First international compassion school in Shrewsbury

By Thomas Morton | Shrewsbury | Education | Published:

Leading scholars from around the world gathered in at town's castle to mark the first international "compassion summer school".

Delegates and dignitaries at a civic reception for the first ever Darwin International Institute for the Study of Compassion summer school, at Shrewsbury Castle

A civic reception was held at Shrewsbury Castle for delegates from universities around the globe who are involved with the Darwin International Institute for the Study of Compassion (DIISC), an initiative spearheaded by Shrewsbury-based professor Patrick Pietrioni.

The initiative is working to build up a network of universities around the world to host top level student researchers working on the study of some aspect of "compassion, altruism or kindness" across various subject areas and walks of life.

This week DIISC is holding its first summer school, and in support of it Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury Town Council hosted a reception for the scholars on Wednesday evening.

Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Jane Mackenzie, gave a speech alongside Professor Pietroni and Professor Rod Thomson, director of public health and a trustee of the Darwin Centre Trust, the charity behind DIISC that has been working for the past two years to the launch it.

The trust has been granting "Darwin scholarships" to support outstanding PhD candidates or "Darwin scholars" that will be hosted at multiple universities internationally as part of DIISC.

Based in Coton Hill, Professor Pietroni is a medical doctor and mental health director in the Public Health Department with a long career in the NHS and academia, and has been travelling the world, leading outreach and fundraising efforts to establish the institute.

He said: "It has been a real pleasure to host these guests from around the USA, UK and Australia for the first DIISC summer school.

"As well as all the important work we are doing throughout the week, we have been honoured to introduce them to our historic town.

"I would like to thank madam mayor and her team for the warm welcome at today's civic reception. Our guests are looking forward to returning again soon as we continue our work at DIISC."

During the summer school the scholars have been discussing and debating the most effective ways to support the new project further, with the noble aim of "seeking to find new, open-minded and compassionate ways to encourage students, supervisors and mentors to work together on creating a more compassionate world, across subject boundaries and national and cultural borders".

Thomas Morton

By Thomas Morton

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star


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