Alison Wetherfield grants reflect memory of tireless campaigner

LSE is delighted to announce two grants from the Alison Wetherfield Foundation to Widening Participation and the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). 

The former will support the Alison Wetherfield Law Conference & Master classes, covering a period of three years and comprising three law master classes and an annual law conference. The programme, commencing in Autumn 2014, will be offered to students on the LSE CHOICE and LSE Pathways to Law programmes. These programmes are offered to school years 11-13 – LSE Choice gives talented students the tools they need to successfully apply for LSE and other universities, while Pathways to Law delivers a programme of lectures, seminars, guidance sessions and workshops for students interested in Law. The programme will also target those engaged in Pathways to Law at other universities – ensuring that students from across the UK will benefit, not just those from London. 

The donation will allow LSE to offer specialist Law classes, provide supportive mentoring and help students develop additional skills in study, research, presentation and critical thinking. The master classes will allow students to explore major themes and issues with LSE academics – a benefit unavailable on other programmes. 

“We are delighted to support this project which is so reflective of Alison’s core beliefs and values,” said Christine Douglass, trustee of the Foundation. “She coupled her successful career as an employment and discrimination lawyer with a selfless commitment to others. She believed strongly in the importance of education as a means of enabling all who aspire to a career in the law to have that opportunity.”

The IPA will also benefit from a grant for the Above the Parapet: Women in Public Lifeproject. Above the Parapet, being carried out by IPA Deputy Director Dr Purna Sen, seeks to explore questions such as: how did women in public life get there? What impacts have they had? How will their lessons benefit those who follow? The Wetherfield grant will fund six high-profile women in public life to visit LSE as Fellows, enabling them to reflect upon their journeys in a variety of ways, the first of whom – Dr Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi – joins the School in October. The project will feature public events, a website, a video book and publications.

“This support will allow the IPA to become a repository of rich, personal narratives, which illuminate the public lives of women,” said Dr Sen. “I am absolutely delighted to have Dr Banda join us to share her journey towards her position as head of state. Like Alison Wetherfield, she has been an advocate for the rights of women and takes that interest into her present work. I very much look forward to welcoming her to the LSE and know that we will have a lot to learn from her.”

Christine added: “This Foundation was set up in memory of a person who was never afraid to put her head 'above the parapet'. Alison’s career led her through fearless campaigns for victims of torture and women’s rights, to partnership to senior management roles in a large American law firm. Her journey and experiences will no doubt mirror the narratives of many involved in Dr Sen’s research and the Foundation is proud to contribute to this research in Alison’s name.” 

The Alison Wetherfield Foundation was established in 2012 in memory of the dynamic lawyer Alison Wetherfield, pictured, who died in the same year. Alison was a leading employment lawyer in Japan, the UK and the USA, a strong supporter of victims of torture and an influential advocate for women's rights. The Foundation raises money to support projects that help with the education and development of disadvantaged young people, and for research and programmes to improve social inclusion and diversity.