LSE Director start of term update

Minouche Shafik provides an update to alumni and supporters as we start the new academic year 

I am grateful to all our alumni and friends for your understanding and support, and for continuing to stay connected virtually with LSE and the wider School community and supporting our student body.

Minouche Shafik

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Minouche Shafik, LSE Director

Dear all,

I hope you and your loved ones remain well as we continue to respond and adapt to COVID-19 and its impact. As we welcome new and returning LSE students – on campus and remotely – for the new academic year, I am pleased to provide an LSE update and to share with you some personal reflections from the past few days.

Naturally we have a duty of care to all our students, mindful that many will be living away from home for the first time. Last weekend, I dropped by one of our halls of residence to meet parents unloading cars with all the kit a modern student needs. After months of lockdown, being able to welcome students and their families in person (using appropriate distancing measures of course!), felt very special. 

Keeping everyone safe while educating for impact

As you would expect, we are being flexible in our planning and responsible in our actions: everyone’s safety and wellbeing remain our core priority at all times.

To protect our LSE community, and to reduce and minimise risk, the LSE campus currently is only open to students and necessary staff. We have a raft of hygiene, health and safety protocols which will help in our important role educating and shaping a generation of young people whose lives have been terribly disrupted by this crisis. If at any point undertaking that work on campus puts students and staff at serious risk, we will change our approach as we did in March, when we chose to go online well before the UK government-imposed lockdown.

I am grateful to all our alumni and friends for your understanding and support, and for continuing to stay connected virtually with LSE and the wider School community and supporting our student body. 

Our alumni volunteer leaders share this commitment. Last month, it was my pleasure to accept an invitation from Thomas Kern, new Chair of the LSE Alumni Association, to join its Executive Committee’s first meeting of the new term. We collectively reiterated our support for students and our shared responsibility to promote diversity and inclusion across our global alumni network.

Our priorities in the year ahead  

It is vitally important that we continue to examine and act on inequity, both inside and outside of LSE. Our Race Equity Framework will deliver meaningful action now, within the School’s longer-term strategic vision. I look forward to further engagement with the wider School community as the framework takes shape. I am delighted that Shilpen Savani, Vice Chair of the Alumni Association, will be a key member of LSE’s recently established Race Equity Steering Group. He will represent our alumni and help to drive forward our diversity and inclusivity framework. 

While we’ve faced pressing changes that have reformulated our immediate priorities, today, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and global events, our LSE 2030 strategy holds true and is more important than ever.

We set out our vision to work with partners around the world to help strengthen economies, societies, and political, educational and healthcare systems by focusing on key global challenges including inequality, social cohesion, sustainability, and health and prosperity. As a compelling example, starting this autumn and leading up to next year’s LSE Festival, the Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative will build on the important conversations and research for the world undertaken as part of our COVID-19 response. It will convene debate about the direction we could and should be taking after the pandemic, and what policies national and global actors should pursue. Please do participate, wherever you are in the world.

Find out about Shaping the Post-COVID World

We are here to support you 

We are immensely grateful to you for your continued support and involvement with LSE. Please know we are also here for you – we understand things are still not back to normal, and there will be more interruptions to our daily lives. As a community we can all help to maintain the levels of compassion and flexibility that were established so strongly at the beginning of this crisis.

For some, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to take stock and think about life and future career plans. Through our new and recently-launched lifelong learning resources there are many opportunities to develop new skills and expertise and to be ready for future career paths. Most of all though, please stay connected with LSE and our global community, drawing upon the plethora of online events and through our alumni groups worldwide.

Discover lifelong learning resources

125 years of LSE 

LSE opened its doors in October 1895 – with three rooms and 200 students. Today, we are the world’s most international social sciences university, with a significant global impact – and LSE is needed more than ever before. Throughout our 125th anniversary year we are reflecting on our rich history, and we invite you to participate. While we build upon our enduring legacy of understanding the causes of things for the betterment of society, let’s look forward and shape the world together.

Explore our 125th anniversary celebrations
As ever, please take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Thank you again for being such an integral part of LSE.

With warm regards,

Minouche Shafik

LSE Director

PS Please consider staying connected and supporting the newest members of our community by sharing your own experiences and advice with current students. I know first-hand that they would welcome the support from alumni in whose footsteps they seek to follow.

Share your experiences with students