Join us for the International House Annual Alumni Reunion and Meeting co-hosted by the Freunde and FIHUK (Friends of International House United Kingdom) Chapters.
Our UK-based chapter, Friends of International House UK (FIHUK), is delighted to have this opportunity to welcome Alumni from continental Europe and beyond, for the first time going outside London.
The weekend will take place from Friday 21 September to Sunday 23 September 2018 in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. We would strongly advise you to take Friday off work if you can so you can take part in the full fun-packed program which will:
- Cover important issues of identify and politics in the light of Brexit and strong support for Scottish independence,
- Explore Scottish culture from dancing, art, food and of course whisky and the new wave of artisanal gin,
- Highlight the talents of I-House alumni musicians, and raise money for scholarships for I-House residents affected by conflict, and
- Allow plenty of time to enjoy the company of I-House friends you already know and those you will make during the course of the weekend.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we are able to offer a subsidized registration fee for the whole weekend of £80 (£50 for children ages 16 & under). This includes all activities except where stated otherwise, including guided tours on Friday and Saturday (Parliament, Old Town), treasure hunt (Sunday), welcome reception on Friday evening, business meeting and buffet lunch on Saturday, live musicians, speakers and gratuities. The only items charged separately are our keynote dinners on Friday and Saturday evening, the first with leading diplomats and academics in the historic Surgeon’s Hall, and the second celebrating Scots and international culture, with music, speech and dancing, in the National Gallery of Scotland. These 3 course meals will include finest Scottish cuisine and half a bottle of wine per person, plus tea and coffee, and cost £50 each.
Friday 21 September 2018: Scotland, the UK and Europe
1515-1630: Tour of Holyrood, Scottish Parliament, EH99 1SP
Tour of the modern Scottish Parliament building, re-established in 2011 after 292 years, the impressive final work of Catalan architect Enric Miralles. Please meet outside Holyrood at 1515 sharp as we will need to go through security screening.
1700-1900: Free time
The perfect time to explore Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile at your own pace – the road between the parliament and Edinburgh Castle
1900: Welcome reception and dinner, Surgeons’ Hall, 8 Nicolson Street, EH8 9DW
Join us for a welcome reception in the historic Surgeons’ Hall (est. 1697) and be piped into a 3 course dinner ahead of a stimulating panel discussion with leading experts on Scotland, the UK and the EU, including Dame Mariot Leslie DCMG, former UK permanent representative to NATO and Dr. Tobias Lock, Co-Director of Edinburgh’s Europa Institute and Senior Lecturer in EU law, and Dr. Kristy Huges, Director of Scotland’s first and only Europe-focused think tank.
Saturday 22 September 2018: Culture and community
1000-1200: Business meeting, Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, EH1 1LT
Freunde annual general meeting (all welcome to attend, members may vote) and presentations by International House given by Emily Wakeling and Julie Pape of the I-House Development, Alumni Relations & Communications team.
1200-1300: Buffet lunch (all welcome), Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, EH1 1LT
Venue: A landmark centre for contemporary art, craft and design built around a leading international tapestry studio, in the heart of the Old Town, in a renovated Victorian swimming pool building. For more details see www.dovecotstudios.com. For anyone who fancies peeling off from the meeting, the building is open from 10am to the public, with a cafe on the ground floor, a lovely crafts shop and various exhibitions, both free and paying (Liberty Arts Fabrics since 1875).
1300-1515: Guided tour – the Scottish Enlightenment and Edinburgh (meet Dovecot Studios)
In the bars and restaurants of Edinburgh, the Scottish Enlightenment was born, a heady mix of philosophy, religion, science, literature and the birth of modern economics, arguably a result of Scotland being the first country in the world to require universal primary education. Find out how Scotland changed the course of history!
1530-1730: Walk up Arthur’s Seat. Meeting point TBC
If you’ve still got some energy, we’ll go for a 4 mile/6km hike up the extinct volcano which dominates Edinburgh’s skyline. If not, enjoy some free time in town.
1800: Cultural Dinner and Dancing, Scottish Cafe & Restaurant, The Mound/Princes St, EH2 2EL
Cocktail reception, followed by a concert featuring I- House musicians and friends to raise funds for the International House Welcome Fund (a financial aid fund established in response to recent restrictions on immigration), a 3-course dinner in Scottish Restaurant followed by tea and coffee, a talk on Scots in Europe by award-winning author and broadcaster Billy Kay and end the evening with Scottish dancing featuring a live ceilidh band, and a guest appearance by Alice Lewthwaite, the great granddaughter of Harry Edmonds, founder of International House.
Sunday 23 September: The New Town and departures
1100-1300: Brunch/coffee at Contini George St, 103 George Street, EH2 3ES
Chill out with friends in one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful rooms: a former banking hall modelled on a Florentine palazzo.
1300-1500: Treasure hunt Meet outside Contini’s
Time to discover the New Town, built 1760s-1830s after overcrowding inside the Old Town reached critical levels. A 26 year old, James Craig won the competition to design a new area, to reflect The Age of Enlightenment, stop wealthier citizens heading south to London and attracting some of them back.This was the largest planned city development in the entire world at the time and it proved an enormous success, both commercially and culturally, creating the “Athens of the North”.
Team up with friends old and new to battle it out to discover the clues and solve puzzles.
Getting to/from the airport
Edinburgh Airport is quite close to the city centre. You can take a bus (30 minutes into town, every 10 minutes, 24 hours, £4.50 single/£7.50 return), tram (30 minutes into town, every 7 minutes, £6 single/£8.50 return) or taxi (25 minutes, around £40) into town. We would not recommend car hire – Edinburgh has great public transport, and it is difficult and expensive to drive and park a car in town.
Arriving by train
If you are coming from London or elsewhere in the UK, train is likely to be a good option. Edinburgh is well-served by trains, and they come right to the centre, serving both Haymarket and Waverley (the only station in the world named after a novel). For the best fares, book 12 weeks in advance.
The following hotels are all within a few minutes’ walk of our main venues:
- Top end: grand old 5 star Victorian hotels: Balmoral or Waldorf Astoria. Or for something special, the Witchery by the Castle.
- Top business/full service hotels: Hilton Edinburgh Carlton, Principal George St, Radisson Blu, Radisson Collection, Doubletree, Sheraton Grand. A little bit further away: Macdonalds Holyrood.
- Mid-range family hotels: Jury’s Inn, Travelodge Edinburgh Central (several options: Princes St, Waterloo Pl. Rose St or St Marys St), Ibis Royal Mile, Apex Waterloo Place, hub by Premier Inn, Holiday Inn Express Royal Mile. Or there are a few aparthotels/serviced apartments in the centre
One of our venues, the historic Surgeon’s Hall, where we dine on Friday, also has its own 4 star hotel attached, Ten Hill Place Hotel. It is run independently and any profits are funneled back into the College to promote surgical training and patient care. If you are interested in this central, comfortable location please contact the hotel directly via: https://www.tenhillplace.com/ +44 (0)131 662 2080 email@example.com meaning that you are part of the I House group, for the best rate.
We’d advise you to shop around to get the best price for your chosen hotel. This Google Maps link shows accommodation options and prices for the alumni weekend. Anything near Waverley station is ideal. Why not agree with some friends where you will stay?
If you’re on a tighter budget, or want to see more of Edinburgh, don’t be afraid of looking for a B&B or Airbnb further afield, in areas such as the up and coming dock area of Leith. Edinburgh has a great bus network – £4 for a day ticket anywhere on the network (exact change only!) – so just check that you’re near a bus route (Lothian Buses) before booking so you can easily get to and from the centre.
What to wear/weather
Well, your guess is as good as ours. It might be delightful, warm and sunny. It might be cold and wet. Layers are the answer. And have something waterproof just in case. Or maybe sunglasses. Comfortable shoes are a must – there is plenty of walking in the programme, and the picturesque cobbled streets don’t go well with high heels. Check out the weather before you travel.
Scotland has three banks which issue bank notes (in England, only the Bank of England does) so be prepared to have a wide range of notes. It is strongly advisable to spend or exchange all Scottish notes before leaving the country; it is not easy even in England to have them accepted, and outside of the UK, your chances are even slimmer. You will have no difficulty exchanging dollars or euros, and credit cards are widely accepted. English bank notes are also very welcome!
Anything else? If you have any specific needs or questions, ask Alyson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dame Mariot Leslie DCMG
Mariot Leslie was a member of the British Diplomatic Service from 1977 until she retired in 2014. Her career covered a wide range of global political, economic and security issues.
She was posted to British missions in Singapore, Bonn and Rome, spent two years in Paris on secondment to the French foreign ministry, was ambassador to Norway, and ended her career as the UK’s permanent representative to NATO.
She was a member and alternate chairman of the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee
Her assignments at the FCO in London included positions as head of the Environment, Science and Energy Department (1992-93) in the follow-up to the Rio Earth Summit, head of the Policy Planning Staff (1996-98), director for strategic threats and counterterrorism envoy, and director general for defence and intelligence (2007-10). She read Classics and Modern Languages at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and has an honorary doctorate from Heriot-Watt University.
Dr Tobias Lock
Tobias Lock is a co-director of Edinburgh University’s Europa Institute, and Senior Lecturer in EU Law at Edinburgh Law School.
Tobias’ previous places of work included University College London, the University of Surrey and the University of Erlangen (Germany), where he also received most of his legal education.
He is admitted to the German bar as Rechtsanwalt.
Tobias’ research interest lies broadly speaking in the EU’s multilevel relations with other legal orders. His main focus is on courts as frontline actors in this plural legal environment. He has published two books on the relations between the CJEU and international courts and has done much work on the relationship between the EU and the European Convention on Human Rights. Tobias’ research in this regard has recently been dominated by the many legal questions surrounding Brexit. He contributes regularly to parliamentary and government enquiries, has drafted policy papers, and was the UK national rapporteur on fundamental rights for the FIDE 2012 congress.
Dr Kirsty Hughes
Dr Kirsty Hughes is Director of the Scottish Centre on European Relations. A researcher, writer and commentator on European politics and policy, she has worked at a number of leading European think tanks, including as Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe, Brussels; Senior Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies; Director, European Programme, Chatham House; Senior Fellow, Policy Studies Institute, and Research Fellow, WZB Berlin Social Science Centre. She has published extensively, including books, reports, and policy papers, as well as contributing to a wide range of national and international media outlets. Her research focus has included: the UK, Scotland and Brexit, EU democracy, the politics of the Eurozone crisis, the EU enlargement to central and eastern Europe, and Turkey’s EU accession process.
Writer and broadcaster Billy Kay was born in Galston, Ayrshire in 1951, and educated at Galston High School, Kilmarnock Academy and Edinburgh University. His company Odyssey Productions produces documentaries on Scottish cultural history for BBC Radio Scotland, winning five international awards for series like The Complete Caledonian Imbiber.
Television series he has presented include Haud Yer Tongue for Channel 4 Schools and Miners for BBC Scotland.
He has written two plays for radio and one for Dundee Rep, while his poetry and short stories appear in several anthologies. He is co-author, with Cailean Maclean, of the book Knee Deep in Claret and his work promoting wine has been recognized with awards in Britain and France.
He is a passionate advocate of the Scots language and author of the classic work Scots: The Mither Tongue. His latest book on the Scottish diaspora The Scottish World was published in 2006.
Billy was given an honorary Doctorate by the University of the West of Scotland in 2009, the Oliver Award by the Scots Independent newspaper in 2010 and later that year became Honorary Preses of the Scots Language Society. In 2016 he was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame for his Services to Scots. In addition to his native languages, Scots and English, Billy speaks French, German and Portuguese. He is married to Maria João de Almeida da Cruz Diniz and they have three children, Joanna, Catriona and Euan.
For more information, visit www.billykay.scot