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LUIP’s first US events to boost London’s profile

Since being launched in 2011, London Universities International Partnership has endeavoured to build the capital’s brand as an international higher education destination. Following previous collaborations in China and India, London’s best mascot, Mayor Boris Johnson, will lend support to the partnership’s first cluster of events in the US.

LUIP Chair Gary Davies and Director Nina Davies.

“I think we’re doing quite a good job of working on the brand of London, which no one was really looking after in the international education sense"

The New York events in February include a university showcase and a roundtable co-organised with the British Council and US-based Institute of International Education “to get the conversation going between London VCs and New York, US university presidents and staff”, Nina Davies, LUIP’s Director and the Royal Veterinary College‘s Director of RVC Access, told The PIE News.

“We thought, ‘let’s go in and try to show New Yorkers that we’re here to collaborate with them’”

The events will aim both to showcase London’s higher education offer and build on LUIP’s existing collaborations with IIE and other US organisations.

The ‘VIP showcase’, which will be attended by industry stakeholders and influential alumni, will debut a series of short films produced by each of LUIP’s 18 member universities, each promoting a topic of their choice.

Themed ‘Education and Culture’, it will focus on the creative arts, including a dance recital by alumni from Roehampton, which is known for its dance school, inspired by New York and London’s shared statuses as “dance capitals of the world”, said Nina Davies.

“The overarching theme is how universities work with the city and how they enhance the lives of people in the city that they’re in through things like physical regeneration and social policy, as major employers, bringing in international students to a city and changing the demographic,” she added.

“We thought, ‘let’s go in and talk about how higher education provision is connected and try to show New Yorkers that we’re here to collaborate with them,’” she commented.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 14.00.51This will be the partnership’s third international event with Boris Johnson, who will speak at the showcase at the Museum of the City of New York.

Despite previous collaborations, this is the first time LUIP has been approached directly by the Mayor’s office about a joint venture, which Gary Davies, its Chair and Director of Recruitment & International Development at the University of Roehampton, said demonstrated that the partnership is starting to have an impact.

LUIP aims to separate out the attraction of studying in the capital and the associated opportunity this brings

“I think it’s gone well; we found a niche, which is to do events that promote London,” he said of LUIP’s efforts to date to separate out the attraction of studying in the capital and the associated opportunity this brings.

“I think we’re doing quite a good job of working on the brand of London with London & Partners, which no one was doing before; no one was really looking after it in the international education sense,” he added.

Perhaps notably absent from LUIP’s membership are London’s four most high-profile institutions – UCL, Imperial, King’s and LSE – and Nina Davies emphasised that the partnership has been successful in highlighting the breadth of London’s education offering, while a previous reliance on the ‘Gang of Four’ to champion the capital has meant that other universities have missed out.

“There was a definite laziness on the part of other associations who thought ‘we don’t need to worry about London because the big few are out their doing their thing’,” she said. “The rest of us didn’t get any kind of a mention. That was a huge frustration.”

Progress has not been without its obstacles, however, and despite a well-received event in Delhi in 2012 and launching a targeted careers website LUIP has decided to withdraw from working in India after “battling” to counter an increasingly unwelcoming image of the UK among Indian students.

“I think probably the area where we’ve struggled the most is India”

It will focus its efforts instead on the Middle East, as well as continuing to work in China and the US. It anticipates its next major event will be in the Middle East and in the process of building contacts in London-based embassies to explore potential for future projects.

Its previous initiatives include accompanying the Mayor on a trade mission to China and engaging superstar bloggers in a “This is London” campaign, which was seen by 68 million people across Chinese social media.

LUIP’s 18 members are:

Brunel University
Goldsmiths, University of London
Institute of Education, University of London
Kingston University London
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
London South Bank University
Middlesex University
Queen Mary, University of London
Royal College of Art
Royal Veterinary College
School of Oriental & African Studies
St Georges, University of London
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
University of East London
University of Roehampton
University of the Arts London
University of Westminster
Architectural Association School of Architecture

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