The District is a hub for international travel and cultural exchange – politics, business, philanthropy, and art converge in our capital city to create the distinctively rich Washingtonian tapestry we all love. Education, too, finds a home here, with our city boasting some of the most prestigious research institutions in the world. This makes for a fascinating city that simply bubbles with energy and life. Any pedestrian on the streets of DC will remark on the volumes of tourists that crisscross the city, taking in our first-class monuments, history, and charm. But this September, Spey welcomed one very special group of travelers to Washington: 15 students from the University of Westminster.
Welcome to Washington
The students call many cities and various countries home, but they all have in common their shared education at the University of Westminster. Nestled in the heart of the city of London, the University boasts pupils from more than 150 nations and continually challenges them to expand their horizons and embrace new ideas. This month, the University launched its inaugural Westminster Working Cultures program in Washington, with colorful Mumbai the next destination in the series. For a week, students toured the city to meet with a number of Westminster alumni and partners, and to experience a range of professional environments – each with advice and discussions on students’ life after graduation and potential career paths.
From an exclusive tour of the newly-opened National Museum of African American History and Culture by Deputy Director Dr. Rex Ellis, to behind-the-scenes access to the headquarters of Under Armour, students gained first-hand insight into the bustling capital region. And, as anyone of distinction will tell you, no trip to DC is complete without a touch of Spey. Our founding chief executive Paul Ashe, himself a Master’s graduate from the University of Westminster, hosted the students and fellow alumni at a private event in Georgetown’s French sweets bakery, Ladurée.
A tickle of the ivories
At the request of Professor Alex Hughes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, together with the University’s alumni relations team, Mr. Ashe also arranged a piano recital and discussion with the students in a private home on Capitol Hill. The concert featured the Director of the Puerto Rico International Piano Festival, Dr. Jason Solounias, on the piano, who was joined by Jenny Bilfield, President and CEO of Washington Performing Arts, for a moderated discussion following. Mr. Ashe guided the discussion and encouraged the students to explore careers advancing the arts and humanities.
All-in-all, it was a wonderful trip for the students – and for Spey! It was an absolute pleasure to meet and speak with the future leaders and disrupters who are set to make the world a lovelier place.