Dr Desirée Cox, stem cell and regenerative medicine expert, and artist

Submitted by HarrietPacker on Mon, 2017-06-26 16:10

Dr Desirée Cox describes her extraordinary journey from growing up in a tough urban area in the Bahamas to becoming a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. She focuses on her medical studies at Oxford and her pioneering work to establish a regulatory framework for stem cell research in her home country.

The Balkans: A cultural crossroads

For millennia, the people of Europe and western Asia have lived, traded and fought in this area which also served as a border in almost every major European historical division. The Balkan countries are now calm and remain stunningly beautiful and intriguing as they face the challenges of the 21st century. Nirvana Romell, a native of the Balkans, will uncover the region’s layers of cultural and natural history that explain the area’s identity as a fascinating crossroads of cultures – from the Neolithic era to the present day.

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Iceland, Faroes and Scotland: No-fly cruise

With its deep fjords, rainbow-arched waterfalls, volcanic peaks, gushing geysers and creeping glaciers, Iceland puts on one of the most dramatic natural spectacles on the planet. Join wildlife expert, ornithologist and research ecologist Peter Mawby on an itinerary designed to ensure you don’t miss the many highlights this remarkable land has to offer. Peter welcomes the opportunity to enhance your experiences of the wildlife with commentaries out on deck and on tours, during the cruise.

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Exploring Romania: Wooden villages, painted churches and Saxon citadels

Over the course of its turbulent history, Romania has been subjected to the cultural influences of the ancient Greeks and Romans, Slav, Bulgarian and Hungarian invaders and, more recently, German settlers and Ottoman Turks. Under the expert guidance of Gillian Gloyer, learn how all these have blended with one another and with the ancient indigenous civilisation of the Geto-Dacians to give Romania a rich and varied culture with particularly wonderful art and architecture.

Baltic treasures: Latvia and Lithuania

Discover the ‘old-world’ charm of two beautiful countries with their strong central European values, traditions and cultures. Though Latvia and Lithuania are close neighbours, each has its own distinct history and traditions. Lithuania was a Grand Duchy and one of the most powerful states in Eastern Europe. Latvia by contrast was dominated for a long time by a German Order that brought  Christianity and later a financial boom. In Riga this led to an unrivalled growth of Art Nouveau architecture which can still be admired today.

Rome: A private view

A once-in-a-lifetime trip to Rome filled with private visits to palaces not open to the public and in the company of Rome scholar Anthony Majanlahti. The tour will focus on the major art collections in Rome, formed over the centuries by some of Italy’s most famous papal families. Enjoy a fascinating mix of painting, sculpture, architecture and history. This spectacular tour of Rome has been specially curated for the alumni community and is timed to coincide with Meeting Minds: Alumni Weekend in Rome, 16–18 March 2018.

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Florence: A private view

Take a very special tour of Florence in the company of historian and art expert Anthony Majanlahti. Venture far beyond the popular icons and tourist traps and away from the crowd. Enjoy captivating lectures and access to palaces and gardens that are not normally open to the general public. You will also enjoy private visits to some of the city’s most famous museums. The tour will focus on the great works of art commissioned by the Medici family and the great fresco paintings of Florence. This carefully curated tour will bring to life Renaissance Italy in all its wonder.

Sri Lanka: Endangered animals and ancient cultures

The island of Sri Lanka boasts one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world. Join zoologist Dr Andrew Kittle and Sri Lankan ecologist Anjali Watson in this biodiversity hotspot to explore the domain of its threatened apex predator, the Sri Lankan leopard. Learn about the integral role this endemic sub-species plays in the effective functioning of the island’s diverse ecosystems. Discover the regions where the leopards still roam, from the remote national park wilderness of Gal Oya into the midst of the hills in the tea country.

Magical Madagascar: Evolution and zoology of a Gondwanaland Island

Accompanied by ecologist and University of Oxford lemur expert Ryan Burke, discover the incredible flora and fauna of Madagascar, uninhabited by man until just 2,000 years ago. Witness what happens when an isolated island is left to evolve without large predators for 165 million years. 80% of Madagascar’s species are endemic and its protected reserves and rainforests contain amazingly diverse wildlife. Go in search of impish ringtailed lemurs, dancing sifakas and brightly coloured chameleons, frogs and butterflies.

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