Dean and architect announced
University of Oxford news release
6 October 2011
University of Oxford announces major steps in preparation for 2012 opening of Blavatnik School of Government
Herzog & de Meuron appointed architects
Professor Ngaire Woods appointed Dean
Professor Andrés Velasco
Applications open for students
Notes for editors
The University of Oxford today announces several major developments in preparation for the Blavatnik School of Government’s opening in September 2012. Made possible by a £75 million endowment by American industrialist and philanthropist Leonard Blavatnik, the School’s mission is to train future world leaders through an unrivalled multi-disciplinary curriculum.
The internationally renowned Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron have been appointed to design the new Blavatnik School of Government. Well known for the originality and boldness of their designs, Herzog & de Meuron are known worldwide for the conversion of the Bankside power plant to Tate Modern in London (2000). Planned to reflect the School’s international identity and mission to develop future world leaders, the iconic new building will house Europe’s first School of Government on a prestigious site in central Oxford, newly cleared, on Walton Street.
The new building is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2015.
The Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten of Barnes, said: “The appointment of Herzog & de Meuron as architects is one of a number of developments that reflect the bold global ambition of Oxford’s new Blavatnik School of Government. The selection of Professor Ngaire Woods as Dean is another. I have worked closely with Ngaire for a number of years on global economic governance issues and she is exactly the right person to lead this visionary school.”
Following an extensive international search, Oxford University has chosen Professor Ngaire Woods as the inaugural Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government. Professor Woods is a recognized world authority on international relations, global economic governance, the challenges of globalization, and the role of international institutions. Regularly called upon by governments and global institutions to offer her expertise, she has held advisory roles in the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, the Commonwealth, the European Parliament, the African Development Bank, and the British government under three successive Prime Ministers. She helped to lead the creation of the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University and, before her appointment as Dean, served as the School’s Academic Director.
Professor Joseph Nye, former Harvard Kennedy School Dean, commented: “Ngaire Woods is an ideal choice to become the first Dean of Oxford's exciting new Blavatnik School of Government. She is a renowned scholar of global governance whose vision has been crucial in creating the School, and whose inspiring leadership will now assure its success.”
Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Government in Singapore, said: “Professor Ngaire Woods will be an excellent Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government. She has made important intellectual contributions to the theory and practice of global governance, she is globally networked and she straddles comfortably the worlds of policy and practice. Much of her work has focused on how global markets and institutions can better serve the needs of people in developing countries, and many governments have turned to her for advice.”
Andrés Velasco, a distinguished economist and former Finance Minister of Chile, his home country, will be Senior Academic Advisor to the School. Currently Tinker Visiting Professor at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, Professor Velasco has also served as Sumitomo-Fasid Professor of International Finance and Development at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has been an advisor to the governments of Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nigeria, South Africa and Kazakhstan, as well as a consultant to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
The teaching staff of the new Blavatnik School will include internationally renowned academics, such as economist Paul Collier (the award-winning author of The Bottom Billion), epidemiologist Sir Richard Peto and legal philosopher Jeremy Waldron. Additional members of the teaching staff will be announced shortly.
The Blavatnik School of Government will benefit from an International Advisory Board that will have Lord Browne of Madingley, the former Group Chief Executive of BP, as chairman and the veteran publisher and philanthropist, Lord Weidenfeld, as co-chairman. The Board will bring together a distinguished group of women and men who have achieved international renown for their leadership and contributions to public life in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. They will provide the Blavatnik School with a genuinely international perspective and strategic advice informed by practical experience of government.
Applications are now invited for the School’s first cohort of students. The School will look to admit outstanding practitioners and students from across the world to study for an innovative one-year Master of Public Policy degree. The School will teach the practice of government and leadership in ways which will strengthen communities, create opportunities and foster cooperation across the world through a series of courses with a unique balance of the humanities, social sciences, law, science, technology, health, finance, energy and security policy.
A scholarship program is being developed to ensure that the very best students in the world attend the School, regardless of their financial circumstances.
Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton and Leonard Blavatnik comment on appointments
Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “Oxford University, which has educated so many world leaders in the past, is delighted to be able to open applications for the new Blavatnik School of Government. The School will embody the best of Oxford’s traditional strengths but also provide scholars with innovative practical ways of dealing with the complex issues that confront world leaders today. Professor Ngaire Woods is the ideal choice as the School’s inaugural Dean given her commitment and vision for the School, coupled with her experience and understanding of global governance. Likewise, the selection of Herzog & de Meuron as architects is an exciting development. Oxford has a long tradition of commissioning buildings from the greatest contemporary architects. This commission promises a 21st-century building that will take its place among the outstanding architecture of Oxford.”
Remarking on the announcements, Mr Leonard Blavatnik said: “Exceptionally solid groundwork has been laid to ensure the successful opening of the Blavatnik School of Government next year. The quality of leaders and teachers that the School has attracted is a testament to Oxford University’s unparalleled reputation and to the need for a European-based institution devoted to the enhancement of democratic government throughout the world. I look forward to the first cohort of students beginning their studies and to their future contributions to our global society.”
For more information, please contact the University of Oxford Press Office on +44 (0)1865 280534 or email email@example.com
The Blavatnik School of Government
The Blavatnik School of Government will develop tomorrow's leaders, in both the private and public sectors, through an original, multi-disciplinary curriculum. It will address complex global problems in new and practical ways, drawing on the talents of top teachers and researchers from across the world.
The School will be anchored across humanities; medical sciences; social sciences; and mathematical, physical and life sciences. Students will be trained to offer a practically-informed and critical perspective on a wide range of issues, spanning democracy, law and security, history, finance, economic governance, science and the environment, demographics, public health and social policy.
The School will offer a full-time one-year Master’s degree for graduates with an outstanding academic record who want to embrace an integrated approach to public policy. The course will also include practically focused training in negotiation, budgeting and accounting, strategic communications and evaluation.
A £75 million gift from American industrialist and philanthropist Leonard Blavatnik founded the School, which aims to ensure better government, stronger societies, and richer human opportunities across the world, through first-class education and research. The School’s innovative Master’s curriculum takes a truly global and interdisciplinary approach. World leaders including British Prime Minister David Cameron, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former US President Bill Clinton, former South African President Nelson Mandela, and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan have expressed their support for the School.
Herzog & de Meuron
Herzog & de Meuron are known for designs that are at once highly inventive and sensitive to the site, geography, and culture of the region for which they are planned. Among their critically acclaimed projects are the conversion of the Bankside power plant into Tate Modern in London (2000), as well as the extension of the latter, The Tate Modern Project, London (projected completion 2016). Elsewhere, projects include the de Young Museum in San Francisco (2005); the expansion of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2005); Schaulager for the Laurenz Foundation in Münchenstein/Basel, Switzerland (2003); and the new Miami Art Museum in Miami (projected completion 2013). Among their many other widely recognised projects are the Dominus Winery in Napa Valley, California (1998); the Laban Dance Centre, London (2003); and the National Stadium Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Herzog & de Meuron is a partnership working with an international team of 350 collaborators on projects across Europe, North and South America and Asia. The firm’s head office is in Basel with branch offices in Hamburg, London, Madrid, and New York. The practice has been awarded numerous prizes including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2001 and the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 2007.
Professor Ngaire Woods
Professor Ngaire Woods, a New Zealander, has been appointed as Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government after an international search. Professor Woods is a world authority on international relations, especially in global economic governance, the challenges of globalization, and the role of international institutions. Her distinguished academic career has spanned four countries. At Oxford, she is Professor of Global Economic Governance and Director of the Global Economic Governance Programme. Ngaire Woods was educated at Auckland University (BA in economics, LLB Hons in law). She studied at Balliol College, Oxford as a New Zealand Rhodes Scholar, completing an MPhil in International Relations (with Distinction) and DPhil. She won a Junior Research Fellowship at New College, Oxford (1990-1992) and subsequently taught at Harvard University (Government Department) before taking up a Fellowship at University College, Oxford.
Professor Andrés Velasco
Andrés Velasco, a distinguished economist and former Finance Minister of Chile, his home country, will be Senior Academic Advisor to the School. Currently Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Professor Velasco has been an advisor to the governments of Ecuador and El Salvador and to the Central Bank of Chile, as well as a consultant to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Lord Browne of Madingley
Lord Browne of Madingley is a crossbench member of the UK’s House of Lords and former group Chief Executive of BP. Lord Browne is former President of the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Royal Society, the UK’s premier scientific society, and Chair of the Trustees of the Tate. He was made a Life Peer in 2001. In 2010, he chaired an independent review into UK higher education funding.
Lord Weidenfeld of Chelsea, GBE
Lord Weidenfeld has a longstanding association with Oxford University, and is a patron of its current Oxford Thinking campaign. He founded the non-partisan London-based think-tank, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, in 2006; and, in the same year, established the Weidenfeld Scholarships and Leadership Programme at Oxford, which provides full fees and living expenses to graduate students, mostly from the developing world. He is an Honorary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford and of St Peter's College, Oxford, and was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by the University in 2010. Lord Weidenfeld was knighted in 1969, raised to the peerage in 1976, and appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in 2011. His enormous contribution to European diplomacy and cultural exchange has been recognized by many countries over the years.
Leonard Blavatnik is an American industrialist and philanthropist with a long-standing involvement in numerous educational projects in Europe and the United States. Following university study in Moscow, he emigrated to the US in 1978 and became a U.S. citizen in 1984. He received his Master's degree in Computer Science from Columbia University in 1981 and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1989.
Mr Blavatnik is the founder and Chairman of Access Industries, a privately-held US industrial group. Incorporated in 1986, Access Industries is an international industrial concern with strategic investments in the US, Europe and South America, focused in three sectors: natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, and real estate.
In addition to corporate directorships, Mr Blavatnik sits on boards at Cambridge University, Harvard University and Tel Aviv University and is a former member of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Dean’s Advisors at Harvard Business School.
In addition to his benefaction to Oxford University, Mr Blavatnik supports other prominent universities and institutions including Harvard, Cambridge and Tel Aviv Universities, the New Economic School in Moscow and the New York Academy of Sciences.
As well as engaging in philanthropic activity elsewhere in the world, and especially in the US, Russia and Israel, Leonard Blavatnik and the Blavatnik Family Foundation have been generous donors to a wide range of cultural and charity institutions in the UK, including the British Museum, Tate, the Royal Academy, the Royal Opera House, The London Library, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, The Prince's Trust, and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
Applications for the Master of Public Policy Programme
Applications are welcomed from all academic disciplines, not just social sciences. Applicants should have an outstanding academic background and aspire through their professional work to contribute to the public good in their country or region. Relevant work experience will be taken into consideration in the selection process. The first cohort of 30 students will be welcomed in September 2012 and the course will eventually build to an annual intake of 120 students.
In addition to the scholarships available for all Oxford graduate students, the Blavatnik School of Government is offering up to three Scholarships for the 2012/13 academic year. The aim of the scholarship is both to reward academic ability and to open opportunities that would not otherwise be available to the candidate.
For more application information, click here.