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Posted on: March 27th 2015

Academy students partner with prestigious think tank

HarrisExperience (2)

~ Sixth Formers work with world-class academics ~

Follow Harris Experience on Twitter @HFexperience

Year 12 students from three of the Harris Federation’s Academies in South London are benefitting from access to world-class higher education through a pioneering year-long partnership with think tank the Legatum Institute.

The venture – the first of its kind for 16 and 17 year olds – includes the opportunity to take part in a series of eight lectures and roundtable seminars on The History of Capitalism. These are being delivered and attended at the Legatum offices in Mayfair by world-leading academics from universities including Oxbridge and Harvard.

The lucky Sixth Formers from Harris Academy South Norwood, Harris Academy Merton and Harris City Academy Crystal Palace are part of Harris Experience Advanced, a unique cultural and academic enhancement programme for the most able students across the Federation. They were selected based on their excellent GCSEs and classroom performance.

The prestigious year-long partnership began on January 15th 2015 with a lecture on Rome’s Economic Revolution (147-30 BC) by Oxford University’s Philip Kay. The following week, students returned for a roundtable discussion on the lecture with Dr Kay and a select group of academics and Legatum researchers.

Next on the agenda was a lecture by David Abulafia, Professor of Mediterranean History at Cambridge, which focused on the role of merchants from the middle ages in fostering the roots of global trade. At the ensuing seminar, students heard Dr Abulafia expand on and answer their questions surrounding its key themes. Following the discussion, Dr Abulafia praised the Harris Experience students, saying:

“I would like to thank the students for their excellent questions; particularly perceptive and quite challenging really.”

The lecture and seminar course will ceremonially conclude in December 2015, with each Harris Experience student being awarded a certificate by the Legatum Institute.

Henry Langdon, Harris Experience Programme Coordinator, said:

“This partnership offers an exceptional boost to our students’ studies and higher education goals through exposure to a wide breadth of challenging debates and topics in economic history, steered by wonderfully inspiring scholars.

“And it is a pioneering example of the mutually beneficial links to be forged between schools and research institutions looking to broaden their impact whilst benefitting from the input of younger perspectives too. We are thrilled to be working with the Legatum Institute.”

Hywel Williams, acclaimed historian and Senior Advisor at the Legatum Institute, said:

“Harris Experience Advanced students have responded enthusiastically to this opportunity. They demonstrate an ability to absorb new information about the past and an appreciation of the ways in which history shapes our present world, whilst the seminar discussions to-date show keen minds at work during the opening phase of this venture. We are delighted that they have joined us for the series.”

Midhat Haque, a Harris Experience Advanced student from Harris Academy Merton, said:

“I think for me, the best thing is that this experience has definitely broadened my knowledge. Going to these lectures makes me consider things I hadn't thought of before, and it is nothing I'd hear about in everyday life as well. They have made me feel more aware of economics’ breadth and historical roots and the seminar discussions have built my confidence to pursue my goal of reading the subject at a top university.”

The Legatum Institute is an international think tank and educational charity, based in London, which researches the themes of revitalising capitalism and democracy.

The first lecture can be viewed here:

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