Development and Alumni Relations

'How Can Life Go On?' - Holocaust Memorial Day: February 2017

Freddie Knoller - Holocaust Memorial Day 2017Freddie Knoller - Holocaust Survivor

In partnership with Sussex’s Centre for German-Jewish Studies and hosted in the Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts (ACCA) we held our annual Holocaust Memorial Day. ACCA was filled to capacity, with a wide demographic of people from school children to those who were alive and directly affected by the Holocaust, at the time. The day remains free for all those who attend thanks to the continued support of the Association of Jewish Refugees, and the day began with a welcome by the Chief Executive of the Association, as well as the Vice-Chancellor and Director of the Centre for German-Jewish Centre.

The first talk of the memorial was by Professor Mary Fulbrook, compellingly titled ‘After Nazism: Addressing the Legacies of Persecution’. Mary is Professor of German History and Dean of the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences, University College London. She currently serves on the Academic Advisory Board of the Foundation for the former Nazi Concentration Camps at Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora, and the International Advisory Board of the Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation. Her talk explored how Nazism is perceived today and what effects it has left behind. For example, certain aspects of the Holocaust have stayed but also altered in the public opinion, but also other Holocaust-related events have been forgotten.

We were incredibly honoured to have Freddie Knoller, a survivor of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen death camps, answer questions after a screening of his film showcasing his time before, during, and after the Second World War. Everyone was incredibly touched but surprised to learn how upbeat Freddie has remained despite experiencing unimaginable horrors, and he even attributed his survival to his optimism, which he urged us all to take away as a lesson to remember for our futures. Freddie was also incredibly honest about his current viewpoints and his situation, which gave us an interesting insight into the life of a Holocaust survivor, and he left us with the final message, “Everything will be OK!”

After a short break, another film was screened. The animated documentary film Children of the Holocaust was created by BBC Learning and was entirely based on interviews of those who survived the Holocaust as children. The film also included recordings of the interviews with the survivors including Arek Hersh who survived a lengthy ordeal at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which began for him at the age of only, 14. The showing ended with a question and answer session by the producer of the film Kath Shackleton.

Photos of the Holocaust Memorial can be found here

French Ambassadorial Visit: January 2017

The Vice-Chancellor, Adam Tickell, Her Excellency, Sylvie Bermann, and Professor Rod KedwardAdam Tickell, Sylvie Bermann and Rod Kedward

We were privileged to welcome Her Excellency Sylvie Bermann, The Ambassador of France to the United Kingdom. Professor Rod Kedward, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Sussex, was to be awarded the Commandeur de l'Ordre des Palmes académiques, by the Ambassador.

The Ordre des Palmes académiques is a national order of France for distinguished academics and figures in the world of culture and education. Originally a decoration founded by Napoleon to honour eminent members of the University of Paris, it was changed into its current form as an Order on 4 October 1955 by President Réne Coty.

Congratulations to Professor Kedward for this prestigious award.

Draper Lecture and Law Networking Reception: November 2016

Lord Justice FulfordLord Justice Fulford

We were delighted to have Lord Justice Fulford as our guest speaker at our eighth annual Draper Lecture, entitled 'The Rise of the Cyber Judge' at the Law Society in London.

Sir Adrian Fulford was made a Recorder of the Crown Court in 1995 (re-appointed in 2001). He became a High Court judge on 21 November 2002. He was appointed to the Queen’s Bench Division. Though he became a judge of the International Criminal Court in 2003, he continued his work at the High Court, presiding over many high-profile cases. He was elected to serve as one of the 18 judges of the International Criminal Court in 2003 for a term of nine years and is assigned to the Trial Division. He was sworn into office on 11 March 2003.

He was appointed as Lord Justice of Appeal on 10 May 2013. Lord Justice Fulford was named Deputy Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales, on 1 January 2015. He was appointed Senior Presiding Judge on 1 January 2016.

Before the lecture, we had a special law networking reception for our current law students, alumni law professionals and law academics.

Photographs from the events are available to view on our Flickr page.

Lord Fulford’s lecture is also available to watch in full online.

Alumni Reception in Brussels, Belgium: August  2016

Belinda PykeBelinda Pyke 

Over 30 Sussex alumni and staff gathered at the Hilton Brussels Grand Place on Wednesday 31 August 2016. We were delighted to hear from speaker Belinda Pyke (AFRAS 1973) who, as well as providing an entertaining look back on her time at Sussex, gave us a fascinating and illuminating insight into migration and security issues within Europe from the perspective of her current role. 

Photographs from the event are available to view on our Flickr page.

USA West Coast Alumni Reception in San Francisco: May 2016

Catherine Mayer (EURO 1978) Catherine Mayer (EURO 1978)

What drew her in particular to the University was the opportunity to spend a year abroad to experience other cultures. While at Sussex she discovered the links between literature, philosophy and political thought. As well as praising the excellent formal education she received at the University, she cites the socialisation aspect as being the single biggest influence on her, enabling her to mix with “passionate people, activists, thinkers and experimenters”. She learnt a great deal from her peers, which has shaped her into the enquiring journalist and writer she is today, as well as the Co-Founder of the Women’s Equality Party.On Wednesday 18 May Sussex alumni and guests were treated to a candid and heartfelt talk from Sussex alumna Catherine Mayer (EURO 1982) in the historical setting of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco – home to the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of the Musée Rodin, Paris. Catherine started her talk by recounting the first day she came to the beautiful Sussex campus.

The evening was also marked by a farewell gift to our outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, from the Board of American Friends.

Photographs from the event are available to view on our Flickr page.

Reception at The Orangery, Kensington Palace: April 2016

The Orangery, Kensington PalaceThe Orangery, Kensington Palace

On Thursday 21 April 2016 the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, thanked assembled guests at a reception in The Orangery, Kensington Palace for their help in raising £54 million for the University - £4 million more than its fundraising target.

More than 6,000 alumni, friends, staff, trusts, foundations and corporations have contributed to the campaign, Making the Future, which was publicly launched in 2011.

Professor Farthing said: “It has been a real pleasure for me to be the champion of this exciting endeavour. I have found it enormously rewarding to see the impact that philanthropy has had on campus, from supporting research centres and programmes which are tackling diverse global challenges such as human consciousness, climate change, child development and conflict in the Middle East to helping us establish meaningful scholarships that attract the best students from around the world regardless of financial background.”

Dr Marina Pedreira-Vilarino, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, said: “The success of this first major fundraising campaign for Sussex is a true testament to the loyalty and commitment that our alumni and friends feel for the University. With reduced levels of public funding, the importance of philanthropic giving to universities has never been more important.”

Photographs from the event are available to view on our Flickr page.

Sussex Conversations - Europe, in or out? You decide: April 2016

Sussex Conversations 2016Sussex Conversations 2016

This year’s panel discussion at The Royal Intuition of London saw five panellists passionately debate the UK’s impending EU referendum.

The United Kingdom has been part of the European Union for more than 40 years, but that relationship now faces its toughest test in the forthcoming referendum. Those who want us to stay in the EU say we’re stronger and safer with our European partners; the Brexit campaigners see unfettered immigration and the strangulation of the free-market. Young people will have to deal with the legacy of the referendum. How will it affect our universities, our students, job prospects, freedom of movement? So for the next generation - should we stay or should we go?

The event was chaired by Sarah Montague of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (Sussex Honorary D.Litt.), and the panellists included:

  • Ekow Eshun, writer, cultural commentator and award-winning broadcaster
  • Jonathan Faull, Director General, European Commission (EURO 1973)
  • Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO, Newton Investment Management
  • Graham Stringer, MP Blackley & Broughton
  • Lucy Thomas, Deputy Director, Britain Stronger in Campaign

As with previous Sussex Conversations, broadcasting and production of the event - which was streamed to a live web audience - was made possible by the University’s Media Technology Lab, offering invaluable live television production experience for some of Sussex’s undergraduates from the School of Engineering and Informatics, who formed part of the production crew.

Watch the debate in full here and see photographs from the evening on Flickr.

Meeting House Spring Concert: March 2016

Meeting House ConcertMeeting House Concert

200 lucky guests enjoyed this intimate musical evening on Saturday 12 March that celebrated the restoration of the Meeting House organ and the life of Dr John Birch, University Organist from 1966-1994.

We are pleased to say that the concert, along with the associated Auction of Experiences, raised just over £10,000 towards establishing the Dr John Birch Scholarship Fund. It is a great start, and we are extremely grateful to all those who have supported us so far.

Our grateful thanks to all the performers who wholeheartedly volunteered their time for this event in tribute to John Birch, and to the following who have devoted themselves behind the scenes: Roger Walkinton; Janine Thorogood;
Dr Phil Watten; Hannah Folkes; Charles Harrison and the Chichester Cathedral Choir; and Professor Ed Hughes and his colleagues from the music department. Read more about the programme of the evening and find performer biographies here.

Photographs from the evening which capture the occasion beautifully are available to view on our Flickr site.

You can also enjoy the evening and watch the event on our YouTube.

The Draper Lecture and Law Networking Reception: November 2015

The Lord Ramsbotham GCB CBEThe Lord Ramsbotham GCB CBE

We were honoured to have The Lord Ramsbotham GCB CBE speaking at our seventh annual Draper Lecture at The Law Society in London.

General David Ramsbotham is a retired British Army officer, former Adjutant General and ADC General to Her Majesty the Queen. He later served as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons from 1995 to 2001 and was awarded a life peerage in 2005.

Throughout his lecture titled ‘Man’s Inhumanity to Man; What Price Imprisonment?’ Lord Ramsbotham spoke of his five most opinion forming incidents during his time as Chief Inspector of Prisons, including his first visit to the women’s prison: H.M. Prison Holloway in December 1995. He spoke candidly of some of the conditions that these women had been subjected to which he describes as “totally and utterly unacceptable in a civilised country”. Even though Lord Ramsbotham left his role as Chief Inspector of Prisons in 2001, he continues to campaign for prison reform.

Before the lecture we had a special law networking reception exclusively for our current law students, alumni law professionals and law academics.

You can take a look at photographs from both events on our Flickr page.

Lord Ramsbotham’s lecture is also available to view online.

Singapore Alumni Dinner: November 2015

Shangri-La Hotel SingaporeShangri-La Hotel Singapore

On Wednesday 4 November thirty Sussex alumni gathered at the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore for the country’s first University-organised alumni event.

The evening was spent sharing memories of time spent at Sussex and discussing plans for future alumni- organised get-togethers.

Photographs of the night can be viewed on our Flickr site.

Launch of the South East Asia Regional Office Dinner: November 2015

Hilton Kuala LumpurHilton Kuala Lumpur

On Thursday 5 November seventy alumni and friends of Sussex gathered at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the opening of the University of Sussex South East Asia Regional Office in Malaysia. As well as supporting recruitment activity, the regional office will develop partnerships with local universities and colleges, which will lead to more current Sussex students visiting South East Asia during their studies. The Sussex office will also provide more opportunities for the University to engage with it’s in the area.

Photographs of the evening can be viewed on our Flickr site.

USPGA Alumni Golf Day: September 2015

Alumni Golf Day 2015Members of the University of Sussex Peripatetic Golf Association (USPGA) enjoyed a fruitful round of golf on Wednesday 23 September at the Dyke Golf Club as the association met for the second year running.

Alumni travelled from all over the country to take part, and those who attended in 2014 were relieved that the dismal weather of last year’s event did not repeat itself – with the sun shining pleasantly throughout the day.

The group hit off at 10 am to play 18 holes on the elevated course, which was created over one hundred years ago and sits high on the Sussex Downs, overlooking Brighton.

Stableford scoring - based on the number of strokes taken at each hole as opposed to the total number of strokes - was the agreed system for the round.

Kamran Etebar (ENGG 1975) ended the day with the most points and won the prizes for ‘nearest to the pin’ on the 5th and ‘longest drive’ on the fairway on the 9th.

Other participants included: Fiesal Bacchus (MOLS 1985); Jim Chrystie (AFRAS 1966); Tony Pilgrim (EURO 1993); Ian Spreadbury (ARTS 1975) and Professor James Hirschfeld. Thank you to Professor Hirshfeld for his role in organising the event.

Please email alumni@sussex.ac.uk if you would like to be involved in any future USPGA events.

A Tribute to Lord Attenborough: September 2015

Attenborough PortraitPortrait created by artist Mike Edwards

In early September we hosted a tribute event to our former Chancellor Lord Richard Attenborough in the newly refurbished Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. The building, formerly known as the Gardner Arts Centre, was closed to the public in 2007 and has recently undergone extensive renovations. During the event we unveiled the innovative portrait, created by artist Mike Edwards, that is made up of the hand-painted names of the donors who have given to the University to help with the restoration of the Attenborough Centre.

Richard played many leading roles at Sussex – from serving as Chairman of the Gardner Arts Centre and Patron to the Centre for German-Jewish Studies, to helping to endow the Nelson Mandela Scholarships. As Pro-Chancellor of the University from 1970 to 1978, he brought his own charismatic and distinguishable style to this role and held the position of Chancellor for ten years until 2008.

Through the Attenborough Centre, we will ensure that Richard’s strong ideals and passion for the arts, and his considerable legacy to the University of Sussex, will live on. He is so very sadly missed, but he will never be forgotten. 

ChancellorLord Richard Attenborough

A video about the life of Lord Attenborough, including interviews with Jon Snow, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Lord (Asa) Briggs, and Sir David Attenborough, was played at the event.

Photographs taken from the evening are available to view on our Flickr site.

We are also delighted to announce that The University of Sussex is to become the home for Lord Richard Attenborough’s extensive archive of personal and work papers related to the many years the Oscar-winning director spent in the film and theatre industry.

The collection comprises thousands of items from Lord Attenborough’s working life, including correspondence, personal letters, film scripts, photographs and posters, as well as his personal working files, including budgets, cast lists and marketing material, relating to all of the major films that he directed. The University will undertake to make the archive publicly accessible, guaranteeing a lasting legacy to the work of Lord Attenborough.

Sussex Conversations - State of the Nation: an Election Special: April 2015

Sussex Conversation 2015The Sussex Conversations are designed to examine, question and challenge the world in which we live from different angles, creating new ideas that can help shape society.

Described by many in the audience as “the best Sussex Conversation to date”, this year’s panel discussion at the Royal Institution in London saw five representatives from political parties debate ‘The State of the Nation’ each hoping to secure votes in the upcoming general election.

Our Sussex Conversation this year had a new, dynamic format designed to allow Sarah Montague and the audience to interrogate the panel and investigate their policies on the NHS, funding for education, immigration, security and terrorism, suitable housing for those with needs and help for young people wanting to get on to the property ladder.

This event was chaired by Sarah Montague, a regular presenter of the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, and panellists included:
Kelly-Marie Blundell (Liberal Democrat)
• Chris Brown (UKIP)
• Peter Kyle (Labour)
• Alexandra Paterson (Conservative)
• Alexandra Phillips (Green)

As with previous Sussex Conversations, broadcasting and production of the event - which was streamed to a live web audience - was made possible by the University’s Media Technology Lab, offering invaluable live television production experience for some of Sussex’s undergraduates from the School of Engineering and Informatics, who formed part of the production crew.

The Conversation is now available to view in full online.

Hong Kong Alumni Reception: March 2015 

Hong Kong

On Monday 30 March fifty alumni and friends of Sussex joined the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, for an informal reception in Hong Kong.

Following a welcome address from the Vice-Chancellor and a buffet dinner, guests assembled on the balcony to reminisce about their student days, and to watch an evening light show across stunning harbour views.

Thank you to Alumni Consul Lilian Chen, who hosted the event at the prestigious Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

You can view photos from the evening on our Flickr site.

Holocaust Memorial Day - Keep the Memory Alive: January 2015

Captain Hanns AlexanderCaptain Hanns Alexander

The morning began with the German Jew who tracked down the Kommandant of Auschwitz, Thomas Harding. He told the true story of the Jewish investigator who pursued and captured one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious war criminals.

Thomas Harding is a successful author and journalist. He co-founded a television station in Oxford and is an award-winning documentary maker. His internationally bestselling book Hanns and Rudolf featuring the exploits of his great-uncle, Captain Hanns Alexander, was published in English and has been translated into thirteen other languages. It was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award Biography prize in 2013.

In the afternoon, over 300 participants listened to a fascinating and informative conversation between Bergen-Belsen survivor Zahava Kohn and her daughter Hephzibah Rudofsky, which was followed by a question and answer session.

Zahava Kohn was born as Zahava Kanarek in British Mandate Palestine in 1935. Her parents had moved to Palestine from Holland in 1935 due to the persecution of the Jews in Europe, returning to Amsterdam in 1937. In May 1943, the SS came for the Kanarek family and sent them to Westerbork Concentration Camp. In 1944 they were sent to Bergen-Belsen from where they were liberated in January 1945. Having discovered her late mother’s hidden archive of documents and memories from the war, Zahava embarked on a project to write her book, ‘Fragments of a Lost Childhood’ (published in 2009). Since 2010 she has visited schools across the UK and Germany with her daughter Hephzibah, delivering talks entitled ‘Surviving the Holocaust’, where she speaks about her childhood experiences during the war.

Zahava with her brother in August 1941Zahava with her brother in August 1941

Hephzibah Rudofsky (Kohn) has been working full-time in Holocaust education since 2006. She first took up the position of Schools Tour Director and arranged for an innovative theatre production about the Holocaust to visit hundreds of schools in and around London. Building on this, she formulated an educational component to teach the Holocaust to schoolchildren in a vivid and practical way.

Since 2010, Hephzibah has been working with her mother, Zahava Kohn, telling the story of her family’s survival in Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps to schoolchildren, providing them with the important opportunity to learn about this pivotal time in history from first-hand testimony.

Both talks are available to watch again via the following links:

Thomas Harding - Hanns and Rudolf - The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz

Lady Zahava Kohn and Hephzibah Rudofsky

Draper Lecture - On Liberty and Alumni Law Networking: November 2014

Shami ChakrabartiShami Chakrabarti CBE

We were delighted to have Shami Chakrabarti CBE, Sussex honorary degree holder and Director of human rights campaign group Liberty, speaking at our sixth annual Draper Lecture in front of a full house of alumni and friends of Sussex at The Law Society in London.

During the lecture, Shami explored how our fundamental rights and freedoms are indispensable and talked about the unprecedented pressures those rights are under today. Drawing on her work in high-profile campaigns, from privacy laws to anti-terror legislation, she discussed the threats to our democratic institutions and why our rights are paramount in upholding democracy.

The evening began with our inaugural law networking event for alumni law professionals, law academics and current law students, which took place in the Law Society’s elegant Reading Room.

You can take a look at photographs from both events on our Flickr page.

Shami’s lecture is also available to view online.

Holocaust Memorial Day - Journeys: January 2014

HMD 2014Anita Lasker-Wallfisch

An acclaimed musician whose talent kept her alive in a notorious Nazi death camp was one of the guest speakers at the University’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day event in January.

Over 300 participants listened to Anita Lasker-Wallfisch speak about her experiences in Auschwitz as a young cellist and how her experiences had a profound effect on her family in later life.

The psychotherapist Maya Jacobs-Wallfisch, Anita’s daughter, joined her mother at the event to discuss the impact her mother’s traumatic experiences had on their family which was followed by a question and answer session.

Sir Andrew Burns, United Kingdom Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, began the afternoon`s programme with his talk: The Holocaust 70 Years On which explored why the Holocaust still matters and what humanity may have learned from it.

Both talks are available to watch again on our 2014 online lectures page.

House of Lords Reception: November 2013

DARO HOL eventOver 240 Sussex alumni gathered together for our first ever reception at the House of Lords on 7 November 2013, which was sponsored by Sussex alumna Baroness Kay Andrews OBE.

Baroness Andrews came to the University in 1968 to study for an MA in Politics. She also completed a PhD at SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research, undertaking research into the funding and organisation of education and science in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 2012, Sussex awarded her an honorary doctorate for her contribution to government, education and heritage.

This evening was a great success and provided us with the opportunity to bring our alumni up to date with news and developments on campus over the last year. We were also able to thank our guests for their fundraising efforts following the University’s 50th-anniversary celebrations in 2011-12 when we launched our major campaign that aims to raise £50m by 2016. Melissa Lazenby, a PhD student who is currently studying at the University thanks to the Peter Carpenter Climate Change Scholarship, also spoke passionately about the way in which the funding would support her research into climate change and the African climate system.

Following the reception, guests enjoyed drinks and canapés before being taken on a guided tour of the House of Lords.

We were delighted that so many of our alumni attended and by the warmth and affection that everyone has for Sussex.

Georgetown University Reception, Washington DC: October 2013

Georgetown eventOver 60 of our alumni, supporters and friends from the Washington D.C. area came together for an academic panel discussion followed by a reception at Georgetown University on Wednesday 23 October 2013.

This event celebrated the launch of an agreement between Sussex and Georgetown to collaborate on two areas of research, Migration and Global Health, and so began with presentations by academics from both institutions, focusing on two areas:

‘International access to vaccines during a pandemic’
Professor Stefan Elbe, University of Sussex, and Dr John Monahan, Georgetown University

"Climate induced migration"
Professor Susan Martin, Georgetown University, and Dr Mike Collyer, University of Sussex

After the presentations, guests had the opportunity to meet up with fellow alumni and friends and mingle over drinks while our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, and Georgetown President, Dr John J. DeGioia, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions to formalise the relationship. 

We would like to thank alumnus Spiros Dimolitsas, Senior Vice-President for Research & Chief Technology Officer at Georgetown University, for kindly offering to host this event to mark an important step in collaborative working.