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This publication contains the text of the 2021 King's College London Commemoration Oration, given by Sir Michael Barber, outgoing Chair of the Office for Students.
Speaking in a personal capacity, Sir Michael set out his views on how British universities can reach greater heights as vibrant, intellectually open, and challenging spaces of learning, research, and scholarship.
The Commemoration Oration is a special lecture that celebrates King's College London's place as a seat of learning. The first Commemoration orator, in 1920, was G K Chesterton, writer and poet. Past Commemoration Orators include The Rt Hon Clement Attlee, The Rt Hon Tony Blair, Professor Dame Sally Davies, and The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Nobel peace laureate and King’s alumnus.