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Gifted Youngsters Enjoy Geography Lecture

Some of India’s most gifted youngsters enjoyed a unique lecture on geography from a Liverpool Hope University academic.   

The ‘STARS Centre for Integral Formation’ is a specialist organisation headquartered in Kerala, India, focused on identifying and guiding promising young people who might go on to become future leaders, both regionally and nationally. 

Besides providing educational opportunities, STARS - aka the ‘Sanjoe Training Academy|Resourceful Students’ - also has a strong commitment to social justice and spirituality, and rails against societal ‘Evils and Injustice’. 

Last week Hope’s Reverend Paul Rooney, Head of Geography & Environmental Science, was delighted to have been invited to deliver a lecture to the STARS pupils on 'The geography of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'.

It’s a lecture that covered the origins of the UK, its climate and animal life, the myriad ethnic groups that call Britain home, as well as its tradition of religious tolerance.

There were further discussions about the NHS and education, and also some of the things that have made Liverpool great - including the likes of The Beatles and a city-wide passion for football.

Rev. Rooney told the students - who ranged in age from 14 to 20 years old and many of whom were listening to an academic from abroad for the very first time: “Liverpool has always been an inspiring destination with a rich history and vibrant culture.

“It’s home to Europe’s longest established Chinese community, as well as boasting the largest Chinese Arch in Europe, but it’s also home to the oldest black community in the entire UK. It’s culturally diverse - over 51 per cent of people in the city speak a language other than English at home. In fact, more than 60 languages are spoken in the city every single day!

“There are also 2,500 historic listed buildings and 250 public monuments in the city, which represents the largest collection of Grade One listed properties, with more national museums and galleries than any city outside London. Two cathedrals, two football clubs, three universities – one city.”

Rev. Rooney also fielded some insightful questions about the welfare system in the UK, British colonisation and even the controversies surrounding how Britain has laid claim over foreign treasures, such as the Elgin Marbles.  

He adds: “It was a real pleasure to lecture to such an attentive and engaged audience and I’m sure many of those students will go on to have successful careers as thought leaders in their home nation. 

“Liverpool Hope University has long enjoyed academic links with institutions in India, including Christ University, Bangalore and Stella Maris College, Chennai, and it’s crucial we continue to foster such relationships with colleges and universities that share Hope’s very special mission and values.”

STARS says it aims to provide children with an ‘integral formation consisting of Spiritual, Human and Intellectual formation’.

An initiative of the Diocese of Palghat, it also aims to ‘choose and mould children of high intellectual caliber thereby creating a unique group that can influence and guide the society in the future by being at the helm.’

** To learn more about STARS, head here

** You can watch the lecture for yourself via YouTube here.

Published on 23/08/2021