A year of silence on a mountain and other stories

  • November 8, 2013
A year of silence on a mountain and other stories

Next week's Scholars' Stories session will see four Scholars open up about parts of their non-academic life that made a big impact on them and shaped their ideas.

Want to know about medicine in rural India or life as a red-haired Minnesotan in South Korea? Maybe you’d be more interested in sustainable beer brewing in Burkina Faso or spending a year of silence on a mountain top?

Next week’s Scholars’ Stories session will see four Scholars open up about parts of their non-academic life that made a big impact on them and shaped their ideas.

Victor Roy [2009], who is doing a PhD in Sociology, will be reflecting on his grandfather’s life as a doctor in rural West Bengal where he has seen patients since 1954, and the lessons his experience holds for Victor and possibly for others. He will share a few key stories from his grandfather’s life, as well as his experience of working alongside him as a medical student. He says: “I’m hoping to leave the audience with a sense of part of my heritage and background as a Bengali, as well as a personal connection to my family and how it has influenced my values and vocation.”

Andrew Gruen [2008], who is doing a PhD in Social and Political Science, will speak about his first trip to any place on the continent of Asia when he moved to Seoul, South Korea for a year.  He says: “On one hand, this is the story of what happens when you put a nice, Jewish, red-haired Minnesotan, who speaks no Korean, in the centre of Seoul.  On the other, it’s a story about former U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s most famous gaffe: that there are unknown unknowns. And the value of throwing yourself in.”

Marlen de la Chaux [2013], who is doing a  PhD Management Studies, spent three months last summer visiting hundreds of female beer brewers in Burkina Faso. Marlen says that while the breweries are some of the most profitable micro-enterprises in the country, they also account for roughly 50 per cent of the country’s firewood consumption. She will talk about her work with the German Development Agency to try and figure out how to help make the local beer production more environmentally sustainable.

Kevin Grove [2011], who is doing a PhD in Divinity, will speak about how he deliberately spent one year of his post-graduate life in silence on a mountain in Colorado.  He says: “This was perhaps the most interesting year I will have ever spent.  My talk will give the highlights and a few challenges of that experience, suggesting how some of them still shape my research, views of community, and outlook on life.”

*The session takes place in the Gates Common Room on Tuesday at 7pm.

Picture credit: Marcus and www.freedigitalphotos.net.

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