Although a more recent part of Scotland’s magnificent history, the University of Stirling – the new partner of the London Academy of Diplomacy – joins the heart of Scotland with the heart of London.
About an hour north of Edinburgh, Stirling is home to Stirling Castle and was home to Robert the Bruce, the fourteenth-century fighter for Scottish independence, who defeated the armies of Edward 11 in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
As the second largest country in the Union, Scotland’s five million population has played a major part in British government, politics and security ever since the Act of Union in 1707.
A bit of history is appropriate here. After centuries of warfare between England and Scotland (the Roman Emperor Hadrian constructed Hadrian’s Wall in AD122 to keep the Scots out), the two countries came together when James V1 of Scotland became James 1 of England in 1603 following the death of the ‘Virgin Queen’ Elizabeth 1. That link was consolidated in the Act of Union in 1707.
Even after 1707, however, the Scottish spirit of rebellion against their English cousins didn’t subside. The insurrections of 1715 and most famously of 1745, when the Scottish army under ‘Bonny Prince Charlie’, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, reached Derby and almost forced the Hanoverian monarchy to flee, both served to show that Scotland, as part of Britain, has its own identity and does things differently.
Today, Scotland boasts a different legal and education system to that of the UK including free university education for Scots. (English students at English universities pay tuition fees.) It also provides access, through the highlands to some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the British Isles, an important source of tourist revenue.
It also has its own offshore oil resources and its own national assembly running Scottish affairs, as well as its representation in London’s Parliament. Its arts tradition, represented by the Edinburgh Festival, and its strong military tradition, represented by the Edinburgh Tattoo, are both world famous.
Founded in 1967, the University of Stirling is part of that proud educational and civic tradition. Set in beautiful countryside with its own lake and golf course and with world-recognised excellence in aqua-farming, ecology and conservation, it also has a strong reputation in civic and diplomatic studies. This is why we are particularly proud to be partnering the London Academy of Diplomacy.
Together we are offering three Master’s degrees in Diplomatic Studies, Security Studies and also in Diplomacy and Business Studies. This last Master’s degree is also part of our alliance with the INTO group of University Partnerships, of which the London Academy of Diplomacy is also a member. With the London Academy of Diplomacy we will also be offering a doctoral studies programme leading to a DDiplomacy (Doctor of Diplomacy), a completely new concept, and a world first.
The University of Stirling is always anxious to play a part in key contemporary events. As we approach the date of the referendum on the constitutional future of Scotland, writers, broadcasters and academics are getting together to imagine how future citizens and historians might look back on Scotland’s independence referendum – and what could happen after the 18 September poll. The ‘If Scotland’ conference at the University of Stirling on 23 and 24 August will explore aspects of the current debate likely to intrigue, baffle and amuse future generations.
Speakers lined to appear at the event include commentators Lesley Riddoch, David Torrance and Gerry Hassan as well as Scots author and artist Alasdair Gray, historian Professor Christopher Whatley and comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli. Also appearing will be Professor Michael Keating, chair in Scottish Politics at the University of Aberdeen, and Dr Catriona M.M. Macdonald, reader in late modern Scottish history at the University of Glasgow. A workshop by the ‘Dearest Scotland’ letters project will allow those attending the event to pen their own hopes and fears to the future nation. Members of BBC Scotland’s Generation 2014 youth project will also perform a short play centred on their expectations of a future Scotland, and how they might come to look back on their hopes and fears of 2014.
Organisers are particularly keen to encourage ordinary members of the public to attend. Dr Scott Hames from the Stirling Centre for Scottish Studies said: “The conference is as much for ‘normal’ people as it is for academics and postgraduate students. “We’ll look at how the independence referendum might be remembered in decades to come – and consider the future of politics and literature in Scotland after a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote. I hope people will come along and join us for some stimulating and enjoyable debate.” He added: “Viewed in retrospect, what happens in September 2014 will quickly come to seem mundane, even inevitable. So while the question is still uncertain and up for grabs, we will look at how the current debate might appear in 20-30 years’ time – a few decades after either a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ result in September. Both possibilities will be explored fully by a distinguished group of speakers engaged with both sides of the debate.”
Staff at Stirling in our History and Politics group are particularly pleased to be partnering with LAD. We already offer a Master’s in International Conflict and Cooperation. The course looks at the dynamics of international conflict and cooperation in light of major developments such as the end of the Cold War, the 9/11 terror attacks and the Arab Spring. The course takes a thematic approach to conflict resolution and the role of international organisations to focus on the role of conflict prevention and management in specific geographical areas in addition to the development and regulation of conflict in relation to factors such as natural resources and migration.
The course is a gateway to employment in government agencies, the NGO sector and international organisations as well as into PhD study, research and academia. History and Politics is led by Professor Holger Nehring. Holger Nehring is a historian of post-1945 Western Europe, with special interests in the history of social movements, protests and political activism in Britain and West Germany, the history of violence and peace, the social history of the Cold War, and environmental history.
Stirling is delighted to be partnering with LAD and we are anxious to build on common interests to build further programmes tailored to the needs of the diplomatic community.