Launch of GRS3

The Academy, Pearse Street

14th February 2019


Thank you, Juliette,

And thank you for organising this event. It’s particularly important to mark the launch of Trinity’s third Global Relations Strategy – GRS3 – and to take this opportunity to evaluate where we’re at, how far we’ve come, and where we want to get to. I’m delighted to see so many people here – that’s a measure of the importance of Global Relations to the whole college community and it’s recognition of all that Professor Juliette Hussey and her team have achieved, and Professor Jane Ohlmeyer and the Global Relations team before that.

Global Relations, in all its facets, is an initiative that took off during the years of austerity and has now become fully embedded in Trinity’s DNA. It’s a cross-cutting activity, which goes across the university’s activities in education, research, industry engagement, access, and development.

Now – as we launch GRS3 and approach the tenth anniversary of the Trinity’s seminal engagement with Singapore - it is, I think, a good moment to take stock of our achievements. On each seat, you should find a booklet ‘Trinity Growing Globally’ which captures the strategies, initiatives and excitement of recent years.

The booklet includes narratives, visuals, images, and first-person accounts from students who have benefitted from the Global Relations Strategy. There are a number of graphs, and let me just share one slide with you now because it really captures the progress I’m talking about.


Here we see, on the left, the growth in number of students from outside the EU since 2011. And on the right is the growth of non-EU research collaborations. The graphs show that, in seven years, we have more than doubled the number of non-EU students in the College and have almost doubled the number of research collaborations.

In the first Global Relations strategies our focus was outside of Europe. That’s because, thanks to the Erasmus and the EU Framework programmes, collaborations within the EU had developed strongly in the 1990s and 2000s – but we had a lot of catching up to do outside the EU.

This booklet tells the story of how we set about achieving this. We start with the Singapore game-changer and with the establishment of the Global Relations Office.

The story since 2011 very much belongs to the inaugural Vice President of Global Relations, Jane Ohlmeyer, and the current VPGR Juliette Hussey, and the Global Relations team since 2011. In this booklet we hear, in their own words, about the milestone achievements along the way.

What stands out for me and what I think is captured particularly well here, is:

First, the proactivity, the sheer graft involved. We had to get out there, establish offices in key cities globally; recruit; set up a Global Room here on campus, and of course travel, make connections, meet people. In the early days it was about making Trinity known in places like China, Brazil, and Vietnam where we had no history of engagement. Just looking at the Timeline here in the booklet – it’s by no means exhaustive, but it documents close to seventy partnerships and initiatives since 2011; this gets across the scale.

Second, our achievement was greatest when we worked together with a community spirit, involving the three faculties and Trinity Development & Alumni, or TDA as we call it. The Global Relations Office understood early on that our 115,000 graduates across 150 countries were a unique asset. Together with TDA, the Global Relations Office involved graduates in helping to promote Trinity abroad and spread the message of our great education and research. The benefit has been double: our graduates have been instrumental in strengthening our global relations strategy, and in turn, they have been made to feel more central to the college community. This year, as we launch the Philanthropic Campaign, we all feel the benefit of that.

And thirdly, this booklet gets across the human stories. Behind every number on these graphs is a person – a person, with a life-story:

  • a Trinity student who went abroad and had transformative year;
  • a student from another country who came here and followed their dreams;
  • a member of staff who established a collaborative research programme;
  • an alumnus who donated to further a key initiative.

Such stories are captured here, in word and image.

As I mentioned in my address to the College last November, the working title for our new Strategic Plan is ‘Community and Connection’. This could also stand as a description of the achievement of the Global Relations Office.

Thanks to Global Relations, Trinity’s community is at once wider and closer than it was a decade ago, larger and more connected. That’s a signal achievement, greatly deserving of celebration.

When we created the Global Relations office, it was to integrate all elements of global relations into a mutually supportive and cohesive activity. I knew – we all knew – the crucial importance of Trinity being part of that.

Juliette’s and Jane’s stand-out achievements include the extension of the programmes with Singapore, the articulation programme with Thapar University in India and the Dual Degree Programme signed with Columbia last year. I’m particularly pleased that the Dean of Academic Affairs in Columbia University, Professor Victoria Rosner, is here with us today as our guest speaker.

Global Relations, of course, goes beyond academic programmes. One of Trinity’s most successful initiatives in the sphere is Science Gallery International. Five months ago, Science Gallery London opened at King’s College London, and five other Science Galleries – in Rotterdam, Venice, Bengaluru, Detroit and Melbourne - will be opening on four continents over the next few years – as can be seen here.

As we launch GRS3, we take stock of where we’re at, but not with any sense of finality or completion because change is on-going and it’s rapid.

In the sphere of Trinity’s Global Relations, anything is possible.  

This is an important point. We’ve achieved so much over the past decade that there’s a danger of us resting on our laurels and simply continuing with the tried and tested. That won’t work for Global Relations, which is, by its nature, dynamic, changeable and multifaceted.

Even five years ago, a dual degree with a university on another continent wasn’t a runner. Now it’s an actuality. Similarly, we can expect other initiatives – initiatives that are now at concept stage – to become concrete realities in the near future. So, it’s essential to keep embracing change, to continue the search for new opportunities, to remain open to every new possibility.

This message is particularly important in the face of the challenges that humanity faces. Today’s most pressing challenges are global ones that know no borders – like climate change, migration, data security, conflict, energy provision. It goes without saying that you cannot meet global challenges with merely national or regional solutions. These challenges cannot be overcome at a city, national, or even continental level. They require a global response.

If the 21st century is to be a success, it must be a century of partnership, of connection, of deep and meaningful relationships between people, between institutions, and between countries. Great universities will be central to this. In Trinity, our Global Relations pledge is that we will be at the forefront of building partnerships and connections.

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And now Juliette will tell us some of the ways in which Trinity is going to make good this pledge. She will take us through the highlights and priorities of GRS3 and talk about the global initiatives that will be implemented over the next three years.

GRS3, like the previous two global relations strategies, is exemplary in its ambition and detail, its goals and targets. I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the whole college, to thank Juliette and her team for their signal achievements. Juliette is in her fifth year as Vice-President of Global Relations; she continues to be outstanding; we are fortunate to have a person of her capabilities to guide through this essential strategy for the university.

Thank you.

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