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A poster promoting our Holocaust Remembrance Day

It has not been a calm or conventional week in UK politics or international affairs. With Westminster in angry ferment and Russian forces massing on the Ukrainian border I find my attention drawn to reliable sources of news. I always read The Times and Financial Times, listen to BBC Radio 4's Today Programme and watch Channel 4 News. Now I find myself dipping into Le Monde and the New York Times as well and listening to The World Tonight. Old journalists never lose their habits.

But dramatic news cannot deflect my attention from achievements in South College. This week I am intensely proud of the impact made by South sports teams on pitches, courts and stretches of water. The dedication and commitment of our sports people has raised South's profile. There have already been several spectacular successes, and I celebrate each of them. However, recent victories by South Netball A against Collingwood and by South Lacrosse against St Cuthbert's Society deserve special mention. Many congratulations to all concerned. I look forward to many happy visits to Maiden Castle as the term progresses.

Activities including sports, drama, music, debating, and quizzes strengthen our community and reinforce our College's identity. I'd like to thank the team captains and society presidents whose work is crucial to their success. Building such activities is essential to South's development, and you have done this work in exceptionally demanding circumstances. You will shortly receive an invitation to a reception in the JCR on Tuesday 1st February. Please come and enjoy a drink and some snacks. There is much to celebrate.  

One upcoming deserves special mention. Thursday 27th January is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Holocaust Remembrance Day Service will be played in the JCR between 7 and 8pm on Thursday evening. Candles will be available to pay respect to the victims. The UN reminds us that this year's guiding theme is 'Memory, Dignity and Justice'. It notes that Holocaust commemoration and education is essential because 'The writing of history and the act of remembering brings dignity and justice to those whom the perpetrators of the Holocaust intended to obliterate. Safeguarding the historical record, remembering the victims, challenging the distortion of history often expressed in contemporary antisemitism, are critical aspects of claiming justice after atrocity crimes'. Please participate if you can.

Over the past week we have been blessed with clear skies and some spectacular views of the Wolf Moon. Durham looks superb in these conditions and reminds us that we are privileged to study, research, and lead in such a delightful place. And, while we must all continue to take care, opportunities to enjoy our surroundings will expand as Epiphany Term continues.