History of the Oxford Round Table

 

The Oxford Round Table is an international educational organization whose purpose is to promote education, art, science, religion and charity. This purpose is effectuated by the conduct of interdisciplinary symposia and the publication of meritorious manuscripts emanating therefrom.

The Oxford Round Table is a not-for-profit organization chartered under the laws of England and Wales as authorized by the Companies Acts of Parliament, 1985-2006. The registered office of which is located in England. A branch of the organization, the Oxford Round Table, North America, Inc., NFP, is registered with the Secretary of State of Illinois as a not-for-profit company located in Illinois, U.S.A., with communication substations in California, Kentucky and New York.

The Round Table seeks to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of contemporary issues that affect the public good in all its various forms and ramifications. The public good is expansively interpreted by the Round Table to include all matters that enrich the human experience and enhance the human condition. The Oxford Round Table is a unique forum, not a conference in the conventional sense, but rather an opportunity for scholars and leaders to discuss government policy in a collegial, "think-tank" atmosphere. The structure of the program allows for the dialogue of participants to freely flow in response to issues presented at each meeting. While avoiding specific topical prescription, the Round Table endeavours to stimulate debate through eliciting meaningful dialogue by suggesting certain themes for discussion. Past themes have included considerations of human rights, social justice, economics, history, religion, ethics, morals, law, medicine and the liberal arts and sciences.

Each session of the Oxford Round Table is designed around a format that enables participants to present papers and to engage in discussions regarding those papers in both formal colloquy and informal dialogue. Papers presented at Round Tables may be submitted for publication in the Forum on Public Policy, an on-line and a hard copy journal of the Oxford Round Table. Manuscripts are evaluated by peer external reviewers and accepted or rejected based on quality and contribution to the particular field of knowledge. The Forum is indexed by Gale/Cengage Learning and EBSCO. The on-line Forum is provided to all readers free of charge.

This Round Table held at Harris Manchester College in the University of Oxford. As you may know, the University of Oxford is a confederation of thirty-eight (38) colleges of which Harris Manchester College is one. The colleges, themselves, are not degree granting or programmatic units of the University.  The University is an academic umbrella over all the colleges. The Round Table is, thus, not an academic programme conducted by the umbrella University. Harris Manchester College is the venue, the situs, location of the Round Table. The colleges, themselves, in their private corporate capacity, traditionally host an array of academic conferences assisted by Conference Oxford.  The Round Table is one such conference.  Harris Manchester College was selected as the location for the meeting because of its reputation, its location in the heart of Oxford, and because of its congenial working relationship with the members of the Oxford Round Table Programme Committee and Advisory Board.

Academic Independence is an important aspect of the Round Table. As a private charitable educational organization, the Oxford Round Table is not under the control of the hosting Oxford colleges, most of which are established as endowed sectarian foundations, nor is it in anyway under the aegis, restraint or sanctions of the University of Oxford; rather, the Round Table is free-standing, apolitical and non-denominational.

(See: Publications)

Participants and presenters at various Round Tables include:

Michael Beloff, President, Trinity College, University of Oxford

Roy Jenkins, former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Chancellor of the University of Oxford

Sir Antony Kenny, former Master of Balliol College, University of Oxford, philosopher and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford

Sir Richard Southwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford

Sir Christopher Ball, Warden of Keble College, University of Oxford

Eduard D. Dneprov, Education Secretary, Cabinet of Boris Yeltsin, Russian Federation

Victor Gaisyonok, Rector, University of Belarus

Gudmund Hernes, Minister of Education, Norway

Per Unkel, Minister of Education and Science, Sweden

Gennet Zewide, Minister of Education, Ethiopia

Chris Marsden, Head of Community and Education Relations, British Petroleum

David Vaisey, Bodley's Librarian, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

The Oxford Round Table has been facilitated in and hosted by several Colleges in the University of Oxford, including; Oriel College (1324); Pembroke College (1624); Jesus College (1571); Exeter College (1314); Trinity College (1555); Manchester College (1786); Somerville College (1879); St. Peter's College (1961); St. Antony's College (1950); and St. Anne's (1952).

Various sessions of the Round Table have been sponsored by the British Council, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Rockefeller Foundation, Apple Computer, Boeing, and the Bernard van Leer Foundation, The Hague, Netherlands.

 

Thank you. Shenette Alexander

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