The number of Brits using the internet has reached 78% of those aged 14 years or more, compared with 59% in 2003 – yet more than half do it without enthusiasm, and nearly one in six (14%) feel the internet is ‘taking over their lives and invading their privacy’. These results, from a recent survey conducted by the University’s Oxford Internet Institute, a partner in Europaeum activities, also showed an additional one-third (37%) had ‘no strong feelings either for or against’. The report is based on face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 2,000 UK internet users. One noteworthy trend is a levelling off in the popularity of social networking sites with two-thirds (61%) of internet users, using them, after explosive growth until 2011. Most users of social network sites are under 35, but with a substantial rise in users aged 45-54 years – from 10% in 2007, to 51% in 2013. The digital divide in Britain continues to narrow, suggests the report, with those never going online falling from 23% in 2011 to 18% in 2013. Yet while everyone owns a tv, one-quarter (24%) do not have a computer. Lead researchers Professor William Dutton and Dr Grant Blank said although the internet – developed after the discovery of the world wide web 25 years ago – is an integral part of most people’s lives in Britain today, half of Brits appear to use it without enthusiasm. “These are people who use the internet because they have to, not because they want to. They don’t go online to enjoy themselves and they don’t feel more productive online. They also perceive problems, particularly with regard to privacy, frustration and wasted time.”
Key current Human Rights issues and concerns including the frontiers of human rights protection, the application or Human Rights to armed groups such as Isis and Boko Harem and to corporations such as Shell, as well as the relevance of Human Rights in times of armed conflict, especially in the case of states taking action abroad, will feature in the next Europaeum Lecture coming up in Oxford on November 23rd. Dr Andrew Clapham, Professor of Public International Law at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, will give a major lecture on “The Changing Character of Human Rights”, in our continuing series of Oxford-Geneva Programme lecture series. Professor Clapham is a very distinguished legal academic and practitioner who has worked with the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (2006-14) and as representative of Amnesty International at the UN in New York (1991-97). Professor Clapham has also worked as Special Adviser on Corporate Responsibility to Higher Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, and Adviser on International Humanitarian Law to Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Iraq. His expertise focuses on the International obligations of non-state actors under human rights law and under international humanitarian law. The lecture will take place at 17.00 at St Antony’s College and will be open to all. It will be chaired by Professor Sir Adam Roberts, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Oxford University. For more information, please view the poster here. Last year’s lecture assessing the work of Henry Kissinger, given by Jussi M. Hanhimäki, Professor of International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute, is to be published soon and will be available on our website.
World-famous Russian conductor and pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy believes deeply in the European Project and his own experiences escaping from Russia has left him committed to peace and democracy. As he explained in a recent interview in the Observer Newspaper, musicians to strive to keep up British links with Europe in the face of Brexit, and spoke passionately about his continued faith in European culture (see full article here). It is these values that have led the Maestro to commit supporting our Europaeum Music and Peace commemoration project – which may now be launched at the University of Helsinki early next year, following current discussions between the University and our project co-ordinator, Ken Asch. The overall aim is still to offer concerts with the Maestro conductor hosted at each partner university willing to collaborate, where appropriate funding can be secured, over 2018-19 – marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. A Helsinki launch also to mark 100 years of Finnish independence has moved nearer – and also a ‘rehearsal’ showcase event in Oxford. The aims remain to involve Europaeum graduates, a local orchestra, and leading local figures. Overall, our project reinforces a belief in the European Project, as outlined in the interview, currently under threat from so many quarters, most recently from BrExit – despite bringing six decades of peace.