A successful and memorable weekend in Berlin
The General Council joined the Alumni Team for a weekend of events in Berlin in June. This was the first time that the University of Edinburgh had held its General Council meeting in Germany, and German-based Edinburgh alumni were able to take part in the events held to mark this historic occasion.
The weekend started on Friday afternoon with a Lecture and panel discussion at the Hertie School of Governance.
Leading German politician and Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, David McAllister, started proceedings with a lecture, entitled "A Strong Europe - A Positive Future for Great Britain and Germany".
This was followed by a panel debate on the challenges facing the UK, Germany and the Eurozone, with speakers including former UK Foreign Secretary and Edinburgh alumnus, Sir Malcolm Rifkind.
The panel discussion was one of the best of its kind that I have experienced - and I have been involved in many over the years.
Our German Students
In the last academic year, over 450 German students studied at the University of Edinburgh, more students than from any other non-UK European nation.
Honorary degree for European achievements
After the Lecture we moved to the British Embassy where Mr McAllister was presented with an honorary degree. The award to Mr McAllister, whose father was Scottish, was in recognition of his work to further European integration and energy co-operation.
On Saturday the half-yearly meeting of the General Council took place at Humboldt University and was broadcast via the live streaming facilities on the General Council website.
The lunch that followed the meeting included a talk from Professor Chris Breward, Principal of the College of Art.
I think such an event is a great asset to the institution, and I know that having spoken to other Alumni since then, they regret not coming, and I know that if in the future such events take place, some will make the effort to come even from afar.
Cold War tales
The weekend was rounded off with a Gala Dinner in the Museum for Communication.
The elegant neo-Baroque architecture of the Museum provided an excellent backdrop for our special guest speaker Dame Stella Rimington, former Director General of MI5.
Dame Stella captivated the audience with her Cold War tales and insights into the changing face of the British security services.