Written by Fiona Imbali, 2013-14, MSc Development Management

26.02.2014-cumberlandlodge-1-revisedSince arriving in bustling Heathrow Airport, I’ve been through one academic term, read through hundreds of pages of reading assignments and submitted three essays. Michaelmas Term has flown by, but the thought of Cumberland Lodge, the 17th century house to which a group of Development Management students visited in November, still kindles splendid memories.

Even before joining LSE, I had heard many great stories about Cumberland Lodge, and I knew it was a trip not to be missed. That it was a chance to see one of the Queen’s estates and possibly even meet the Queen was enough incentive to put my best foot forward and get this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Few spaces were available, but my perseverance in refreshing the browser worked, and I, along with five other PfAL scholars, was lucky to get a ticket.

Cumberland Lodge and the weekend experience were spectacular.

Throughout the weekend we gained great insights from different speakers on the theme “Crisis and Sustainability in Development”. “Doing socially responsible businesses through the engagement of the private sector” by Adam Brett was especially interesting as he showed the importance of the private sector in empowering the poor societies through his Tropical foods company.

Racha Helwa also gave a fascinating talk on the current state of affairs in Egypt after the uprising, while Dr. Anne Wheldon from Ashden Company spoke on the importance of promoting energy and environmentally sustainable projects in the developing world.

The wonderful perspective mind games with real-life puzzles taught us team work and spirit in solving complex social problems, which is essential for success in the world today.

It wasn’t just the workshops and lectures that made this such an enriching trip, however. The estate itself was gorgeous, with lush, well-manicured green grass, splendid rooms and magnificent British food. During a two-hour walk in the Great Windsor Park we experienced what we had only seen in movies: the beautiful vast countryside, chariots, and, behold, the phenomenal Windsor Castle! Not only was it the first castle I’d ever seen, it was a magnificent piece of architecture with rich British history and culture. Although a few past visitors were lucky to attend the Royal Chapel that the Queen frequents, she failed to show up this year; next year perhaps.

In the evening some chose to engage in the different games available, while some took to the dance floor. (Professor Teddy Brett is a brilliant dancer for his age!) I met most of my current friends during this trip and I learnt so much about the different cultures of the world, memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.

Fiona and another PfAL scholar, Trufena, pose in front of Cumberland Lodge.
Fiona (left) and another PfAL scholar, Trufena, pose in front of Cumberland Lodge.