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Editor’s note Message from the President(s) Clarendon Annual Reception 2012 The Clarendon Council: a timeline Museum visit Alumni news: Laura Pereira Meet a Fresher, featuring Paul Gerstmayr Meet the new Council . . . and the new newsletter team

EDITOR’S NOTE Dear Friends, The Clarendon Chronicle is a place for Clarendon Scholars and alumni to share their many experiences and life lessons. Although a young newsletter, it is read across the globe by friends and supporters of our community. All this has been made possible by the work of past editors and designers, in particular, the hard work of Thomas Tam and Erica Lombard. As we welcome the New Year and celebrate the Scholarship’s 11th anniversary, we hope you will continue to support this student led enterprise by submitting articles about your research and travels and sending ideas for improvement. The new team and Erica, who is continuing as our graphic designer, aspire to make your reading experience more enjoyable with interesting articles and features about events in the Clarendon community. We are introducing a new section titled, “Meet a Fresher,” and will attempt to include articles by our growing body of alumni who are leaving Oxford to make their mark in the world as Clarendon Scholars. We would love to publish your poems and short stories, or feature you in one of our editions, so do not hesitate to contact us at We wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year. Kunchok Dolma Chief-Editor, Clarendon Chronicle


THE CLARENDON CHRONICLE – Newsletter of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association

Message from the Dear Scholars, As the article by our inaugural president Brett Tully shows, the Clarendon Scholars’ Association is a young organisation established through the initiative and commitment of fellow scholars. The worth and potential of our Association still rely on these things. Our scholarship community is growing bigger and better every year. Over the past twelve months Scholars have worked hard to build the Clarendon identity in academic symposia, our beautifully presented newsletter, and a wider variety of social events. Most notably, the Clarendon term card is increasingly taking on a life of its own, as Scholars organise spontaneous exchange dinners and outings through our social networking pages. Nonetheless, we can always have more events and resources! The incoming council has fantastic plans for next year, and I encourage all scholars to get involved in contributing their ideas to the development of our Association. On behalf of the outgoing council, I would like to wish the new President, Rami Amin, and his talented team of councillors and assistants the very best for 2013. Best wishes, Claire Higgins 2012 President of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association


Dear Scholars, Having been recently elected as President of the Clarendon Scholars Council, I’m absolutely thrilled to be serving the Scholars Association in 2013. I have been involved with the Council in a number of capacities since matriculating at Oxford, and feel honored to be elected to this office and continue serving this community. Over the next year, our Council – which includes Hong Sheng, Timson, Nick, and Dansie – aim to build off the fantastic work of previous Councils, who have worked effortlessly to develop and promote our burgeoning scholarship community. We plan to repeat successful programs including the jointly-organized Global Scholars Symposium, trips to Stonehenge and Bath, outings to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform in Stratford-upon-Avon, concerts at the Sheldonian Theatre and trips to London's West End, academic publishing seminars hosted by the Oxford University Press, family afternoon tea events, and our annual Garden Party in Trinity. We also look forward to inaugurating a host of new events including termly Meet and Mingle soirees, exchange dinners with other scholarship communities in both Oxford and Cambridge, wine and whiskey tastings, athletic events, and interactive skills workshops. In addition, we also plan to begin engaging with our prospering alumni body, establish corporate relationships to provide professional networking opportunities for Scholars, and continue promoting our community and reputation both here in Oxford and around the world. Our council is very keen to hear new ideas about how to better achieve our mission, and so I encourage all Scholars – both new and old – to please contact me if you would like to share ideas for new programs you would like to see us organize, or for how we can more effectively govern our dynamic community. Ramtin Amin 2013 President of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association

Volume 2 Issue 1 – Hilary Term 2013



Annual Recept Scholars gather in style to celebrate the eleventh anniversary of the Clarendon Fund


THE CLARENDON CHRONICLE – Newsletter of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association

On 20th November 2012, Clarendon scholars donned their best suits and cocktail dresses to mark the eleventh anniversary of the Clarendon Fund at its annual reception. Following last year’s impressive attendance and celebration at the University’s Natural History Museum, the venue chosen for this year’s event was the equally stunning Oxford Town Hall on St. Aldates. The Clarendon scholars and University representatives enjoyed an evening of champagne and canapés alongside a

tion 2012 lively jazz band. The program included a number of speeches by representatives of the University and the Oxford University Press (OUP), the largest donor to the Clarendon Fund. In his opening address, Oxford University Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton celebrated the development and expansion of the Clarendon Fund and the diversity of its recipient scholars. Professor Hamilton recognized the crucial role played by the Fund in the University’s aim to attract

promising graduate students, irrespective of their nationality or financial circumstances. Nigel Portwood, OUP’s Chief Executive emphasized the importance of the press’ relationship with the University in providing scholarships and noted the many successful events the Press has organized for the scholars in the past. The speakers, in particular, remarked that 2012 was the first year EU and British applicants had been made eligible for the Clarendon Scholarship, meaning that now a few British accents could be

heard among the already diverse group of scholars gathered in the hall. The final address of the evening was given by Claire Higgins, the outgoing president of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association, who welcomed the new cohort of Clarendon scholars to Oxford and invited everyone to the All Bar One, a grand restaurant/bar on High Street for the Clarendon after party. The Association generously provided drinks and the celebrations continued well into night for many. Volume 2 Issue 1 – Hilary Term 2013


It was a freezing cold evening, the 20th of November 2008, as I huddled in The White Horse with Caitlin, Claire and Raj; doing what you always do in an Oxford pub—dreaming up big ideas.

The Clarendon Council: a timeline (and why the best ideas are always found in a pub!)


We had just come from the annual Clarendon reception where Professor Sue Iversen spoke about the benefits of closer interaction amongst Clarendon scholars. She could not have realized it at the time, but this was something that had been brewing in my mind for quite some time. I was fortunate to have found myself at ease in Oxford, but I realized that a huge part of this was feeling a sense of belonging. A part of a community. Oxford can be a pressure-cooker at times; the constant grey, the impossibly impressive colleagues, an international reputation that sets a standard you wonder if you can ever meet. The Clarendon Scholarship, we were told, was awarded to the best international post-graduate applications as judged by Oxford academics, experts in their field. We boast the largest community of any international scholarship, yet the community was dormant. A large potential—untapped! A large potential that could provide relief to its scholars, complementing the collegiate system through its diverse, yet like-minded, collections of people. Thankfully, I was not alone in my belief.

THE CLARENDON CHRONICLE – Newsletter of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association

By early February 2009, the dreams cooked up in a darkly lit booth just two months before were being presented to Jenny Carter and Lindsay Davis from the Student Funding Services and Rachel Goode from the Oxford University Press. Nervously, we pleaded our case. We needed to showcase the scholarship and its talented body within and outside Oxford. We needed an email list, a way to communicate to the larger community, a website! Something! We pleaded for support for scholar activities including but not limited to interdisciplinary forums, career events, and socials. Mostly, we wanted to build something special at Oxford for one of its special cores and as it turned out so did the University and in particular, Emma Sabzalieva, the then Head of Graduate Funding.

‘We needed an email list, . . . a website! Something!’ With full support from the University and more than a few pub-brainstorming sessions later, we launched the Clarendon Scholars’ Association from Exeter College on the 11th of May 2009. The first council formed that evening was open to anyone who wished to be involved.

There were no elections; if you wanted in, you were in! Twenty-five joined with a simple remit: to facilitate the social and academic interaction of Clarendon scholars, to boost the representation and reputation of the scholarship outside Oxford, and to maintain the links between scholars long after they leave the University. For the next five months, the council worked to build the infrastructure needed to fulfill these goals. By the time the summer was over, we had convinced the annals of Oxford bureaucracy to grant special permission for the www.clarendon. domain name and loaded the site with shiny information. We had collected scholar profiles and lists of journal articles, drafted a constitution, hosted a Garden Party, run a design competition for the logo and instituted the annual Fresher’s Welcome event. By 14th of October 2009, the backbone of the council was completed and the first elected Clarendon Council formed with a student body officially registered with the Proctors. An Oxford pub idea fully formed and realized in less than a year. On a personal note, I am glad to hear that the council continues to grow ever stronger, and I wish this year’s team all the best.

—Brett Tully Magdalen College, DPhil Biomedical Engineering; matriculated 2007

MUSEUM VISIT This autumn Clarendon scholars shared their expertise with fellow Clarendons about dinosaurs and extinct birds in a halfday tour of the University’s Museum of Natural History. As the Museum is expected to close for renovations throughout 2013, it was the opportune time to visit the University’s collections of zoological, entomological and geological specimens. The museum will reopen in 2014 and is a must see free attraction for everyone visiting and studying in Oxford.

Volume 2 Issue 1 – Hilary Term 2013


Alumni news: Laura Pereira

I am gazing out of the window of my office at the towering spires of Harvard University. For the South African for whom Oxford had become not only a home, but a way of life, trust me, this is quite a shock! At the end of my DPhil, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to work in the Sustainability Science Program based out of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. A semester into the job and everything is going well in the other ‘other place.’ Living with two fellow Hildabeasts* has made the transition easier – as has bumping into all the American Rhodes scholars who are now pursuing their PhDs back on this side of the pond. I must, however, say that the USA (and I have been told by many that New England is not indicative of the USA, but it is the sample I must work with) has been quite a culture shock—although this could be attributed to having arrived here at the crux of the American Presidential Election season. Suffice to say that if I never see another campaign advertisement


I will die a happy woman. The Kennedy School was immersed in the election spirit with tickets to the Forum’s Election Night Party being decided through a ballot—a system that could substantially decrease the queues outside the Oxford Union in St Michael’s street. In fact, the Kennedy school operates in a similar fashion to the Union – it prides itself on having access to some of the most influential people in the world – and there are photos lining the wall to prove this. Ap ar t from working on my research, I am also a teaching fellow for undergraduates in the College, which is a completely different world to the professional schools and definitely harks back to Harvard’s Oxbridge roots. I was even invited to a Faculty dinner at Quincy House by one of my students, the highlight of which was the young gentleman next to me asking whether I was also a Senior.** Finally, that quintessential aspect of any true higher education establishment:

THE CLARENDON CHRONICLE – Newsletter of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association

the rowing. The Isis, tragically, provides no competition to the Charles and powering through alongside Cambridge’s autumnal foliage is truly a magnificent experience – even if my blade is crimson emblazoned with a dollar sign to denote the Harvard Business School. Although there is no adequate replacement for Oxford, I am excited to explore the intellectual environment offered by America’s oldest institution of higher learning.

—Laura Pereira St Hilda’s College 2007-2012, DPhil Geography and Environmental Science; Clarendon Scholar 2008-2011

* Slang for students who attend St. Hilda’s at Oxford University ** Undergraduates in their fourth year at the University

Meet a


featuring Paul Gerstmayr

In 2011, the University decided to extend the Clarendon Fund Scholarship then in its 10th year to include all nationalities. In 2012, we welcomed our first cohort of EU and British Clarendon Scholars making the mix of students truly global. One of these students was Paul Gerstmayr, currently reading MSt in Oriental Studies with a focus on Tantric Sanskrit.

Born to a German father and a Korean mother, Paul became interested in Sanskrit at a young age. He had an affinity to language and was in particular influenced by a Pali course led by Richard Gombritch, founder-President of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. Paul’s Oxford undergraduate thesis focused on religious vernacular poetry from Medieval Kashmir while for his Master’s he hopes to write on a goddess based Tantric system of practice in India. He plans to apply for a doctoral degree at Oxford, which in his words “breathes history” and has a renowned collegiate and tutorial system. As Paul puts it best: “Education is a very personal experience, not a mass product,” and for him the Clarendon Scholarship has given the “opportunity to engage in graduate studies with the support and the network of fellow scholars,” whose academic excellence, diverse backgrounds and enthusiasm is motivational. He hopes to continue in academia in the future and will be engaged with the current scholar’s council in the capacity of an Alumni Relations Officer. If you want to catch Paul, you can either find him in Balliol College library deeply immersed in his work or at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. Paul Gerstmayr, Balliol College, MSt Oriental Studies; Clarendon Scholar 2012-2013

Volume 2 Issue 1 – Hilary Term 2013


MEET THE NEW COUNCIL President: Rami Amin

IT Officer:

Sebastian Bonilla

My n a m e i s R a m t i n , b u t everyone has been calling me Rami for years. When not working towards my doctorate, you can find me pedantically scrutinizing the verbose statutes of our Council's constitution.

I am Sebastian, your new council IT officer and my Colombian heritage requires me to delight my evenings listening and dancing to the rhythm of clave and congas in Salsa clubs at Oxford.

General Councillor:

Treasurer: Hong-Sheng Lim

Andrew Dansie

I am Hong Sheng, a third-year DPhil student reading Pathology. Dubbed the ‘destroyer’ of the lab, I have managed to break countless number of electronic equipments, so much so that my lab and the surrounding ones are enlisting my help to test electronic equipments before purchase. Please feel free to contact me if you need your very own Hong-Sheng-proof validation! Wait, most banking is now electronic, isn’t it?

Secretary: Tin Sun Lau (Timson) I am Timson, your new council Secretary. My professional and personal interests are all about the study of language, learning to use languages, and using languages to learn.


Hi, I’m Dansie, one of your two new General Councillors and when I am not working on my DPhil or organising awesome Clarendon events for the coming year I will hopefully be on an adventure somewhere.

General Councillor:

THE CLARENDON CHRONICLE – Newsletter of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association

Nicholas Chesterley

I’m best found emulating statuary and wandering around in obscure locales— otherwise, try yelling economics three times and see if I turn up!

... AND THE NEW NEWSLETTER TEAM Chief Editor: Kunchok Dolma Hello, I am Kunchok, your new chiefeditor. When I am not thinking of ways to solicit your creative talents for the newsletter, I am pondering life’s mysteries in the Manor Road Building.

Designer: Erica Lombard Hi! I’m Erica, and I do layout and design. In my time off from lining up columns and playing with fonts, I’m a second-year English Literature DPhil student at Hertford.

Editor: Jean-François Gélinas My name is Jean-François Gélinas, I am from snow land (Québec, Canada). I am a DPhil student in Clinical Laboratory Sciences in a lab working on gene therapy for cystic fibrosis.

Editor: Robert Daly Rob is studying Russian literature. He also enjoys tea and cake. When not reading Dostoevsky, he can be found reading Tolstoy.

Volume 2 Issue 1 – Hilary Term 2013


Clarendon Scholars’ Association 2013 Volume 2 Issue 1 – Hilary Term 2013 11

Profile for The Clarendon Chronicle

Clarendon Chronicle Hilary Term 2013  

A termly bulletic issued to the members and friends of the Clarendon Fund Scholarship.

Clarendon Chronicle Hilary Term 2013  

A termly bulletic issued to the members and friends of the Clarendon Fund Scholarship.