King's launches a landmark campaign in response to the world's most urgent questions
With an overarching goal to improve the lives of people around the world, King’s has launched a £500 million campaign, the most ambitious fundraising effort in the 180-year history of the university.
The College unveiled this landmark campaign – named World questions|King’s answers – with more than £197 million already received toward the fundraising goal. The campaign will end in 2015.
More than 300 alumni and friends gathered on the Strand Campus on 3 November for a launch celebration hosted by BBC broadcaster David Dimbleby. The hour-long event focused on how World questions|King’s answers will support research activities and help develop real-world solutions related to the campaign’s three theme areas: Neuroscience & mental health, Leadership & society and Cancer.
‘This campaign unites the whole College in a belief that now is the time for universities like ours. This is a key time for our sector to make the case for what we can achieve – the great contribution we are making to society,’ the Principal Professor Rick Trainor stated. ‘King’s transforms lives for the better through our educational opportunity, discovery and our positive contribution to resolving world issues.’
Joining Professor Trainor as panellists at the launch were Sir Robert Worcester, founder of the international polling firm Ipsos MORI and an Honorary Fellow of the College, and three members of the King’s staff: Professor Shitij Kapur of the Institute of Psychiatry; Dr ’Funmi Olonisakin of the Conflict, Security & Development Group; and Professor Peter Parker of the Integrated Cancer Centre.
Speaking in a packed Great Hall filled with students, staff, alumni and friends, each panellist stressed how the campaign will further strengthen King’s hallmark approach to problem-solving: creating a multidisciplinary, collaborative environment for research that leads to on-the-ground solutions, whether in the introduction of a new vaccine or preparing young women and men to be future leaders in developing nations.
Olonisakin noted that many researchers at King’s work closely with policymakers and decision-makers at international organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union and African Union.
‘That is the bread and butter of the research we do at King’s. We think of society at large and the nature of the problem that confronts society, whether we are talking about medical science or social science,’ she said. ‘It’s not just about theory. It’s about making that theory relevant to society at large.’
The College presented videotaped remarks by several dignitaries, including the Rt Hon Sir John Major KG Ch, former British Prime Minister and the campaign’s Chairman, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu FKC (Theology, BD, 1965; MTh, 1966).
‘Our modern world throws up problems of great complexity, and questions that seem sometimes impossible to answer. The easy option is to leave the most challenging issues for others to address, easy but wrong,’ said Sir John in his taped remarks. ‘In their own areas of expertise, King’s is determined to remain at the forefront of research that will not only benefit and enrich our own lives, but those of our children and our children’s children.’
Archbishop Tutu said the campaign helps fuel his belief that humanity will enjoy a healthier, safer future.
‘I am optimistic about the future. We can find peaceful solutions to ongoing confrontations. We can find a cure to the worst illnesses. And we can support the needs of an ageing population,’ he said. ‘But responding to these challenges requires dedication and determination from leading researchers like those based here at King’s College London.’
Alumni and friends also gathered for simultaneous celebrations in two events on opposite sides of the planet. More than 60 guests attended a dinner gathering hosted by Dr Abraham Lue FKC in Hong Kong, including some current students on exchange at Hong Kong University. Meeting in New York over breakfast, alumni ranging from the Class of 1946 to the Class of 2010 met at the University Club.
On the evening of the launch day, the College hosted a second gathering on the Strand, attended by more than 100 alumni, staff and students, to celebrate the day’s activities.
‘So our campaign is well and truly launched,’ Professor Trainor said in his concluding remarks. ‘It has been widely discussed in articles in print and broadcast media – including here in the UK, The Times, The Telegraph, The Express, BBC News – and international news as far afield as Australia, China and South Africa.’
You can watch the launch celebration on the World questions|King’s answers website until Thursday afternoon.
View more photos, quotes and news from the events around the world on our Tumblr - click here.