I am delighted and honoured to be taking over as Chair of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission. I wanted to express my thanks to my predecessor, Chris Fisher for his distinguished service to the Commission, to all Scholars for their commitment to their studies in the UK despite the major obstacles presented by COVID and to our partners amongst UK Universities who provide Scholars with their unique academic experience. I am looking forward greatly to meeting Scholars and partners, alumni and only regret that this will in the near term have to be done virtually.
We are all in a peculiarly challenging environment where any plans feel provisional. But as Chris explained in his message the Commission has an ambitious work programme and I am committed to ensuring that we pursue this and that the strong tradition of selecting and supporting Marshall Scholars is maintained despite COVID. There will also be opportunities, as there are in any crisis, to innovate and learn which will I hope make the Scholar experience even better.
I realise that I am taking over not only in the middle of a pandemic but as a new Administration takes over in Washington and as Higher Education faces an unprecedented combination of challenges from public health to funding and social inclusion. For me all this just emphasises the value and specialness of a scholarship scheme which promotes academic excellence and international co-operation. The Scholarship was set up in a time of unprecedented challenge with a world to rebuild after WWII. The cooperation and friendship which the Commission promotes and which the Scholars and Alumni embody is like the special US-UK relationship going to matter just as much now and in the future as it did then.
John Raine CMG OBE