Going Beyond the Bailey

By David Wilkinson, Principal

The old joke about Durham Principals is that we are like bodies at a wake – we don’t do much, but we have to be there for the party to start!  

Occasionally however, from time to time, you’re allowed out of College for good behaviour. And the rewards are quite spectacular too – in the space of three weeks, I had a number of overseas trips to Jerusalem, Kiev and Ireland. It was an extraordinary time, where everyday is something new, and you could be somewhere else in the world.

In Jerusalem, I attended a conference on the legacy of Stephen Hawking with the world’s leading cosmologists. While there, I was able to give a paper on the end of the universe, and its relevant to the resurrection of Jesus.

The Principal in Jerusalem alongside theologians, philosophers and leading cosmologists

Kiev was a fascinating context of a nation, emerging from the post-Soviet era into finding its own identity, and its own view of faith. There, I gave lectures on science and faith at the National Pedagogical Dragomanov University, St. Sophia Orthodox University, and in front of a crowd of people on beanbags at the Ukrainian YouTube company. I also did a range of radio and television, and an interview with a Ukrainian economist.

At Belfast, it was quite packed but delightful too. I gave two lectures; one to a packed audience in Belfast, for the annual Church of Ireland theology lecture, and another at Dublin, in memory of ETS Walton, the only Irish Nobel prize winner for physics. Then, I also preached at a Methodist celebration.

Fascinating opportunities to explore the fruitful dialogue of science and faith

So while it seems my last few weeks were extremely packed and busy, it was exciting nonetheless. And these trips provided lots of networking opportunities for college, specifically in the form of good contacts. And of course, the trips were fascinating opportunities to explore the fruitful dialogue of science and faith.

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