Marine conversation trip in Cuba

For two weeks over the summer I was lucky enough to spend time in Cuba learning to dive and conducting research into marine biology, thanks to a bursary from OUS Cornwall.

I was working with international conservation organisation Operation Wallacea and spent most of the trip on Isla de la Juventud (the ‘Isle of Youth), off Cuba’s south coast. The research involved collecting and analysing data on benthic communities as well as looking at the ecology of lionfish - a problematic invasive species in the Caribbean.

OUS Munich - Annual Christmas Dinner

In the first week of December 2015, the Oxford Alumni Society Munich group kicked off the Christmas season with its annual Christmas Dinner.

The esteemed chambers of the Kaufmanns-Casino allowed a smooth transition from a sunny Munich mood to the Oxford Christmas spirit. With crackers, crowns, and mince pie, the evening was reminiscent of the Oxfordian Christmas days, only short of Winter Cidre and the many (dubious) attempts at mulled wine.

OUS Victoria - Rhodes Scholars Victoria and Exeter College Dinner

Oxonians, Rhodes Scholars and other Oxonians in Melbourne gathered for a dinner on 14 December to welcome the guest of honour, Professor Sir Rick Trainor, Rector of Exeter College and a Rhodes Scholar from Rhode Island.

Twenty eight guests representing nine Oxford colleges enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and appreciated the opportunity provided by the clear, warm evening to see the rapidly changing Melbourne skyline.  A meal of roasted beetroot, goats cheese and carmelised onion tart was followed by bay leaf scented, seared salmon served with a fresh capsicum salsa.

OUS Hertfordshire - Musical Soirée

On 10 December, OUS Hertfordshire held their 11th annual musical soiree at the house of Ian Senior, Chairman. For the second year running, we invited Emmanuel Bach (Magdalen 2008) to perform because his recital in 2014 was so outstanding.

He is now in his second year at the RCM and his performance biography is already remarkable. He was accompanied by his mother, Jenny Stern, a concert pianist in her own right.  

After the performance mulled wine, canapes and mince pies were served to round off a great start to the festive season.

Pioneering alumni show how to harness the power of mobile technology

Our lives have already been transformed by mobile technology, but bigger and better developments are yet to come. That was the message from experts as they shared their insights and experiences from the digital world at a professional networking event for Oxford alumni. From advice about launching an app to the game-changing reality of mobile communications, the alumni speakers focused on how to maximise the opportunities created by technological innovation.

Tamara Sword (St Hilda’s, MSt Women’s Studies) set the context by describing transformative and rapid progress. She spoke of ‘seismic changes’ and referred to mind-boggling statistics to emphasise the ubiquity of mobile phones: there are 1.3 billion smart phones in the world, on average people check their mobile phones 150 times a day (some people even look at them 900 times a day), and 85% of time spent using mobiles is spent using apps.

The co-founder of the app infltr continued by sharing tips gained from promoting the camera app that enables people to apply filters to photographs taken with their camera phones. She explained the importance of improving apps in response to feedback, as well as the need to work with Apple’s developer relations team. Infltr has been named Best New App by Apple in more than 40 countries. Sword also encouraged entrepreneurs to engage with their customers, believe in their products, and to treat journalists like investors.

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Oxford & Cambridge Society of Peru - Conference on the Politics of Latin America

On November 25, the members of the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Peru got together in the British ambassador's Residence in Lima for a conference given by Dr John Crabtree, from the Latin American institute of the Saint Antony. 

Dr Crabtree is a well known expert and investigator in the politics of the Andean countries, and gave us an interesting introduction to the history and trends of the politics in Peru. The timing was perfect, since there is great expectation in the subject due that there will be presidential elections next April.