Brexit - Impact, Challenges and Possibilities

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Brexit Discussion Kicks Off International Education Week for the University of California in Europe 

UC LONDON, United Kingdom - Author, journalist and UCLA alumna Edie Lush moderated a lively dinner discussion on Brexit on Tuesday, 14 November. The event launched the University of California's European celebration of International Education Week (IEW). IEW is an initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education that serves to highlight the importance of global learning experiences for UC students.

Held at The Cinnamon Club in London, the dinner was attended by some 35 alumni, donors and friends. Also in attendance were study abroad scholarship recipients from UC Irvine, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

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UC Berkeley alumnus Richard Simmons CBE, who served as an advisor to government ministers from 1979 to 1997, opened the discussion. Noting that he had voted in Britain's original referendum to join the EU in 1974 just two years after graduating from UC Berkeley, Simmons dismissed concerns about the potential shock of a hard Brexit.

Nigel Huddleston, Member of Parliament for Mid-Worcestershire and a graduate of the UCLA Anderson School of Management, was also sanguine about a successful outcome from impending trade negotiations between the UK and the EU. "It's important to clarify, the debate of whether we are leaving or not is over - it's happening. Now, it's about how we leave," said Huddleston.

Huddleston shared a platform with Calum MacDonald, Ph.D., who served as a Member of Parliament for 18 years for the Outer Hebrides. 

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MacDonald holds a Master's and a Ph.D. from UCLA, and is a member of the Europe Campaign Committee for UCLA's Centennial Campaign. "To depart [from the EU] is to tear up 500 years of strategic policy,"  said MacDonald. "It will be economically damaging and politically catastrophic - it will reduce Britain's voice. Nothing will compensate for leaving."

The evening also featured student speaker Cristina Sanchez-Gonzalez, a recipient of several scholarships from UC Irvine. Sanchez-Gonzalez is studying for the year at Queen Mary University of London. She thanked donors in attendance for their support, noting that as a first-generation college student, scholarships were critical in making her dream of studying abroad a reality. 

UC Trust (UK) works to bring UC to London by hosting various events throughout the year for UC alumni, parents and friends in Europe. 

By Mojgan Sherkat


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