We had just one Devon Globe Trotters evening in the autumn term when Pawimee Bonserm, ably assisted by Maslin Busban, gave us a wonderful evening of Thai dancing. Pawimee described and demonstrated the several traditions of Thai dance and finally encouraged everyone to join in. This was a very enjoyable evening which raised £120 for the Food for Thought programme which works in Uganda with rural school children and young people to improve their food-growing skills.

There were two very different Gown meets Town presentations. Firstly in November, as part of the Being Human Festival of the Humanities, Dr Catherine Rider, from Department of History at ExeterUniversity, with colleagues from the Universities of Exeter, Bristol and Oxford presented different perspectives on the Inquisition of Sellem Bin al-Sheikh Mansur. Sellem was a Muslim slave in 17th-century Malta who was put on trial for witchcraft. The trial record tells the fascinating story of his experiences with magic.

Secondly in December, Ghee Bowman talked about his MA research on Indian Soldiers in World War Two and especially those who spent time in Devon. They were part of the Indian Army which would become the largest all-volunteer force in history, rising to over 2.5 million men.

Stephen Brimble, the City Councillor for Mincinglake Ward, gave the first World at Lunch talk looking at the cooperative future for socialism. In particular he considered the Mondragon cooperative in Spain which is a corporation and a federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region. By contrast, although still with a commercial theme, Ken Vigoe spoke from his own experience of the challenges of container shipping in global trade. The sheer scale of modern container ships and container ports was amazing.

To mark the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, the Exeter and District Branch of the United Nations Association had mounted a display in the Cathedral of art work from local schools on the work of the UN. In conjunction with this Susan Matthews, a member of UNA locally who had worked for the UN, discussed the work of the UN and why the UN is still needed at a lunchtime meeting.

The discussion of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein brought a large number of people to this Global Book Club session. Klein’s central argument is that it is capitalist interests which drive the fuel industry. However she gives examples of community groups which stood against the actions of large companies and prevailed. One of the themes of the book is the need to divest from fossil fuels. As a result of the discussion a group has formed in Exeter, as part of Exeter Climate Action, to campaign on this issue.

City of Lies - Love, Sex, Death and the Search for Truth in Tehran by Ramita Navai, our second book for discussion, told the stories of a range of people whose lives were adversely affected by living in one of the world's most repressive regimes. Some find strategies to stay alive, including lying just to survive, others are less fortunate.

Our final event of the year was an excellent Sunday lunch kindly hosted by Sue Kay who provided mouth watering food – a particularly memorable apple pie – and a convivial atmosphere. The event raised £135 for DDE funds.

DDE also helped to organise two events. Firstly, the Legacies of British Slave-ownership Conference at which a group of local historians presented their research into the links between Devon and the slave trade. This was run in conjunction with a national project at University College London. Also a special coffee morning hosted by The Mint Church with guests from Exeter Mosque

Sadly on 18th Sept 2015, lightning struck Kabyuma Primary School, in Mubende District, Uganda. 5 children were killed – one immediately and 4 on the 30 km journey to hospital. 20 children were injured but all have recovered. So our Christmas Appeal this year was to provide funds to supply and fit lightning conductors at schools in Uganda which are members of our Food for Thought programme. Due to some generous donations and a successful street collection in early December, about £800 has been raised which is sufficient to help four schools. Thank you to everyone who was involved or contributed.

Our new intern, Liam Johnson, joined us in September. Liam is a drama graduate from ExeterUniversity and will be helping with a variety of projects during his year at DDE. His own special interest is in issues around migration and refugees. He plans to develop a teaching resource, involving a range of pupil activities, based on this topic drawing on his experience in the use of drama in education. Lucie Hunt, an Exeter graduate in Arabic and Islamic Studies, has also joined us for a graduate work placement.

Announcements

Welcome to the relaunched Global Centre website! We will be adding new content in the next few days, so if you can't find anything or a link doesn't work, just give us a call.

You can find upcoming Global Centre Events here, and Teacher CPD training information here.

Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 25 February until 10 March: Find out more here.

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