Exeter alumna Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger (2003, Law) (pictured) recently established a series of Oxford-style tutorials with experts from Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and McGill universities to help school pupils during lockdown.
The free taster sessions considered current challenges and future directions in law, biomedicine, maths, sciences, and sustainable development, and were led by a mix of well-known and emerging academics and practitioners who lead top research institutes, social enterprises or international organisations within their field.
Using an online video app, the experts provided a 20-minute introduction to the burning issues in their area, and then the audience of students was able to ask questions and discuss the topic for 30 minutes, followed by a 10-minute round-up. To follow up, each expert provided their recommendations of the top five current online resources, so students could pursue the field further. The tutorial series quickly grew from an audience of 15 children to well over 200.
Marie-Claire said: “It’s been an incredible experience pulling this mini-series together. We started the series essentially through a group of young people who were online talking together, along with their families who were also talking online, and realising that many schools did not have anything in place for the kids who were left stranded by the COVID-19 virus: they were sent home, they were locked down, and they were given very little that was actually of interest to do and people didn’t seem to care that the kids’ Easter plans had essentially been cancelled. So at the very least what we felt we could do was to provide something that would be of interest to kids and that would provide them with access to experts who, frankly, wouldn’t normally have time to talk to a group of kids from secondary school, and we asked these experts to point the kids in some interesting directions which may, if we’re lucky, even lead to new discoveries and new opportunities for the kids.
“We started by looking at international law, then we looked at current challenges and future directions in biomedicine, had an amazing session on entrepreneurship and strategy, a really interesting Q and A session from a lawyer and doctor on future directions in global health, for those interested in science, engineering and technology we had sessions on cell biology, theoretical physics and online engineering, and finally we had sessions on global human rights and global governance. It has been a really interesting mix of humanities and STEM topics. We’ve had some excellent questions from the students and it has been a true honour to join them for this series.”
Although the series has now ended, due to high demand Marie-Claire is looking into potentially running a second series in July. She recommends keeping an eye on the education section of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law website for updates. If you are interested in delivering a tutorial in your area of expertise you can contact the Exeter College Development and Alumni Relations team and we will pass your details on.
Marie-Claire is the Senior Director of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law and Full Professor of Law in the University of Waterloo, Canada, Founding Councillor of the World Future Council, currently serving as Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor in the University of Cambridge and Executive Secretary of the Climate Law and Governance Initiative with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She was recently recognised by the prestigious Weeramantry International Justice Award, becoming one of three recipients this year.