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Oriel College joins efforts to promote intercultural dialogue across Oxfordshire

Oriel College, Oxford, welcomed visitors from MultakaOxford in April to support efforts to promote intercultural dialogue across Oxfordshire and help open up University spaces to local communities.

Maggie Jones, Treasurer of Oriel College, facilitated the visit, which was organised on the request of Helen Pooley from the History of Science Museum, University of Oxford.

MultakaOxford is based across the History of Science Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum. The enterprise started in 2017 when the two museums, collaborating with charities Asylum Welcome and Refugee Resource, began training local people who were recently settling in Oxford through forced migration as tour guides. Today its work is supported by a £1m donation from Alwaleed Philanthropies.

Maggie Jones says: “I’m delighted to be part of this significant project which not only helps forced migrants develop skills, but actively encourages conversations about culture and heritage as a means to bring communities together on a plane of mutual understanding.”

As part of the visit, archivist Rob Petre displayed an original engrossment of the Magna Carta, part of the rich archival heritage of the College. The Treasurer also gave a tour of the heritage site.

At the end of the day, visitors enjoyed listening to music by the choir of Oriel College in the Chapel, recorded to celebrate Candlemas, before retiring to the recently renovated Hall, with its English Gothic hammerbeam roof, for afternoon tea.

“We were captivated by the rich history and impressive architecture of the College. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the academic and cultural heritage of Oriel College,” said one visitor after the visit.

Another commented: “We visited some amazing parts of the campus, which helped us understand academic life and the environment at Oriel College much better.”