Why Cambridge?

December 6, 2002

The article "Troubled Commonwealth Institute eyes Cambridge alliance" ( THES , November 22) pinpointed several fears about the proposal. What will happen to the institute's mandate to promote teaching and learning about the Commonwealth among youngsters in the UK?

Why choose Cambridge over other UK centres with a more substantial record in schools development in the Third World, for instance? What is it that the institute can offer its partners now that it has laid off all its education department staff? Presumably, money and influential contacts. I have yet to meet an institution that would turn up its nose at more of either, and it would be hard to argue that Cambridge was less well endowed in either respect than schools of the University of London.

But why choose a UK location at all when the institute now claims to be under pan-Commonwealth control? Shouldn't it be strengthening capacity for research and training in less developed parts of the Commonwealth?

Peter Williams
Member/secretary of the Commission on Commonwealth Studies, 1996

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