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  LSE student News      


Craig CalhounOpen letter from Professor Craig Calhoun to LSE students

Dear LSE students,

Welcome to LSE or welcome back! The 2013-14 academic year promises to be an exciting one for the School - and I hope for all of you.

As always there are amazing public speakers lined up. There are special events and special opportunities, from academic competitions to launching a business as part of our new entrepreneurship initiative. Your new Students’ Union leadership has some great plans and together we will be delighted to inaugurate the new Saw Swee Hock Student Centre. And then of course there is London!

Classes should be exciting too. I hope you have seen our Facewall of all the new teachers joining LSE since 2012. This is a significant expansion of our faculty, and was the result, in part, of an open search. This means that we went out and encouraged the best social scientists in the world to come and join us. We looked for senior faculty who were world leaders in their fields, and younger ones with growing reputations. And these are not just intellectual high-achievers, they are people who tackle big and important public issues, and who bring their energy and commitment to providing high quality and innovative teaching to LSE students.

The newcomers join an already impressive LSE teaching staff; this means that you are being taught by some of the most exciting social scientists of our time. This is just one of the many ways in which we are seeking to develop LSE. We are pleased that in the 2013 National Student Survey final year students gave the School its highest overall satisfaction level to date, with top marks from 88 per cent. But we want to keep improving student experience at the School. We have undertaken a Strategic Review in order to clarify our purposes and plans; you will see the results of our deliberations all around you this year. An interim report has now been placed on the website, and there is still time for you to make suggestions.

One improvement on the way is enhanced course guides. This project comes from the Pro-Director for Teaching and Learning, Professor Paul Kelly. Starting this term, the guides published in the online Calendar will contain more information, including course survey results and student performance data. Not all the data for all the departments is up yet, but it’s coming and you can use it to choose your courses.

Students are represented on the Teaching Task Force and other major School committees all the way up to the Council and Court of Governors. Use these leaders and the Students’ Union to make your views felt. And consider volunteering for a leadership position yourself. In addition to the SU, there are nearly 200 student societies at LSE, reflecting all sorts of different personal ambitions, desires to improve the world, tastes for leisure time socialising, and intellectual interests.

Just recently a team of LSE students was invited to the Clinton Foundation’s influential global conference as finalists for the Hult Prize. Congratulations to Suraj Gudka (BSc Accounting and Finance), Sofia Zabolotskih (BSc International Relations), Carolina Medina-Gutierrez (MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies), Verena Liedgens (MPA Public and Social Policy), and Jonah Brotman (International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies) for this achievement. Another team of LSE students is organising an African Leadership Summit to be held at LSE in the Spring. Abdul Abdulrahim (Philosophy) and Sakina Badamasuiy (International Relations) are putting together an impressive programme focused on entrepreneurship and the continent’s future, with speakers complemented by music and art. I’ve been pleased to support both these initiatives from the Director’s Fund - and they are just two of the most prominent from a range of great student-planned activities.

LSE students and their exciting projects are among the reasons why LSE is world famous. So are faculty research and the work our professors do as advisors to government, business, and multinational organisations around the world. We are delighted that this is recognised in league tables. The School was just ranked the top university in London and third best in the UK by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2014. Earlier in the summer LSE climbed to second in the world for social sciences in the 2013-14 QS World University rankings, just behind Harvard. Of course, no rankings can fully capture everything a university like LSE has to offer and our priority remains to deepen understanding and tackle real world problems through the very best teaching, research and public engagement possible.

There’s also some good news about our campus. The wonderful new Saw Swee Hock Student Centre will open fully in Lent term, though some activities will start this term. It has already won architectural prizes and I suspect will win your enthusiasm for facilities from an internet café and pub to a faith centre and great event spaces.

In addition, world famous architects are bidding to redesign the centre of the campus as we replace the crumbling “Centre Buildings” (which, frankly, are overdue for it). We are also fortunate to have been able to purchase the building at 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which currently houses Cancer Research UK. Plans are underway for the new design. This will mean construction and inconveniences along the way, but we’ll try to keep these to a minimum and the end result will be brilliant new buildings.

As I said at the beginning of this Open Letter, this really does promise to be an exciting year. Watch out for events and opportunities in your home departments, but also in the School’s interdisciplinary institutes like the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, the Institute of Public Affairs, which launches its Crowdsourcing the UK Constitution project next week, and - just in development - the Institute for Entrepreneurship and the Institute for Global Affairs.

As ever I look forward to seeing you about campus and to meeting you virtually. You can follow me on Twitter (@craigjcalhoun) and I will do a live session to answer your questions on Twitter on Monday 14 October from 4-5pm. As of today you can pose questions via the hashtag #askthedirector. Please do!

Professor Craig Calhoun
Director of LSE


  Lunchtime concerts     Alistair Hughes  
  What's on   Notices   In 60 seconds  

Lunchtime concerts

Weekly Thursday lunchtime concerts start again on Thursday 10 October with a performance by pianist Anna Fedorova at 1.05pm in the Shaw Library, Old Building.


Apply now for funding for student-led projects

Funding opportunities are available through the LSE Annual Fund - submit your application by Friday 1 November.


Alistair Hughes

Alistair, a third year undergraduate, took part in the LSE-Fudan exchange programme to Shanghai this summer, so that he could work towards his goal of becoming fluent in Mandarin.

  ...   ...   ...  
  2 October 2013  

- News

  Orientation 2013   Orientation 2013

Check out Your First Weeks for essential information about Orientation events, as well as comprehensive ‘How to’ guides on setting up your IT account, getting proof that you are a student, and more.

There are still many optional events taking place this week. See Orientation events to learn more, and to book your place for events that require a ticket.


Exercise "potentially as effective" as many drugs for common diseases

Physical activity is potentially as effective as many drug interventions for patients with existing coronary heart disease and stroke, a review of evidence suggests.

The report by Huseyin Naci, a researcher at LSE and a fellow of Harvard Medical School, and Professor John Ioannidis, director of Stanford University School of Medicine, is published on

The researchers argue that more trials comparing the effectiveness of exercise and drugs are urgently needed to help doctors and patients make the best treatment decisions. In the meantime, they say exercise "should be considered as a viable alternative to, or alongside, drug therapy."

Physical activity has well documented health benefits, yet in the UK, only 14 per cent of adults exercise regularly, with roughly one third of adults in England meeting recommended levels of physical activity. In contrast, prescription drug rates continue to skyrocket, sharply rising to an average of 17.7 prescriptions for every person in England in 2010, compared with 11.2 in 2000.

But there is very little evidence on how exercise compares with drugs in reducing the risk of death for common diseases. More


Creative industries not harmed by digital sharing, report finds

A new report released by LSE's Department of Media and Communications contradicts widespread claims about the decline of creative industries as a result of copyright infringement.

The report shows that the gaming, film and publishing industries are growing and new business models are emerging based on digital sharing.

For some in the creative industries, copyright infringement may actually be helping boost their revenues, the report finds.

Industry data shows that while the music industry has stagnated somewhat in the last four years, since 1998 it has experienced overall growth with internet-based revenues as a significant component since 2004. In the UK, online sales now exceed CDs or vinyl as a percentage of total revenue for recorded music.

Dr Bart Cammaerts, Senior Lecturer in LSE's Department of Media and Communications and one of the report’s authors, said: "Contrary to the industry claims, the music industry is not in terminal decline, but still holding ground and showing healthy profits. Revenues from digital sales, subscription services, streaming and live performances compensate for the decline in revenues from the sale of CDs or records." More


LSE and Kids Company launch new report on vulnerable children

A leading UK psychologist has compared London’s most vulnerable children - those living in violent cultures - to the children residing in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas.

Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch from LSE was speaking at a conference last week to launch a report on the work of UK charity, Kids Company.

"For many children who live in London, violence and criminality are a way of life. They witness shootings, stabbings and even killings of friends and relatives," Professor Jovchelovitch said.

"Many of them have been shot or stabbed and suffer emotional and sexual abuse. They live in one of the most cosmopolitan and rich cities in the world, but their situation is comparable to that of children in Rio’s slums."

Professor Jovchelovitch said this environment led to long-term physical and mental health damage, but the work of charities such as Kids Company gave "visibility" to their plight and filled gaps left by the government sector. More


- Notices

  Craig Calhoun   #AsktheDirector is back

Do you have a question for the LSE Director? Professor Craig Calhoun (@craigjcalhoun) will be live on Twitter to answer your tweets from 4-5pm on Monday 14 October.

Feel free to ask him a question in advance, or during the ‘live hour’, using the hashtag #AsktheDirector.

  LSE Annual Fund  

LSE Annual Fund - apply now for funding for student-led projects

The LSE Annual Fund supports a large variety of projects and initiatives that make a real impact across the School, thanks to the unrestricted donations received from alumni and friends.

We invite applications for funding from those involved in student-led initiatives, including LSE Students’ Union societies and activities.

The Michaelmas term round of applications for student-led projects and initiatives closes at 9am on Friday 1 November. To access the guidance notes for application, FAQs and the online application forms, click here.

    Diversity Calendar Photo Competition: win prizes for your photography

LSE Equality and Diversity invites entries for its annual Diversity Calendar Photo Competition.

The theme for the competition is ‘Redefining Difference’, encouraging participants to demonstrate out-of-the-box thinking about diversity in their photos. The judging panel will select 12 winning entries to feature in the Diversity Calendar for 2014.

To enter the competition, visit, download the entry form and send the completed form and your submissions to by Friday 1 November.

  Language Centre   Tandem Language Learning Programme

Would you like to practise the language you're learning by meeting regularly with a native speaker?

The Tandem Learning Programme is a great way to supplement your language learning. It is free of charge and you can benefit whatever your language level.

LSE's Language Centre holds regular language exchange events. To see what's on this term, click here. For more information, visit Learning Support.


Do you love languages?

Routes into Languages, who work in partnership with LSE, is recruiting language ambassadors to help it communicate the benefits of studying languages.

Working as a Capital L Ambassador will give you experience of working with a wide range of people, help you improve your communication skills, and allow you to make a difference by enthusing young people to learn languages, as well as impressing future employers.

As a language ambassador you will attend events at schools and colleges around London or at your own university, informing young people about the benefits of studying languages and inspiring them with your experiences of studying languages at university.

For more information and to apply, click here. The deadline for applications is Friday 11 October.


- What's on

  Anthony Giddens  

NEW EVENT - Turbulent and Mighty Continent: what future for Europe?

On: Thursday 31 October from 6.30-8pm in the Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Professor Lord Giddens (pictured), former Director of LSE and a member of the House of Lords.

The European malaise goes deeper than the euro crisis alone, protracted and still unresolved though that may be. The EU and its member states must respond to deep-rooted changes affecting all the industrial countries.

Pro-Europeans should recognise that now is the time for a far-reaching rethink of the European project as a whole to create a model appropriate to the exigencies of the twenty-first century.

This event marks the publication of Professor Lord Giddens new book Turbulent and Mighty Continent: what future for Europe?

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. More

  Anna Fedorova (photo by Bernardo Arcos Mijailidis)   Lunchtime concerts

Weekly Thursday lunchtime concerts start again on Thursday 10 October with a performance by pianist Anna Fedorova (pictured) at 1.05pm in the Shaw Library, Old Building.

  Mariana Mazzucato   Other forthcoming events include....

Why Growth Theory Requires a Theory of the State Beyond Market Failures
On: Tuesday 8 October from 6.30pm in the Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House
Speaker: Mariana Mazzucato (pictured), RM Phillips Chair in Science and Technology Policy at the University of Sussex.

Red Fortress: the secret heart of Russia's history
On: Wednesday 9 October from 6.30pm in the Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House
Speaker: Catherine Merridale, author.

Reclaiming Democracy in the Square? Interpreting the Anti-Austerity and Pro-Democracy Movements
On: Thursday 10 October from 6.30pm in the Old Theatre, Old Building
Speakers: Heba Raouf Ezzat, Assistant Professor at Cairo University, Marlies Glasius, Professor of International Relations at the University of Amsterdam, and Armine Ishkanian, lecturer in NGOs and Development at LSE.

  Amr Shalakany   "First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers": liberalism and revolution in modern Egypt

On: Thursday 10 October from 6.30-8pm in the Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Professor Amr Shalakany (pictured), Visiting Professor in LSE's Department of Law.

Of the many Arab Springs, revolution in Egypt stands out for its decidedly legalistic tone. For the last two years, political battles have been mostly fought at court, judges increasingly perceived as enemies of the people, and rule of law slogans on separation of powers or judicial independence suspiciously inspected for counter-revolutionary ploys.

The Shakespearean call to kill all the lawyers has never been as palpable since Henry VI. Old anxieties rise again over the emancipatory potentials of liberalism as ideology, and lawyers as its governing elite. And so it all comes back: can law and revolution be compatible?

Twitter hashtag: #LSEshalakany


- 60 second interview

    Alistair Hughes  

with..... Alistair Hughes

I am a third year undergraduate student reading BA History with a focus on China’s modern history and politics. This summer I took part in the LSE-Fudan exchange programme to Shanghai as I work towards my goal of becoming fluent in Mandarin.

I am also the founder of LSESU’s official politics society, LSESU Politics and Forum, which runs events every Thursday evening on campus.

What were the highlights of your recent LSE-Fudan language exchange course in Shanghai?

There were so many. My fellow students were all amazing and we really bonded as a group as we explored a new culture and society. Most importantly my Mandarin improved dramatically while in Shanghai; I am now going to take a proficiency level language course as part of my degree this year at LSE.

But my favourite moment of the whole trip was beating my Mandarin teacher at a game of pool, albeit only after being beaten several times before that.

Did you get a chance to visit any interesting places whilst in China?

The exchange programme is brilliant because it gives you so many opportunities not only to get to know Shanghai (one of the world’s greatest cities) but also to visit other cities nearby. Some of my fellow students visited Nanjing, Suzhou and Hangzhou.

My class managed to negotiate a field trip to Wuzhen which is sometimes called "the Venice of the East". It was a magical place that really takes you back to traditional Chinese life.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

Hmm this is a difficult one, because like Ed Miliband I don’t think I can really be called an "action hero" sort of a guy!

If you could bring one famous person back to life, who would it be and why?

I would love to interview Chairman Mao. There are so many unanswered questions about why he did what he did. The fact he is still a revered member of the Chinese political establishment shows how great a politician he was and how he became one of the leading political figures of the 20th century.

What are you most afraid of?

At the moment, my future! Like most third years I am very much aware that I am about to leave the safety of university education and enter the scary world of full-time employment.

What is your favourite TV programme?

I am tempted to say Sherlock but the political hack side of me is saying House of Cards. I think the Kevin Spacey version is excellent but I recommend everyone watch the original British version as well. It has some of the best music of any TV show and for anyone interested in British politics, it is beautifully satirical about the political establishment.


Nicole wants to hear from you!

Do you have some news, an achievement, or an aspect of LSE life that you would like to share? If so, then I would love to hear from you, contact me at or on ext 7582.

The next edition of Student News is on Wednesday 9 October. Articles for this should be emailed to me by Monday 7 October. Student News is emailed on Wednesdays, on a weekly basis during Michaelmas and Lent term and fortnightly during Summer term.

Nicole Gallivan