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Fellow feeling

‘A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind’

Alexander Pope

Yesterday, I was sitting in a café in Oxford when my phone pinged. It was a notification; my friend and colleague, Emily, had sent a photo to our group chat. The photo had just been taken, at the end of a night out in Tokyo. It showed Emily, her sister, and a group of students who were on our course this summer – they had organised a reunion. How marvellous, I thought, that my friends in Tokyo can instantly send me a photo, a memory of their night together. How wonderful that we can connect so easily with people across the globe.

This isn’t just a post about the wonders of modern communications technology – it’s more about the wonders of friendship. Humans have always reached out to each other, have always sought comfort and solace and joy in the company of others. Our ability – our need – to forge connections is something that has always, and will always, define us.

George Eliot wrote about ‘fellow-feeling’ as a foundation for empathy and, thus, morality. I am passionate about education, and driven by a belief that it can change the world. Exchanging ideas with students is always a joy. What I most enjoy, though, about our programmes, is watching ‘fellow-feeling’ develop: over the two weeks, bonds are formed that transcend, and last.

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