

WeLcOMe to the second edi-tion of the re-designed AlumniNewsletter. its aim is to pro-vide you with the latest on theSchool and the achievementsand activities of your formercolleagues and tutors.

i am delighted that our newAlumni Relations team is set-tling in. ey are working veryhard to develop our invaluablenetwork of alumni across theglobe. So i hope you will stayin touch, and keep us in-formed of your travels, profes-sional achievements, volunteerwork, research and personalmilestones, wherever you are.

For the School, 2008 sawimportant developments –and i made productive inter-national trips to india andSingapore. in india, i evenfound myself co-opted on tothe silver screen when idropped in on the world fa-mous film studio city ofMumbai. it was not as a Bol-lywood leading man, i’mafraid – but as a non-speakingwalk-on part, “Taxi Passengerno. 2”, for an indian TV series.

i was in india at the invitation of thePublic Diplomacy Division of the indianMinistry of External Affairs. i visited sixHE institutions; Yash Raj Studios –spearheaded by Yash Chopra (SOAS in-ternational Advisory Board member)and Film City in Mumbai, giving talksand interviews throughout. in Mumbaii also met with alumna Udita Jhunjhun-wala (MA South Asian Studies 1992),who is keen to set up an alumni associ-ation in the city.

in March i accompanied Bill RammellMP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning,Further and Higher Education on his visitto Singapore to promote student recruit-ment to the UK. Alumni, working as cura-tors for Singapore’s national Heritage Board,served as my guides around three museums.

Back home, over the last few months,SOAS has established and renewed rela-tionships with several prominent organ-

isations, including the Sainsbury instituteof the Study of Japanese Art and Culture(SiSJAC), the W Charitable Foundation,and the Council for Assisting RefugeeAcademics (CARA), which will supportimportant academic projects.

We have renegotiated and renewed anew four-year agreement with SiSJAC for£31,000 pa, with £8,500 for books onJapanese art and culture for the SOAS li-brary collection. We have also signed anagreement with the W Charitable Foun-dation, who are generously funding anexciting new project on water policy-making in sub-Saharan Africa. We areappointing a Professor of Water and De-velopment in Africa to lead this 18-month project (see page 2).

Lastly, the Centre for Gender Studiesreceived a Pathfinder University Grantfrom CARA to support female academicrefugees. (see page 9).

On the financial front, i am pleased to

report that the most recentforecasts for this year show aprojected surplus of over £1m.Some of this is a result of one-off events, including an in-crease in interest resultingfrom the capital receipt for ourVernon Square student resi-dence, and increased vacancysavings of £200k.

ere has also been a £200krise in the contribution of full-fee courses, mainly due to im-proved recruitment to theDepartment of Financial andManagement Studies. isleaves scope for investment,while maintaining a smallbuffer reserve.

But as well as the future financial health of SOAS, i amalso placing enormous valueon the relationships we canbuild with partner institu-tions, organisations, andalumni in our speciality re-gions – Asia, Africa and theMiddle East.

Opening in July in theBrunei Gallery is an exhibi-tion of photographs from theAlkazi Foundation for the

Arts, new Delhi entitled Painted Photo-graphs: Coloured portraiture in India. Wehope you will come along to this andother exhibitions in the Brunei Gallery ifyou are in London.

Lastly, it is with great pleasure that i wel-come Professor nirmala Rao, ProfessorGraham Furniss, and David Christmas asVice-Principal (Learning and Teaching),Pro-Director (Research and Enterprise)and Director of Student and Registry Serv-ices, respectively, to the senior manage-ment team. eir expertise will beinvaluable to the School’s worldwide repu-tation. i’d also like to thank our currentPro-Director Professor Peter Robb for hisoutstanding service to the School. Wewish him luck on his research leave.

Finally, you’ll always be welcome inRussell Square, and i hope to meet withmany more of you on my future travels.

Best wishes for an enjoyable summer!

Wedding portrait by an unknown photographer and artist: gelatin silver print, watercolour and gold, c. 1900©© AALLKKAAZZII CCOOLLLLEECCTTIIOONN OOFF PPHHOOTTOOGGRRAAPPHHYY [[22000066..0044..00002299]]

Dear Alumni,

Director & Principal Professor Paul Webley reportson his productive trips to India and Singapore, andon exciting new developments for the School in 2008

News in BriefAlum




4 SOAS Summer 2008

FORMER Unweapons inspectorHans Blix (right) gavethe 2008 annual RuthSteinkraus-Cohen in-ternational Law Lectureon 10 March at SOAS.e event was co-hosted by the Centre for internationalStudies and Diplomacy (CiSD-SOAS) andthe United nations Association.

Dr Blix outlined his vision for greaterpeace in the world through better use ofthe rule of international law.

“We understand that it will take a greatdeal before we get to draing a world fed-eral constitution and that we shall be mov-ing very slowly to a better organisedworld,” he said. “Yet, it is meaningful toidentify and try to build on elements thathelp us move in this direction.”

Dr Blix argued the case for nuclear dis-armament and greater powers within theUn and criticised Britain’s legal case forbacking the US-led war in iraq.

Other speakers who have featured in theCiSD-SOAS international series this yearinclude Professor Paul Kennedy of Yale (3March) and Angelo Gnaedinger, DirectorGeneral, international Committee of theRed Cross (8 May).

Lady Parker, widow of the late Sir PeterParker, and son Nathaniel were honouredguests at the 18th Sir Peter Parker Awardsfor Spoken Business Japanese on 13 Febru-ary 2008 in the Brunei Lecture eatre.


Law and peaceby Hans Blix

SOAS soarsin rankings

SUCCESSFUL recipients of researchgrants since October 2007 include: DrErica Hunter (Study of Religions) whohas received £693,505 from the Arts andHumanities Research Council for her re-search on e Christian Library from Tur-fan; and Dr Ulrich Pagel (Study ofReligions) who was granted £299,420from the AHRC for Locating culture, reli-gion and the self: a study of the Tantric com-munity in Rebkong (East Tibet). A successful cross-faculty and interna-tional collaboration between ProfessorAndrew Gerstle (Japan and Korea) andDr Lucia Dolce (Study of Religions) onJapanese Art Rituals receives £39,780

from the British Council Prime Minister’sinitiative Fund. Professor Ian Brown (History; and Deanof the Faculty of Arts and Humanities) isawarded £17,284 by the British Academyand the nuffield Foundation for researchon the Criminalization of Colonial Burma.Dr Kevin Latham (Anthropology andSociology) receives £80,533 from theESRC for e Beijing Olympics, new mediaand identity in contemporary China; andDr Wang Tao (Art and Archaeology)£14,400 from Renmin University of Chinafor a visiting postdoctoral researcher. Dr Friederike Luepke (Linguistics) hasbeen awarded £10,400 from the Euro-pean Science Foundation for a work-shop on Documenting convergence anddiversity: Mande and Atlantic languagesin contact. Dr Katherine Ashby (Economics) re-ceives £116,999 ESRC funding for a post-doctoral fellowship on Householdfinancial management and its interest forintra-familial relations: adopting a crosscultural and cross disciplinary approach.Dr Nadje Al-Ali (Centre for GenderStudies) receives a British Academy visit-ing fellowship for £13,318 (see page 9).

SOAS and London Metropolitan Univer-sity are lead partners in “Capital L”, a con-sortium of London Colleges, which inJanuary 2008 won three years’ funding ofc. £600,000 to support the uptake of lan-guage learning studies by pupils through

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18th Sir Peter Parker contest


NEW VICE-PRINCIPAL AT SOASProfessor Nirmala Rao joins SOAS in

August as Vice-Principal (Learning andTeaching) aer 14 years at Goldsmiths

College, where she was Head of the Department of Politics (1999-2002) and

Pro-Warden (Academic) from 2005. Professor Rao has previously held

research positions at Runnymede Trust,the Policy Studies Institute and QueenMary and Westfield College, where she

was awarded her PhD in 1993. She has aBA (Hons) in Economics from Delhi University and MA and MPhil from

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Professor Rao has published widely on

urban governance and public policy.Her most recent book is Cities

in Transition: Growth and Change inSix Metropolitan Areas (2007)

A TOTAL of 34 applicants competed inthis year’s Sir Peter Parker Japanese lan-guage speaking contest. “We had eight finalists on the day,” said staffmember and alumna, Yoshiko Jones (MAApplied Linguistics, 1998), event organiser.“We had an audience of about 200, mostlyJapan-UK related business people.”

First prize went to Mr Louis Barsonwho read Philosophy at King’s College andis a Daiwa Foundation scholar. Secondprize went to Cambridge University stu-dent Mr Wenjie Ge; and third prize to MsMarta Gutowska from Poland (Kane-matsu Europe plc Warsaw office).

e contest was founded in 1990 by thelate Sir Peter Parker, himself a wartime(1944) SOAS student of Japanese, and is acollaboration between the School andJETRO (the Japan External Trade Organ-ization).

Sir Peter’s long association with SOAS iscontinued by his eldest son, Alan, whoserves on the Governing Body and the in-ternational Advisory Board .

SSTTOOPP PPRREESSSS:: NNeeww PPrroo--DDiirreeccttoorr ffoorr RReesseeaarrcchh && EEnntteerrpprriisseeProfessor Graham Furniss (SOAS BA in Hausa and SocialAnthropology, 1968-72; PhD, 1977) takes up his new post as Pro-Director on 1 August 2008. He will lead the implementationof the School’s academic strategy for research and enterprise,working closely with colleagues from across the School.

SSTTOOPP PPRREESSSS:: NNeeww PPrroo--DDiirreeccttoorr ffoorr RReesseeaarrcchh && EEnntteerrpprriissee


SOAS soarsin rankings

News in Brief





5SOAS Summer 2008

Panel members, SOAS staff and Arcadiarepresentatives (pictured) gathered in

February on the Japanese Roof Garden, atthe Brunei Gallery. From le: Kathryn

Oatey (ELDP manager), David Nathan(SOAS Digital Language Archivist),

Wayan Arka (panel member), RobertoZavala (panel member), Anju Saxena(panel member), Felix Ameka (panel

member), Barry Supple (Arcadia), GrahamFurniss (ELDP chair), Vera Soelloesi-Brenig

(VW DoBes), Anthea Case (Arcadia), Peter Austin (Director, EndangeredLanguages Academic Programme),Lenore Grenoble (panel member),

Susan Penfield (panel member), KarenRemnant (SOAS Research Grants Officer)

and Anna Greedharee (ELDP Grants Co-ordinator)

Endangered languagesawarded £1m in grants

SOAS LEAD PARTNER IN ‘CAPITAL L’ ROUTES INTO LANGUAGES FUNDINGGCSE, A-level and on to university. eaim is to reverse a downward trend in lan-guage learning by pupils aer the age of 14.

e consortium, with support from theSOAS-UCL Centre for Excellence inTeaching and Learning Languages of theWider World, also comprises the Univer-sity of Westminster, LSE, Birkbeck, Gold-smiths and the Open University.

it will offer London school-age studentsthe chance to try out a wide range of lan-guages and learning activities, to increaseand widen participation of language study

at higher education level. e initiative ispart of a £4.5m nationwide project, fundedby the Higher Education Funding Council(HEFCE) and the Department for Chil-dren, Schools and Families, which alsoseeks to raise awareness of the importanceof languages in civic regeneration and thenational economy.

For further information please contactMarva de la Coudray, Widening Participa-tion Co-ordinator [email protected] or Tel: 0207898 4552. www.lww-cetl.ac.uk

Overseas aid Minister at LIDC launch

THE Endangered Languages Docu-mentation Programme (ELDP)awarded almost £1million in grants to27 out of 65 applicants from institu-tions around the world, at its annualinternational panel meeting on 7-8February in the Brunei Gallery.

e ELDP, part of the Hans RausingEndangered Languages Project, is agrant-funding programme, whichsupports research and documentationprojects on end angered languagesworldwide. it is funded by Arcadia,formerly the Lisbet Rausing Charita-

ble Fund, and administered by the Re-search Office at SOAS.

in January this year, Dr AlexandraLeduc-pagel joined the team in the newpost of Research information and Liai-son Officer, to promote funding op-portunities and assist academics inmaking succesful research grant appli-cations.

The Research Office has alsolaunched a programme of seminarsby major funding bodies, includingthe Economic and Social ResearchCouncil (ESRC) and the Leverhulme

The London International Develop-ment centre (LIDc) was officiallylaunched by its chair Professor Sir An-drew haines (le) on 22 April at the Jef-frey hall, Institute of education in thepresence of the Rt hon DouglasAlexander, MP, Secretary of State forInternational Development (centre)and Professor Jeff Waage, DirectorLIDc (right).

e higher education Funding coun-cil for education (heFce) provided a£3.7million grant to the centre, which islocated at 36 Gordon Square.

e LIDc is the first joint academicinitiative between six Bloomsbury col-leges (reported last issue, 2007) and aimsto develop innovative collaboration inresearch and training in support of in-ternational development.

edited highlights of the openingspeeches can be heard on YouTube, theDepartment for International Develop-ment (DfID)’s preferred medium. Tofind out more about the LIDc, visitwww.bloomsbury.ac.uk/idc

First Person AccountAlum




6 SOAS Summer 2008

FOR many people our knowledge ofconflict is most likely to be gainedthrough reading newspapers and watch-ing television and experiencing terriblesituations in distant parts of the worldmomentarily before we switch back toour everyday lives.

Last year as i read about the 40th an-niversary of the israeli occupation of theWest Bank, Gaza Strip and the GolanHeights, i came across a quote from theBrazilian educationalist Paulo Freire:“Washing one’s hands of the conflict be-tween the powerful and the powerlessmeans to side with the powerful, not tobe neutral.”

Today i am living in the city of Hebronin the Occupied Palestinian Territories.i am in Hebron working as human rightsobserver with the Ecumenical Accom-paniment Programme in Palestine andisrael (EAPPi). e programme is runin israel-Palestine, by the World Coun-cil of Churches and, in the UK, by theQuakers. it seeks to support local andinternational efforts to end the israeli oc-

cupation and bring a resolution to the is-raeli-Palestinian conflict with a justpeace, based on international law andrelevant United nations resolutions.

i wanted to build on my academicbackground to understand the impacton people’s everyday lives of living withconflict and under military occupation.One of the main aspects of my work isto make people back home aware of thehuman rights’ abuses perpetrated inthis conflict.

in Hebron tens of thousands of Pales-tinian residents have their movementsseverely restricted by the army. Since2000, citing the protection of a few hun-dred settlers, the israeli military closedShuhada Street, the main commercialstreet of the area, closing all shops andsealing the entrances to the houses.

Palestinians are also forbidden todrive or walk on most of the city centre’smain streets leading to the destructionof the city’s commercial centre and lossof livelihoods.

As israel celebrates its 60th anniver-

sary as a nation state, the cost of the oc-cupation in financial and human termsto israelis remains high.

My work in Palestine and israel in-volves supporting the work of israelis aswell as Palestinians struggling to end theoccupation. For it is only through Pales-tinians and israelis working together toend the occupation that a just solutioncan be found – freeing people to get onwith their ordinary lives.

My message to people in other parts ofthe world is to take a leaf out of PauloFreire’s book – don’t wash your hands ofthis conflict but support grass roots ef-forts to bring peace to israel-Palestine.

For more information about the Ecu-menical Accompaniment PlacementProgramme in Palestine and israel,please visit www.eappi.org

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In spring 2008, Sultana (right) spent three monthsas a human rights observer in the Occupied

Palestinian Territories. Here she explains whatmotivated her to head out to the West Bank

News in Brief

by Sultana Begum (MSc Violence,Conflict & Development, 2004)

weeks of intensive languagetraining at SOAS. e current26 participants from all overEurope began the one-yearprogramme in October 2007and also attended training atSciences Po (Paris) and theBocconi School of Manage-ment (Milan).

EU Commission and com-pany representatives came tocongratulate the participantsand wish them well on thenext stage of the ETP, which

involves intensive languageand management training atWaseda University in Tokyoor Yonsei University in Seoul.

e reception was also at-

ree months in Hebronin Hebron

From le: Karim Khouider (ETPK participant), Sinae Lew (Korean teacher),Eun Bahng (SOAS Language Centre), Algis Skiautere (ETPK participant),Shu Hui Chou (ETP participant), Jean-Paul Fontenille (ETPK participant),Jaehee Cho, (ETPK co-ordinator) at the European module farewell party

Goodbye Europe.Hello Asia!EUROPEAn Commission repre-sentatives were among distin-guished guests at a farewellreception at SOAS to mark the com-pletion of the European module of aspecialist management skills project.

The EU-funded ExecutiveTraining Programme for Japanand Korea includes four

tended by SOAS Director andPrincipal Professor Paul Web-ley, Governing Body Hon-orary Treasurer MichaelFrench OBE, and SOAS lan-guage teachers.

ETP Korea participant andnovotel General ManagerJean-Paul Fontenille said theexperience had been enrichingand fulfilling.

“it has provided us with theconfidence to go to Korea andspeak/ write basic Korean. eSOAS teachers have beentremendous motivators andmentors,” he said.

On-line applications for the2009-10 ETP Japan (45 places)and Korea (15 places) are nowopen. For full details, visit:wwwwww..eettpp..oorrgg/

Students’ Union Sports & Societies





7SOAS Summer 2008

FOR SOAS Students’ Union Sports & Societies2007-8 has been a very active year. ere arenow well over 100 active sports and societiescovering a wide range of political, cultural andphysical endeavours.

Societies have put on many successful ex-


sold out. We’ve had successful confer-ences on Development and South Asianfilm, and the Palestine Film Festival isnow into its 11th year, and there hasbeen an explosion in societies celebrat-ing and learning about various cuisinesof the SOAS diaspora.

e Cake Appreciation Society and theTea Drinking Society both may seem tohave relatively tame aims, but aer a num-ber of culturally specific tea ceremoniesstudents would say otherwise.

Beyond this the Japanese Society had asushi demonstration from Victor Chuah,a second-year Japanese student who hasworked as a sushi chef. Both the Real AleSociety and Wine Tasting Society have

been to external festivals and events tostretch their palates.

Aer last year’s sporting successes (threepromotions) this was always going to be atougher year for our teams. nevertheless,the Women’s Basketball Team made it to theUniversity of London Union Cup final,narrowly beaten by Kings (itself unbeatenin five years). We also have a number of in-dividual athletes –Moses J K Arthur (male,sprinter 100m / 200m); Ibifa Ibrahim Idoni-boye (male, middle distance - 800m); andOmalara Farinde (female, sprinter 100m /long jump) – who are entering nationalstudent competitions, a first for SOAS.

A very successful tour of mixed men’sand women’s sports teams (football, rugby

and basketball) took SOAS students on aRoad Trip around the UK. e teams vis-ited, and scrimmaged, in Leeds, newcastleand Edinburgh, showing the oen under-appreciated side of SOAS students.

e Students’ Union is as lively as it everwas, and at the heart of it are the studentsocieties actively engaging in the widerworld. All alumni are invited to our events,we would love to see you if you are ever inthe area. Pop in and join in!

We will be having another SOAS SportsDay for students and staff aer the summerexams, and hope to organise some gamesagainst alumni for next year.

if you are interested, contact Aileen [email protected]

SOAS students are as lively, diverse and politically engaged as ever. Student UnionGeneral Manager, Peter Baran, roundsup the year’s events

AileenPuhlmann, oneof the threeelected ‘sabbati-cals’ (Co-Presi-dents on a yearout from studies)is snapped cam-paigning for postof Co-Presidentof the Sports andSocieties in theautumn term.Aileen, ClareSolomon andNizam Uddinhave been thethree SU Co-Presidents forthis academicyear (2007-8)

nEVER in his wildest dreams did second-yearundergrad Steve Lipscombe imagine becom-ing a pop idol in China. But when he entereda Chinese (Mandarin) singing competition forforeign students in Beijing he well and trulytook centre stage.

“To my great surprise i won and was en-tered to represent Beijing normal Universityin a Beijing-wide competition. it was open to

From cake tocampaigning


girl entered.” Steve (pictured), a BA Hon-ours degree in Chinese student, is currentlyon his year abroad. “ree rounds later, ifound myself representing BnU. ey evenarranged a coach to take my classmates tothe final to watch me,” he said. Steve camesecond in the final last December, which

was televised internationally on CCTV-4 during the Chinese new Year (SpringFestival) in February.

“You will catch a glimpse of me per-forming and a good handful of SOAS stu-dents supporting me – representing theSchool proudly as always,” said Steve.

ternal meetings and conferences. eAfrican Talent Show, now in its 4th year, was

foreigners of all ages – even a 10-year-old

Josh Warren(le, BA Studyof Religions,2007) wasamong final- ists from around15 universities at

the National Student Volunteer-ing Awards, hosted by the HigherEducation Academy, in Decem-ber 2007 at Wembley Stadium.

He was nominated for hiswork with KEEN which runs aplay scheme for disabled chil-

dren. A great number of SOASstudents fit volunteering intotheir weekly schedule and, thisyear, that contribution wasrecognised when Josh wasnominated for his work in Lon-don with KEEN, a charity run-ning a play scheme for childrenwith disabilities.

SOAS Volunteering Unit,launched in May 2007, has 300

students already signed up andover 180 opportunities listed –most linked to SOAS student in-terests: from human rights tomusic and to the regions coveredby the School.

To find out more (includingabout KEEN) or to advertise withus, please contact SOAS CareersService on 020 7898 4115 [email protected].

Careers forum on internationaldevelopment

Josh shines at volunteer awards

MORE than 280 SOAS students tookpart in a careers forum on internationaldevelopment in February, organised bythe SOAS Careers Service and U8Global Student Partnership for Devel-opment Society.

Alumni now working in internationaldevelopment returned to share their ex-periences and advise current students oncareer options in the field. e keynoteaddress was given by Simon Maxwell, Di-rector of the Overseas Development in-stitute (ODi), and followed by a paneldiscussion with Professor Alfredo SaadFilho, Head of SOAS Development Stud-ies department, and representatives fromSave the Children, VSO, Human RightsWatch and international Alert.

A lively evening concluded with a net-working reception in the Brunei GallerySuite. We are very grateful to all thealumni who took part. if you would liketo get involved in similar events in the fu-ture, please do get in touch by emailing uson aalluummnnii@@ssooaass..aacc..uukk

News in BriefAlum




8 SOAS Summer 2008

HHoonnoouurr ffoorr the Maestro

Acclaimed musician Daniel Barenboimembodies the SOAS spirit of buildingbridges and creating dialogue

WHEn piano virtuoso DanielBarenboim received the first-everHonorary DMus degree awarded

by SOAS, he remarked that if he weren’t sobusy professionally, he’d like to come andstudy at the School.

e award, presented by Baroness HelenaKennnedy QC, SOAS President and leadinghuman rights lawyer, was only the School’sfih honorary degree.

Barenboim is one of the most recorded clas-sical musicians of the last 50 years. And for theaward ceremony on 1 February, he broke offfrom his London programme of eight recitalsin which he played all 32 Beethoven Piano

Sonatas entirely from memory. But his hon-orary DMus degree recognises far more thanhis virtuoso status.

Barenboim is a cultural diplomat and astatesman. He holds – uniquely – both israeliand Palestinian citizenship, and both practisesand argues for tolerance in the Middle East.SOAS likewise researches and seeks to under-stand the region, teaching israeli, Jewish, Araband islamic music, cultures and languages, aswell as those of Asia and Africa, and offers ameeting place for staff and students from dif-ferent cultural backgrounds.

SOAS wished to celebrate the Barenboim-Said Foundation, and in particular the West-


in March 2008 Profes-sor John Anthony(Tony) Allan of SOASwas awarded the 2008Stockholm Water Prizefor his “unique, pioneering and long last-ing work in education and raising theawareness internationally of interdiscipli-nary relationships between agriculturalproduction, water use, economies and po-litical processes”.

e nominating Committee cited hisintroduction of important new conceptssuch as ‘virtual water’ and the ‘problemshed’ to emphasise that the most seriousproblems in water management are reme-died outside the water sector; that energyis the big issue; and that understanding thepolitical landscape is the most importantfactor in the water science/policy nexus.

His groundbreaking work has led toboth innovative new research and actionby individuals, large organisations andnGOs. “e improved understanding oftrade and water management issues onlocal, regional and global scales are of thehighest relevance for the successful andsustainable use of water resources.”

e Stockholm Water Prize, founded in1990, is awarded annually to any individ-ual, organisation or institution for out-standing water-related activites .

Award patron HM King Carl XViGustaf of Sweden will present ProfessorAllan with the $150,000 award (£75,000)at a ceremony on 21 August in StockholmCity Hall.

Water prize forpioneeringprofessor

On 17 April members of the familyof the late Professor Elisabeth Croll(21 September 1944 - 3 October2007) joined SOAS Director andPrincipal Professor Paul Webley andcolleagues in celebrating her life andwork at SOAS.

Following the unveiling of a plaque,a memorial seminar was held to com-memorate Professor Croll’s contribu-tion to scholarship and academic life,and a tree-planting ceremony took

place outside the SOAS Library.SOAS is very grateful for the fan-

tastic response to the Elisabeth CrollMemorial Fund, which has been setup to support charitable academicpurposes such as lectures, awardsand prizes, relating to Professor Crolland her research.

We would like to thank everyonewho has donated. if you would like tomake a gi or need more information,please contact us. aalluummnnii@@ssooaass..aacc..uukk

Memorial tribute to Professor Croll

Dr Irina Nikolaeva of the EndangeredLanguages Academic Programme in theDepartment of Linguistics at SOAS hasbeen awarded the 2008 Women of Dis-covery Humanity Award by the WingsWorldQuest (WWQ) organisation.

e award recognises the many yearsshe has spent documenting endangeredlanguages, most notably the Kolyma Yuk-aghir dialect, spoken by about 40 peoplein north-East Siberia as well as Uralic, Al-taic, and Paleosiberian languages.

e conferment ceremony takes placelater in 2008 in new York City where shewill receive an honorarium to supportfurther fieldwork in Siberia. e WWQhas celebrated and honoured women ex-plorers from around the world annuallysince 2003.

Dr Irina Nikolaeva,Woman of Discovery






Honour for tthhee MMaaeessttrroo

MAIN PIcTuRe: Daniel Barenboim, receiveshis degree from Baroness Kennedy.FAR LeFT, TOP (from le): Professor KeithHoward (Music Department), ProfessorPaul Webley, Baroness Kennedy, and DanielBarenboim. FAR LeFT, BeLOW (from le)Daniel Barenboim, Sabina Rakcheyeva, BenSellers and Khyam Allani

ABOve, LeFT: Ben Sellers (clarinet) andKhyam Allani (oud and drum).BeLOW: Sabina Rakcheyeva (violin)


Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings to-gether an equal number of Arab and israelimusicians, to promote music education andtraining in Ramallah,nazareth, and beyond.

Geraldine Auerbach,MBE, Director of theJewish Music institutebased at SOAS, said:“Daniel Barenboim is theperfect choice to embodythe SOAS spirit of building bridges and cre-ating dialogue.”

e Department of Music at SOAS, whichfirst offered lectures in music – indian music

– in 1949, bought its first piano only in 1997.it now runs the largest ethnomusicology pro-gramme in Europe. its staff and students

have been inspired byBarenboim’s discussions ex-pounded in his 2006 ReithLectures (and beyond),about how music commu-nicates and crosses borders,how it invites us to under-stand the world and how it

teaches us to listen to one another. Music, Barenboim has written, “provides

the possibility, on the one hand, to escapefrom life but, on the other hand, to under-

stand life much better. it is one of the bestways to learn about human nature”.

ree SOAS students provided music atthe ceremony: the Julliard-trained Azerbai-jani Sabina Rakcheyeva (violin), Chinese-British improviser and fusionist Ben Sellers(clarinet), and the iraqi-British KhyamAllani (oud and drum).

Fittingly, as Barenboim le the campus, astudent ran over to greet him excitedly.“Maestro, i was at your concert in Ramallahthree weeks ago. How wonderful it is to wel-come you here at SOAS!”

Professor Keith Howard(Department of Music)

Barenboim is a culturaldiplomat and statesman,who holds – uniquely –

both Israeli andPalestinian citizenship


Grant aid for refugee academicsTHE Centre for Gender Stud-ies has won a Pathfinder Uni-versity Grant from theCouncil for Assisting RefugeeAcademics (CARA), whichworks to defend and promoteacademic freedom worldwide.

in 2006 CARA launched acampaign of action, an emer-gency fund and a fellowshipscheme that received requests

for assistance from over 140iraqi academics. e SOASPathfinder Project aims totackle the challenges and needsof female academic refugees,who tend to suffer from doublemarginalisation. it provides di-rect practical assistance, men-toring and skill developmentfor up to four female academicrefugees every year; and is de-

veloping a resource and educa-tional package for other UKuniversities.

Dr Nadje Al-Ali, Directorin Gender Studies, has pro-vided an informal mentoringand skills programme at SOASfor Professor hana MalAllah, a refugee from the Uni-versity of Baghdad and leadingiraqi visual artist.

e lateProfessorCroll’sdaughter,Kather-ine (cen-tre) andbrotherJohnSpracketwith hiswife anddaugh-ters, atthe treeplantingceremony

SOAS Summer 2008 News in Brief

Alumni NetworkingAlum




10 SOAS Summer 2008

Kathi Erler (BA Politics and DevelopmentStudies, 2005): “Alumni in the regionplease do get in touch with me as i wouldlove to set up some regular meetings andbe a point of contact for interested alumni.”[email protected]

Ghassan Darwiche (MSc International Man-agement, Middle East, 2004) has worked atQatar islamic Bank in Doha, Qatar, wherefor over two years he was a top employee.He has now joined Standard CharteredBank in Bahrain: ‘My drive is to con-tribute something to the university thattaught me many things – i’m hoping toachieve together a positive outcome forour beloved SOAS.’ [email protected]

On 21 February 2008, Anja Funston (International Officer, SOAS) enjoyed meeting up withalumni over a meal at Cin Cin restaurant in central Vancouver, Canada. Pictured from leto right: Anja Funston, omas Manson (MA African Studies, 1977), David Raderecht(BA Chinese, 1959)* and his wife Frances Raderecht who worked as secretary (1956-61) toProfessor J N D Anderson in the Law department at SOAS where they met, and JuvaryaWarsi (BA Development Studies, 1997).

Florinne Clomegah(MA in Oriental

and Africanreligions, 2002)

lives and works inParis as a training

consultant. Aer more than eight

years in the UK anda few years in India,she has returned to

France where shegrew up. She is

looking forward to meeting other

SOAS alumni.

On 28 March 2008 our alumni informalcontacts in Chandigarh, Ranjit and AnilMalhotra, in association with the BritishHigh Commission, hosted a seminar enti-tled Migration – Myths and Realities… oneyear on at the Taj, Chandigarh for seniorgovernment, legal and Army institute ofLaw participants who debated the impactof the new Punjab Prevention of Human

Peter Mumford (MSc Economics, 2001)works for the Foreign Office and is cur-rently posted to the economic sectionof the British Embassy in Beijing. [email protected]




USA: Seattle/PacificNorthwest

United Arab EmiratesAbu Dhabi (&Lebanon)


PR China: Beijing

Adjunct Professor Yüksel Sezgin (MANME, 1999)[email protected]

Ziad Salloum (LLMBanking and Finance(with Merit), 2007): “i’ma legal consultant basedin Abu Dhabi the citywhere i was born andraised. i’m French, ofLebanese origin. At 16 iattended the American University of Beirutand graduated in 1999 with a business degree.i was a broker and private banker with one ofthe top banks in Lebanon for four years beforedeciding to change careers. i have been backand working in Abu Dhabi since the end of myexams in summer 2006.”[email protected]

Some of your alumni friends want to gettogether and have a party and shareSOAS stories. Please e-mail your coun-try alumni representative, Adam Mc-carty (SOAS Lecturer, 1996-8) to get aninvitation! [email protected]

Attention vietnam!

i have recently been appointed Alumni Relations Man-ager here at SOAS and i’m very much looking forwardto developing a programme of events, activities andcommunications for our alumni community worldwide.if you have any feedback or suggestions, do get in touch– i’d love to hear from you! Victoria Moss, Alumni Relations Manager. Direct Tel: +44 (0)207 898 4138

Greetings SOAS Alumni!

[email protected]

[email protected]

Feedback on alumni services – please contact us at [email protected] Sign up for the E-lumni Bulletin at www.soasalumni.org

Greetings SOAS Alumni!

Congratulations to Ramya Jirasinghe ((MAComparative Literature, 1996)whose bookA Map and a Compass Moon was short-listed for the 2008 Gratiaen Prize. Alumni interested in a get-together contact:[email protected]

Sri Lanka

India: Chandigarh

ailandank you to Dr Kusuma and Martin Ven-zky-Stalling for being wonderful contacts.ey have now moved from ailand. newvolunteers do get in [email protected]

Kerianne Panos (MScDevelopment Studies,2002): “in 2005, afterseveral years in Japan,i returned to Boston. iam currently a consult-ant for organisations in the Boston area. inow spend the majority of my time work-ing with the Boston Red Sox – assistingand teaching Japanese players (DaisukeMatsuzaka and Hideki Okajima), theJapanese staff and their families.”[email protected]

USA: Boston

Trafficking Act, 2008, along with the globalimplications of illegal immigration fromthe Punjab.malhotraranjiti [email protected]

� David Raderecht is featured in the army group photo on page 12Attention vietnam!





11SOAS Summer 2008 Alumni Networking

A little SOAS enclave in Switzerland

tion has established a chair of AfricanStudies at the University of Basel; and ourclose ties with SOAS continue. Having es-tablished my own company, P SchlettweinPublishing, specialising in Africa – witheverything and everyone that comes withit – i have been in close contact with med-ical research conducted in various coun-tries, particularly into Tuberculosis.

“e company has established closecontacts with one of the leading TB re-search hospitals, newly linked to SouthAfrica; and sponsors and supports thechief doctor (and personal physician toHH the Dalai Lama) at the Tibeten

John and Jennifer Clay created the ClaySanskrit Library (CSL) to introduce Classi-cal Sanskrit literature to a wide interna-tional readership. Aer graduating inSanskrit and Old iranian (Avestan) fromOxford, John went on to enjoy a successfulcareer as a financier.

in his years of international travel, John’sgreat regret was the lack of a treasury ofSanskrit books, which he could carry withhim. He also discovered that whereasmany students took a first year Sanskrit

Delek Hospital in Dharamsala. “Dr Dag Henrichsen, now Head

Archivist at the Basler Afrika Bibli-ographien and a renownednamibia specialist, has been atSOAS on an exchange basis. To-gether with him, i have publishedthe Basel Namibia Studies Series. He hasbeen the instigator of many specialist proj-ects here and has accompanied my father,the founder, from almost the beginning.

“Dr Sonia Abun-Nasr is Chief Librarianand responsible for library acquisitions.Her main field of expertise is West Africaand Mission History and she, too, hasclose research contacts with SOAS. Petra

Kerkoff is in charge of marketing ourpublications and Luccio Schlettwein,Chief Executive Officer is in charge ofkeeping everything running smoothly.

if you are interested in our library,www.baslerafrika.ch is well worth lookingat!” www.baslerafrika.ch

e Basler Afrika Bibliographien in Basel

Pierrette Schlettwein (BA history, withspecial reference to Africa, 1995) writes:“We are the Basler Afrika Bibliographienat Basel in Switzerland. Founded by myfather Carl Schlettwein over 40 years agoto collect bibliographical data, from thevery beginning we have been in closecontact with SOAS and the British Li-brary, specializing in South Africa - SouthWest Africa/namibia.

“Today, the library has expanded sig-nificantly; the Carl Schlettwein Founda-

course, very few went on to the secondyear. now his Clay Sanskrit Library makeseverything easier: the Sanskrit text, writtenin familiar Roman letters, faces the Englishtranslation, and the convenient pocket sizeis both elegant and practical.

SOAS’s contribution to the CSL team isimpressive. e two editors, Dr IsabelleOnians (PhD South Asia, 1994) and DrSomdev Vasudeva (MA South Asian Stud-ies, 1993) worked as General Editorsunder first Professor Richard Gombrich

Team spirit: the Clay Sanskrit Libraryand now ProfessorSheldon Pollock tomake John Clay’s vi-sion a reality. e Li-brary draws onexpertise from current SOAS staff DrWhitney Cox and Dr Andrew Skilton(South Asia Department), Dr Kate Crosby(Study of Religions Department) as well asformer students and staff Dr Simon Brod-beck (Research, Study of Religions, 1998),Stuart Brown (MA Language Documenta-tion, 2006), Oliver Fallon (BA Sanskrit,1992), Ridi Faruque (BA Sanskrit, 2003;MA in Languages and Cultures of SouthAsia, 2006), Chris Gibbons (BA First ClassHons Sanskrit, 2003 and Henry FisherAward, 2002; MA in Languages and Cul-tures of South Asia, Distinction, 2006), andPaul Wilmot (Languages and Cultures ofSouth Asia Department). Sir James Mallinson, Bt (MA in Area

Studies, South Asia, 1992-3) was awardeda distinction for his MA dissertation onsadhus and a £100 special prize for the bestSOAS Masters dissertation of the year.

All are involved in important ways,whether as first-rate translators and edi-tors, iT wizards or as key administrators,to bring the jewels of the Sanskrit tradi-tions to lovers of literature everywhere.www.claysanskritlibrary.org

Our 75 Years of Applied Linguistics(Winter/Spring 2008) brought aletter from Bruce R Littlewood

(Japanese Phonetics, February-May1945). As a schoolboy in wartime Britain,Bruce R Littlewood was a volunteer inthe Home Guard, on all-night tunnelduty to protect strategic tunnels on theSouthampton to Portsmouth route fromGerman sabotage. Aged 17 years, aercompleting his Higher School Certificate,Bruce was selected by his headmaster atPortsmouth Northern Secondary Schoolto go to SOAS for three months’ trainingon what he thinks was the last wartimeJapanese phonetics course.

Volunteers shared rooms in lodgings in

Hallam Street, where the rent for pre-warflats was c £1,000 pa. Every day the youngmen came up to Russell Square to studyon the military language course, whichconfined itself to knowledge of two mainverbs: ‘to have’ and ‘to be’. (e Transla-tor’s course took six months, and the fullInterrogator’s course lasted 18 months.) Bruce Littlewood writes: “I served inRAF Signals Intelligence. When we flewby civilian Sunderland flying boat toIndia we were allowed an extra 10lb lug-gage for the Kenkysha dictionary. Welater arrived in Burma a couple ofmonths before the end of the war withJapan in August 1945. I am still in con-tact with one of my comrades.”

e last wartime Japanese course?e last wartime Japanese course?

In Memoriam

Alumni NetworkingAlum




12 SOAS Summer 2008

A COnTinGEnTfrom SOAS were amongaround 500 alumni who attended theeighth ai-UK Alumni Grand Reunion2008, organised in collaboration with theBritish Council, which took place on 2 Feb-ruary 2008, at e Ballroom, Conrad Hotel,Bangkok, ailand.

e get-together, the biggest in the annualcalendar, gave alumni the chance to meet upwith representatives from UK universities, re-live good memories and to network.

On the menu were fish and chips, steak andkidney pies and other fine examples of Britishcuisine! Sue Yates, Head of Department ofinternational Foundation Courses and Eng-lish Language Studies, iFCELS and AAnja Fun-ston, international Officer, ailandrepresented SOAS. “Many thanks to all thealumni who attended an enjoyable evening -we hope to see you all next year.”Anja Funston (international Officer, ai-land) [email protected]

SOAS staff and alumni enjoying the ai-UK alumni reunion on 2 February 2008 in Bangkok.Amongst attendees were SOAS staff Anja Funston and Sue Yates, and alumni Ralph Kiggell (BAChinese, 1983), Martin Clutterbuck (BA Study of Religions, 1989), Simon Offley (BA Geogra-phy, 1989), Matthew Grose (BA ai, 1989), Paisit Goolchai (MSc Economics-Asia/Pacific,2001), Emeritus Professor Wibha Kongkanandana (Phd) – who attended with her daughterWiranut Kongkanandana – Foundation Diploma for Postgraduate studies, 2004 (not pictured)– and Ms Nidchabendha Chandanachulaka FDPS, 2002.


THANKS FOR THE MEMORIESTHAnK you to David Raderecht (BAChinese, 1959) who sent us some of hisarmy group photographs from the Chi-nese RAF language courses, 1955-7 and1956-8. David recalls all but one of his col-leagues’ names as follows:

BAck ROW - Pat Hannan (Lecturer), TedCramp, Pete Rayner, Ian Laval, Dr CyrilBirch (Lecturer). ThIRD ROW - Pat Cavendish, BrianMoody. SecOND ROW - Alistair Hunter,David Parsons, David Raderecht, BillDolby, the late Mrs Liu (ConversationCoach), Harry Simon (Lecturer).FRONT ROW - John Gittings, Don

Rimmington, Terry Bond and Michel Geoghegan.�� David Raderecht adds: in the 1950sthe RAF sent national Servicemen toSOAS to study for the Civil Service in-terpretership Examinations in Chinese.Generally, these courses comprisedthree people, but the 1955 intake wasthe largest at 15.

e photograph shows some of the1955 course and all three of the 1956course, with lecturers, Dr Cyril Birch,Mr Harry Simon, Mr Pat Hannan andthe late Mrs Liu. Many of these nationalServicemen went on to contribute tostudies in the language, arts and politicsof China. [email protected]

Nigel Brailey (BA hons Se AsianStudies, 1964; PhD in ai history)who died on 1 May 2008. Dr Brailey retired from the University ofBristol where he was Lecturer in Historyin 2005. He was a Senior Research Fellowat Bristol University’s Department of His-torical Studies.

Alumni whostudied chinesefrom 1949 to1981 will re-member fondlythe lively friend-liness of Mrs Yinc Liu, who diedon 31 March2008 at the ageof 93. A natural teacher, her classeswere always fun as well as instructive,and the same was true of her book FiyChinese Stories, which was the stapletext for teaching classical chinese atSOAS for more than two decades. Yinand her scholar husband Liu Jung-enle china at the time of the commu-nist revolution, and she came to SOAS.Aer retirement she stayed in closetouch, attending lectures and events,and was always interested in news ofthe many students she had taught.

Emeritus Professor Hugh Baker

Mrs Yin c Liu

e School regrets to inform you of thedeath of:Rehana Ahmed (BA African Studies,1994-7, First Class)Rehana was just 32 when she was killedby insurgents in Somalia along withthree colleagues on 14 April 2008. Shehad just begun teaching at the HiranCommunity Education Project inBeled-Weyne, about 190 miles north-west of Mogadishu. Born and raised inBirmingham, Rehana was a gied stu-dent, and aer SOAS studied for a PhDat the University of the West indies inKingston, Jamaica. A trip with her latefather to his homeland inspired her toget involved in helping the Somali peo-ple and she jumped at the chance to jointhe Hiran project, teaching English anddeveloping teaching materials aboutSomali history. She is survived by a sis-ter, Amina, and her brother, Khalil.

�� HHeeaarrttffeelltt tthhaannkkss ttoo eevveerryyoonnee wwhhoo hhaassddoonnaatteedd ttoo MMrrss LLiiuu’’ss MMeemmoorriiaall FFuunndd ffoorrtthhee bbeenneefifitt ooff CChhiinneessee ssttuuddiieess aatt tthhee SScchhooooll





13SOAS Summer 2008

Boris Santosi (BA Geography 1992) and EmmaSantosi (née Cruz, BA history & Politics 1992)have moved from South Africa to Dubai

Nichola Saunderscompleted her BA inAfrican Studies in1996. Her ‘YearAbroad’ in Nigeriahas expanded to over10 years

i WAS amongst the first of theSOAS Hausa students to spend ayear in nigeria. For my year abroad

i was placed in Kano, by far my most lovednigerian city, with its fantastic hustle andbustle and brisk chitchat.

is is a very friendly city with excep-tional historical sites that sit side by sidewith modern office blocks and street mar-kets and enough to do (and eat … won-derful restaurants!) to last a lifetime. Aeri returned to the UK early due to ill health,my Hausa mentor and friend Dr MalamiBuba joked that i had run away from hiscountry. Was this a red flag to a bull? Orhad nigerian juju done its best?

Well over a decade later, i am still innorthern nigeria, and still learningHausa! i have lived in Sokoto, Zaria, Os-ogbo, Kaduna and Bauchi, although mytravels have taken me to pretty mucheverywhere! During the early 2000s i

Moving Tales

Our global familyreports… five alumni

whose jobs have taken them places

Happy paddling off Dubai

Prima Wong(MA Area Studies,china, 1995; Post-graduate Diploma inJapanese for Business& International Af-fairs, 1996) former TVpresenter and DJ takesup a new post in Macau

Where in the world..?

AFTER graduating i joined the metal industry withpostings at various trading companies in London.Emma started a career in investment banking in the

City before we relocated in 1995 to Johannesburg, where iwas active in various commercial positions, dealing in alu-minium and precious metals. in 2003 we moved to Dubaiwhere we now live with our sons Jack (6) and Alex (2) –real SOAS babies! i am currently working as Managing Di-rector Africa, Middle East and South Asia for Alcan inter-national network, a multinational company engaged in thetrade of metals, minerals and specialty chemicals. Emma isfollowing a career as a teacher for nursery schools, whichshe enjoys tremendously. We would be glad to hearfrom SOAS alumni if you come through Dubai.

Carvings, le,by Gbadamosi, one of theartists in SusanneWengers SacredArts Movement,Osogbo, NigeriainSET FAR LEFT:Nichola Saunders andMalam Musaat Kurmi Mar-ket, Kano, Nigeria

spent four years at Ahmadu Bello Univer-sity (ABU), Zaria, where i read for myMasters in African Art History (yes, fouryears, with a cumulative two years ofstrikes and other delays, not to be recom-mended for the faint hearted!).

Despite the ups and downs experiencedby all students – studying by candlelightand taking exams whilst just about every-one walks in and out of the examinationroom with mobile phones … loudly! i hada fabulous time at this very lively univer-sity. it is well worth a visit just to see howbeautiful the gardens are and how greatthe art and drama is.

Although i may be a little biased i thinkthis is my favourite university in the coun-try despite the laudable art department atthe University of nigeria, nsukka. i havefound no other senior staff club in nigeriawith such great academic eccentrics, surelyworthy of a mention! in Osogbo i am very

fortunate to have been given the task ofrecording in a descriptive catalogue all artworks at Austrian artist Susanne Wengers’home, and to work in collaboration withUnESCO and the Austrian Governmenton a major restoration project at the SacredGrove itself.

it is wonderful to explore the SacredGroves of Osogbo, one of the last remain-ing areas of virgin rainforest in nigeria,where monkeys duck and dive between thesacred Yoruba sculptures and shrines.

e artists who work with Susanne, in the‘Sacred Arts Movement’, are a great bunchof mostly elderly Yoruba men with, collec-tively, a great sense of humour and kindspirit. i have spent many a day talking withShangodare (a batik artist and Shangopriest) and Ajibike (a metal sculptor whoknows enough Hausa to have a good oldfashioned gossip).

Back in the much more ‘calm’ (calmnesscomes in degrees of less hectic in nigeria!)north, i work now in collaboration with ateam of conservationists and rural develop-ment professionals in, and around, the na-tional Parks and Reserves of the north: thenigerian Conservation Foundation, theA P Leventis Ornithological Research insti-tute and Bauchi State Government.

My work is largely centered at YankariGame Reserve and is probably one of thebiggest challenges i have faced in nigeria todate. e Reserve, formerly a national Park,still has the largest population of elephantsin West Africa. i am presently managing �[email protected]

in november 2007 PrimaWong was appointed Directorof Public Relations at the FourSeasons Hotel Macao, CotaiStrip®, Macau.

Prima was part of the pre-opening team of Four SeasonsHotel Hong Kong (the citywhere she was born), and was

instrumental in positioning thehotel on the front pages of localand international media.

Prima is a former TV presen-ter and DJ for various major TVand radio stations, and hasworked for the BBC WorldService in the [email protected]

Moving TalesAlum




14 SOAS Summer 2008

correctionank you, also, to DrChristopher Reynolds fordrawing our attention toan incorrect caption onpage 7 of last issue. eSenior Lecturer, Readerand Professor of GeneralLinguistics at SOAS (1938-56) was Professor J R Firth(right) not, as incorrectlystated, Sir Raymond William Firth (LSE Pro-fessor of Anthropology). Our Registryrecords disclose, however, that the late SirRaymond was registered as a student on theMalay course from 1938-9 at SOAS.

Joanna Nim heung Yeung (BAhistory, 2002) describes her experience ofmoving to the UK from Hong Kong aged 10

i RECEiVED a comprehensiveschool education in the East End ofLondon, where some teachers hadto spend more time disciplining

badly behaved pupils, while pupils whowanted to get on with studying did not re-ceive much encouragement.

My negative experience did impact onmy student life later on. i struggled agreat deal in my first year at SOAS, anddid not pass my first year exams. How-ever with the help of the teachers, andclassmates, i received guidance to im-prove my learning skills and readingcomprehension of history.

i received extra support from the SOASEnglish language team for essay writingand in exam preparation skills. i success-fully passed my 1st year exam re-sit, the2nd year exams and assignments, and in2002, wrote my first dissertation and

HOW best can i sum up my timeat SOAS? A whirligig of freneticacademia? Trying to cope with re-settling in London aer never hav-

ing stepped outside india? Or abittersweet personal odyssey of discover-ing the self, as it never existed before,aided and abetted by one of the moststimulating on-campus atmospheres?

SOAS was a bit of everything to the cal-low twenty-something-er in me. it was acomplete educative sojourn, whichtaught me to be not just an aspiring goodstudent but somebody who could be ar-ticulate, outspoken and with multipleselves, transcending the classroom.

i recall it all from the oh-so free-spiritedcafeteria wallowing in fumes and talk oftomes, pet causes and passionate ideolog-ical themes, to the staid, book-lined li-

brary where intense scholastic endeavourfused with stolen conversation in whis-pers when supervisors weren’t looking.

i remember the friendly camaraderieof the canteen, the staircase vending-ma-chine rendez-vous point, the airy nichesof the Brunei gallery, affording a peekinto esoteric art. nor will i forget themadness of examination swots, frenziedpreparation for tutorials and seminar ses-sions and heart-breaks in the computerroom when the printers jammed the finalversions of our dissertations!

All over i experienced a feeling of re-lease, intellectual challenge, a mind en-couraged not to recede into boringconformity but to eternally query, askand chew over several times over beforeaccepting. Perhaps a greater virtue lay innot accepting at all the straitjacket anddaring to defy the routine.

it was an exhilarating experience to finda very 60s flavour in a late 90s world ofnew Labour, Cool Brittania and hip tech-nocracy. not that SOAS was cut-off fromany of these moods, but it was just that itretained an earthy idealism and a strong

sense of collective values at a time whento be trendy was to obsess with the selfand to talk pure market economics. Andthere was a strong cultural life on campus,not monochromatic and majoritarian, butcelebrating the different, oen wacky and,almost always, purely entertaining.

At times the cultural index got breath-takingly overcrowded, with tantalizingglimpses from the whole world. Yet onehas never felt as much a global citizen asin the courtyards just off Russell Square,starting with the sculpture of Tiruvalluvarnestling peacefully amidst the very grandOccidental buildings all around.

At SOAS, life was a Smörgåsbord of ac-tivism, career development, serious aca-demic work and a whole lot of fun! As ilook back aer what seems to be an eter-nity but is actually less than a decade, it isas if i carry a bit of the SOAS spirit in thedaily grind of existence: times of exhila-ration, hard work, passionate convictionand a desire to dream, where that o-re-peated line of poetry ‘Bliss was it in thatdawn to be alive’, truly summed upexistence… [email protected]

Whirligig of time: memories of SOAS, London

Joanna’s ambition-Olympics 2012!passed with a firstgrade. i have to thankthe SOAS teachingteam for their un-ceasing encourage-ment in motivatingme to keep goingwith my studies.

Aer graduating i was employed over-seas in China, and then i studied foran MA in Museum Management, whichi completed in 2004. i am currentlyworking at the Natural History Museumin London as a community learning offi-cer, where i engage people in learningabout the wonders of the natural world,and hope they will be inspired by theamazing nature life around us. My cur-rent aspiration is to work for the LondonOlympics 2012.

Since i’ve le the School, i have metmany past students and teachers. We are

all research and educational ac-tivities and all game protec-tion/reserve maintenance at

Yankari. We have a new research institute inside

the reserve for resident and visitingscholars with whom we are carrying outa number of studies, including a wetlandbird survey, bird ringing and a survey onthe lion population (which is positivelyon the increase).

it seems like yesterday that i was set-ting off with my backpack to Kano for myyear abroad, and i’d like to say that, yes,

you will hear that nigeria is a difficultcountry, but in my opinion the bestthings in life don’t always come in glossytravel brochures! i have travelled to quitea few African countries and still findnigeria is one of the most intriguing.

if you are coming to nigeria to do re-search or just to see the country,you are most welcome to email me

all very proud to be a part of SOAS andshare the same feeling of gratitude for hav-ing studied, or taught at SOAS, and it isgreat that we are still a part of the School,via the alumni association, now thatwe have [email protected]

Nichola in Nigeria


Sayantani GuptaJafa (MSc Develop-ment Studies, 1989),our Alumni Contact forKolkata, recalls her firsttime away from India

New Publications





15SOAS Summer 2008


Robert Louis Stevenson Fellow 2008

Managing World Order:United Nations Peace Operations and theSecurity Agenda

Halfwayto Venus:A One-armedJourney

We’d love to hear from you! Please contact us and send text and photos by 30 Sept 2008 to [email protected]



(Phd Politics, 1967) “…keenly insight-ful survey of Libyan Jewry’s social andpolitical evolution in the twentiethcentury.” – Professor Norman A StillmaniSBn 978-1-84519-137-5

e Jews of Libya: Co-existence, Persecution, Resettlement

Afghanistan for three years, training journalistsfor an American non-governmental agency and,from 2004, for a Un humanitarian news agency.Sally Cooper, who grew up in Australia, hasworked as a producer and journalist with ABCRadio in Sydney, and on radio projects inUganda, Kenya and Tanzania. She is currentlyenrolled on the MSc in Development Studies,2007-8 at SOAS. iSBn 9781405038591

A Burqa anda Hard Place(Pan Macmillan, Australia,June 2008)

(PhD Politics, 2003)THiS new monograph examines the po-litical reorientation of the United nationsaround peace operations since the end ofthe Cold War and the collapse of theSoviet Union. As well as a detailed analy-sis of the ideological transformation ofthe world body over the years, the bookoutlines the wider political and economicagenda of Un peace operations in threeseminal 1990s cases – Somalia, Rwandaand Angola. iSBn-13: 978-184511580

SARAH lost her arm to cancer aged 10. isis her autobiography. She set up the TravelBookshop in 1979 (made famous in the filmNotting Hill), was a judge for the omasCook Travel Book Award and for the Whit-

bread Biography Prize.Her published booksinclude Anderson’sTravel Companion, The Virago Book ofSpirituality and Inside Notting Hill.

iSBn: 978-0-9542624-2-6

(BA History, 1975).A MODERn his-tory novel of in-trigue and espionage set in Baghdad andLondon. iSBn 97809556105-09 www.picnic-publishing.co.uk

Picnic Publishing,2008) by Corinne Souza

(i B Tauris & Co, London, november2008) by Dr Richard K Alqaq e Lost

Ark of theCovenant

(Umbrella Books,London, May 2008) by Sarah Anderson(BA chinese, 1977)

Raman Mundair (BA History, 1995) is awriter and artist. She is the author of two

volumes of poetry, AChoreographer’s Car-tography and Lovers,Liars, Conjurers andieves (Peepal TreePress) and e Algebraof Freedom – a play –(Aurora Metro Press).Her collection of shortstories In the Light ofOther is due out in

2008. is year she is aScottish Poetry LibraryPoet Partner for EastDumbarton and a RobertLouis Stevenson Fellowat the Hotel Chevillon inGrez-sur-Loing, France.“Raman Mundair is a rare breed: a poetwhose writing works on the page and thestage. Her readings reveal the secret musicof the poem… Mundair is literature at itsbest: thoughtful, provocative and sharp.”– e Independent

“…painstaking historical scholarship,groundbreaking genetic science, and hair-raising fieldwork…” e Quest for the LostArk, a Channel 4 documentary on 14April 2008, tracedProfessor Parfitt’s re-search journeyacross the MiddleEast and Africa. eholy artefact whichcontained the TenCommandments,sacred to Judaism,Christianity andislam, disappearedfrom the Temple in Jerusalem when theBabylonians invaded in 586BC.

Visit www.soas.ac.ukfor further detailsof publications bystaff and alumniauthors, includingProfessor Sims-Williams, Pro-fessor WernerMenski, Dr T AHeathcote (PhDHistory, 1963)

and Professor Gabriel Warburg,(PhD History, NME, 1968, pictured).

(Sussex Academic Press, Brighton, Portland)by Professor Maurice M Roumani

(Harper Collins, 2008)by Professor TudorParfitt (Departmentof Near & Middle east Studies)

THiS is Sally cooper’saccount of working in

www.umbrellabooks.com© Jam

es Innes William


Authors at your fingertipsAuthors at your fingertips

10 July - 27 September 2008PPaaiinntteedd PPhhoottooggrraapphhss:: CCoolloouurr PPoorrttrraaiittuurree iinn IInnddiiaa::ffrroomm tthhee AAllkkaazzii CCoolllleeccttiioonn ooff PPhhoottooggrraapphhyyIs curated by alumni Rahaab Allana and Dr StéphanieRoy Bharath and accompanied by Vijayanagara: Splen-dour in Ruins (Mapin Intl, 2008) by alumni Dr GeorgeMichell (ed) and Sophie Gordon, amongst contributors.

Unknown photographer and artist: Grandsons of Begum Sultan Jahan of Bhopal: Habibullah Khan (1903-30) and Wahid uz-Zafar (1905-1922) wearing the sehera or wedding veil (modern gelatin silverprint and watercolour, c. 2002, from original glass negative 1910s, 297 x 250mm).© ALKAZI COLLECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHY [D2004.119.0001]

What’s on at the Brunei Gallery16 October - 13 December 2008EEddggee ooff AArraabbiiaa:: CCoonntteemmppoorraarryy AArrtt ffrroomm SSaauuddii AArraabbiiaaaanndd AA PPeeooppllee’’ss MMiiggrraattiioonn:: e Bakhtiari KuchPhotographic exhibition by Dr Caroline Mawer of onefamily during the seasonal migration.Visit: www.soas.ac.uk/gallery