Oxford University receives unprecedented £150 million donation for new institute

 

Alliance magazine

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The University of Oxford has received a £150 million landmark gift, the largest single donation to a UK university, from Stephen A. Schwarzman for a new institute that will study the ethics of artificial intelligence.

Stephen A. Schwarzman is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms with over $500 billion Assets Under Management. The Schwarzman Centre will be home to Oxford’s new Institute for Ethics in AI, to lead the study of the ethical implications of artificial intelligence and other new computing technologies.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, commented: ‘This generous donation from Stephen A. Schwarzman marks a significant endorsement of the value of the Humanities in the 21st century and in Oxford University as the world leader in the field. The new Schwarzman Centre will open a vibrant cultural programme to the public and will enable Oxford to remain at the forefront of both research and teaching while demonstrating the critical role the Humanities will play in helping human society navigate the technological changes of the 21st century.’

Stephen A. Schwarzman added: ‘I’m proud to partner with Oxford to establish the Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities which will unite Oxford’s Humanities faculties for the first time, include a new Institute for Ethics in AI to explore crucial questions affecting the workplace and society, and in addition offer modern performing arts facilities that will deepen Oxford’s engagement with the public. For nearly 1,000 years, the study of the Humanities at Oxford has been core to western civilisation and scholarship. We need to ensure that its insights and principles can be adapted to today’s dynamic world. Oxford’s longstanding global leadership in the Humanities uniquely positions it to achieve this important objective.’

Schwarzman Centre will bring Oxford’s Humanities disciplines together for the first time and house a full suite of state-of-the-art academic, exhibition, and performance spaces, allowing public audiences to engage more deeply with the University. This investment will allow Oxford to grow its academic posts and scholarships, helping to attract the next generation of students to the Humanities, including those from under-represented backgrounds.

Neil MacGregor, art historian and former Director of the British Museum, said: ‘This magnificent, munificent gift to the University is as timely as it is generous. The way we make new knowledge is changing. And soon Oxford will, thanks to this gift, have a building specifically designed both to foster a new way of working, and to share its benefits as widely as possible. The new centre will allow the entire family of the humanities in Oxford to work together as never before: and the spaces for performance — concert hall, cinema and theatre — will allow the public to play its part in generating a wider understanding of ourselves and of our world. The humanities are about generosity of spirit: this supreme act of generosity will enrich the intellectual life of Oxford — far beyond the university — for decades to come.’

For more see: http://www.ox.ac.uk


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