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Our History in Oxford


The primary objective of the Oxford Symposiums is to advance the field of education through scholarly discourse via this academic conference and the dissemination of research through publication. The Symposiums are scheduled to convene at Harris Manchester College within the University of Oxford. It is noteworthy that the University of Oxford comprises a confederation of thirty-eight (38) constituent colleges, among which Harris Manchester College is included. The selection of Harris Manchester College as the venue for this gathering is based on several factors, including its esteemed reputation, its central location within the city of Oxford, and the rapport it maintains with members of the Oxford International Round Table Symposiums Committee and Advisory Board.



Thirty-five years ago, the Oxford Symposium held its first meeting in New Inn Lane at St. Peter’s College in the University of Oxford to consider public policy issues bearing on education in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other selected countries. Participants in the foundational meeting included the Master of St. Peters, the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, ministers of education from twenty countries, the Chair of the National Governor’s Association and several legislators from the United States. Pursuant to the success of that Oxford Symposium, additional meetings were deemed desirable and more were held thereafter. Participation was later broadened to include university presidents and subsequently further expanded to involve scholars from many academic disciplines.


Academic Independence

As an independent educational and charitable organization, the Oxford Symposium is not under the control of the hosting Oxford colleges, most of which are established as endowed sectarian foundations, nor is it in anyway under the aegis, restraint or sanction of the University of Oxford; rather, the Oxford Symposium is free-standing, apolitical and non-denominational. Papers presented at the Oxford Symposium are evaluated solely on their academic merit, and publications emanating therefrom are approved only after peer review by external evaluators.



Invitees to Oxford International Round Table Symposiums are determined based on several criteria, among which are nominations by earlier attendees, courses that invitees teach, their presentations and writings, and their professional involvement in a relevant area of interest. An attempt is also made to diversify as to academic discipline, the type of institution, public or private, and to involve institutions representing different levels of education; i.e. schools, community colleges, four-year colleges, graduate and research universities.



The Oxford Symposiums are held in the colleges of the University of Oxford through special and separate arrangements with each college. Participants are accommodated in the colleges where they are provided rooms, receptions, breakfast, lunch and dinners in the college halls and various other amenities. There are 38 such colleges in the University of Oxford. The formal meetings in which participants present papers and engage in dialogue are usually held at the Oxford Union Debating Society, the Examination Schools of the University, and/or in facilities of the respective colleges.


Various sessions of the Oxford Symposiums have been sponsored by the British Council, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Rockefeller Foundation, Apple Computer, Boeing, and the Bernard van Leer Foundation, The Hague, Netherlands.

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