I have just come back from a lunch at All Souls College, Oxford, to mark an important moment in the university’s history. Oxford has just recieved a £75m endowment from Len Blavatnik, an American industrialist, originally from the Soviet Union. It is using the money to set up the Blavatnik School of Government on new premises in the centre of the city. The intention is to challenge the monopoly of the leading US universities on the post-graduate education of future political leaders and administrators. The Blavatnik school is essentially Oxford’s answer to the Kennedy school at Harvard and the Wilson school at Princeton – although the Oxonians insist that the education they provide will be a little different and more rounded by, for example, including a compulsory science course. The new school is intended to get off to a fast start. It will admit its first students in 2012.
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