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Welcome to the University of Oxford's oldest and most illustrious forum for scholarship in international history, grand strategy and foreign affairs.

Upcoming Events
Khlood Aldukheil
Mon, Mar 09
Worcester College
Mar 09, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Worcester College, 1 Walton St, Oxford OX1 2HB, UK
Female Managing Director of a Aldukheil Financial Group
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Sir John Sawers
Thu, Feb 13
Keble College
Feb 13, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Keble College, Oxford OX1 3PG, UK
Ex Chief of SIS
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Lord Alderdice
Tue, Nov 19
Trinity College
Nov 19, 2019, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Trinity College, Broad St, Oxford OX1 3BH, UK
The Psychology of Terrorism
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Jim Wheeler
Tue, Nov 05
Cohen Quad - Kloppenburg Room
Nov 05, 2019, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Cohen Quad - Kloppenburg Room, Walton St, Oxford OX1 2HE, UK
Can technology save us from technology?
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DSTL Careers Workshop
Wed, Oct 30
Trinity College
Oct 30, 2019, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Trinity College, Broad St, Oxford OX1 3BH, UK
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David Richmond **FREE EVENT**
Wed, Oct 23
C D Lewis Room, Wadham College
Oct 23, 2019, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
C D Lewis Room, Wadham College
Resilience and Leadership in a VUCA environment
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Sir Antony Beevor (1)
Wed, Feb 06
Lecture Theatre, History Faculty
Feb 06, 2019, 7:30 PM
Lecture Theatre, History Faculty, 41-47 George St, Oxford OX1 2BE, UK
The number one bestselling historian in Britain [including "Arnhem" (2018)], Sir Antony's books have appeared in thirty-two languages and have sold just over seven million copies.
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Lord Patten: A Changing World Order
Wed, Feb 06
MBI Auditorium, Corpus Christi College
Feb 06, 2019, 7:30 PM
MBI Auditorium, Corpus Christi College, Merton St, Oxford OX1 4JF, UK
As well as serving as the 28th and final Governor of Hong Kong, Lord Patten was chairman of the BBC Trust and is currently Chancellor of Oxford University. He is a vocal opponent of Brexit. *Please note the venue has been updated
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Sir Julian King: Challenges to European Security
Tue, Jan 29
Dorfman Centre, St Peter's College
Jan 29, 2019, 3:00 PM
Dorfman Centre, St Peter's College, New Inn Hall St, Oxford OX1 2DL, UK
The former ambassador to Ireland and France currently serves as the last British EU Commissioner, holding the security portfolio in the Juncker cabinet.
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Lord Houghton: Defence in the 21st Century
Tue, Nov 27
Park 5, Somerville College
Nov 27, 2018, 7:30 PM
Park 5, Somerville College, Woodstock Rd, Oxford OX2 6HD, UK
Spend an evening with the former head of the British armed forces.
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Sir Geoffrey Nice: Trust International Criminal Justice or its Institutions?
Wed, Nov 21
Pusey Room, Keble College
Nov 21, 2018, 7:30 PM
Pusey Room, Keble College, Oxford OX1 3PG, UK
The lead prosecutor at President Slobodan Milošević's trial for war crimes.
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***FREE EVENT*** Sir Malcolm Rifkind: The Decline of the West?
Mon, Nov 05
Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester
Nov 05, 2018, 7:30 PM
Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester, 1 Walton St, Oxford OX1 2HB, UK
***FREE EVENT*** Defence (1992-95) and Foreign Secretary (1995-97), and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (2010-15) i.a.
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"a proving ground for future leaders and the founders of new fields of enquiry"

Our Patron

Sir Richard Shirreff was born in Kenya in 1955 where he spent his early years. Educated in England, he graduated from Exeter College, Oxford (Modern History) before being commissioned into the British Army from Sandhurst.

 

In his 37-year career, he commanded soldiers on operations at every level from platoon to division. This has included combat in the Gulf War of 1991 as a tank squadron leader and again in Iraq as a divisional commander, together with other operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Bosnia. In addition, he had extensive staff experience at brigade, Army HQ and in the Ministry of Defence. He commanded NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and his final post before withdrawing from the Army was NATO’s 4 Star Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR).

 

In February 2016 he co-founded Strategia Worldwide Ltd, a consultancy which helps clients protect the value of their investment by understanding and managing risk comprehensively. In 2016 his novel ‘2017: War with Russia’ was published in the UK and USA. It became a best seller and has been translated into eight languages. He is an honorary fellow of Exeter College, Oxford.

General (Retired) Sir Richard Shirreff KCB CBE MA (Oxon.)
NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (2011-2014)

"Dr Stubbs and his adherents of the historical society" 

In the picture are at least four future members of parliament, an Archbishop of Canterbury and some of the greatest scholars of the historical profession.

Alum of the Month

Our Alum of the Month is Catherine Hughes CMG (O.S. 1955).

Born Catherine Pestell in 1933, Hughes studied history at St Hilda's College later becoming President of the Stubbs Society. Upon passing the Civil Service exams with flying colours, she joined the Foreign Office in 1955 - then a highly male-dominated environment. She was appointed Third Secretary in The Hague during the first year of the European Communities before her promotion to Bangkok as Second Secretary. Here, she had a ringside seat on the accelerating war in Indo-China.

 

She returned to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as First Secretary and principal desk officer for Vietnam. In this role, Hughes strongly opposed British involvement in America’s escalating war. Her toughest assignment came when she was asked in 1975 to take the tough role of negotiator in East Berlin missions during the Cold War détente. In 1978 she was promoted to Political Counsellor having earned recognition as a leading expert on the Four Power Status of this divided city.

 

In that strange world where hardship sat alongside political paranoia she remained "cantankerous". And she had a slightly subversive attitude to authority, once saying “I like that tiny seed of cantankerousness which doesn’t lie down and accept things.”

 

She retired in 1989 from her final Ambassadorial-level job - as assistant Under-Secretary for the Public Departments - on her appointment as Principal of Somerville College, Oxford. She married her neuropathologist husband Dr Trevor Hughes in 1991, then the acting Warden of Green College, Oxford. Indeed, as the statutes of the College did not permit the Principal to marry, Miss Pestell resigned, married and was re-elected as Principal; however there was a two-week period when the College had no head. 

Somerville's Governing Body, during her time at the College, decided to admit men as Fellows and students. The decision was very vigorously opposed yet as Principal, she oversaw the admission of the first male Fellows and students in 1993-4.

With the same characteristic resilience, for many years she faced the onset of cancer, enjoying global cruises when she was well enough to travel. She described as ‘liberating excellence’ the purpose of her very generous gifts to support Somervillians in History, English and Modern Languages.

The Society is proud to have been associated with such a distinguished individual.

Extracts from civilservant.org.uk and the obituary by St Hilda's.

Above: Catherine Hughes CMG, diplomat and former Principal of Somerville College, Oxford.

As seen in

 

Video credits: Oxford University Aerial Drone Filming (Skyvantage Elevated Cinematography); Full Donald Trump - Theresa May Press Conference (Global News); 4K Video of US Fighter Jets in Action F-15, F-16 F-22 F-35 4K Footage (WarLeaks - Military Archive); What's the World Economic Outlook or the Year Ahead (World Economic Forum); Aerial Tour of Washington DC (All Things Aero); Europa Building (Samyn and Partners Architects and Engineers); Chinese Military Parade (Andy Cruise); Behind the Scenes of the UN General Assembly (United Nations)

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