Message from City President, Professor Sir Anthony Finkelstein

Photo of President Professor Sir Anthony FinkelsteinThere is no doubt that we ‘live in history’. As we continue to witness the war in Ukraine and the profoundly distressing acts of violence committed against democracy and the rule of law, our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, and with all our staff, students and alumni affected by the conflict. Our thoughts are also with those seeking safety and refuge. We have been working to do all we can to extend our protection, support our community and assert our values of openness and scholarship that are a key part of the challenge to oppressive and dictatorial states. City academics have been linking their areas of research to the current situation in Ukraine and using their expertise to support the global response. We have also been reaching out to the City community to support our Ukrainian alumni who have had to flee from the war. If you can help, please join our initiative.

It is with great sadness that I also have to share with you that Sabita Thanwani, a Psychology student in her first year with us, was recently killed in an incident at the Arbour House halls of residence. This is distressing news, and our first thoughts are obviously with Sabita’s family, friends and those in the City community who knew her. You may have seen the media coverage of this incident and I wish to assure you that our priority is the wellbeing of students at Arbour House and that of the wider City community.

For reasons that are obvious, respecting the seriousness of these events and the distress and pain felt by so many, we have kept the announcement of an important development for City low key. I am pleased to share with you that the prestigious performing arts school, the Urdang Academy, is joining City. The acquisition forms an integral part of our ambitious plans to enhance and develop our reputation for music and engagement with practice and the creative industries. Our shared ethos and ambition make City and Urdang a powerful combination. The Urdang Academy, based in the Old Finsbury Town Hall, is recognised as one of the UK’s finest performing arts colleges, specialising in musical theatre, and has a strong international reputation. Urdang will form part of a new Department of Performing Arts at City, alongside City’s renowned music department.

Thank you all for all your contributions to the Big City Conversation, our strategy development consultation. In late 2021 we reached out to colleagues, students, alumni and external stakeholders asking them to exchange ideas about the kind of university we want City to be and the direction we want to take. I am delighted that so many staff, alumni and students got involved in the largest online discussion of its kind at City. We have been listening to everything you have shared. Together with University Council, we are now in the process of refining and finalising our new strategy and will communicate it to the University community before the summer. The aim is to create our shared vision for City and a strategy which confidently guides us through the challenges of our time. Thank you again for all your excellent contributions.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition of Alumni News.

Best wishes,
City, University of London