Baroness Kay Andrews
.... “Deciding to go to Aber to take a degree in International Politics in 1961 confounded most people I knew, including my Headteacher and my parents. I had seemed destined to read English somewhere else. But in fact it was a stroke of genius on my part, inspired by chance - a lecture given at Coleg Harlech by Professor Philip Reynolds on the nation state: ‘No Man is an Island’. And that was that.
We were incredibly lucky to be at Aber at that time: EH Carr was still a powerful influence - and as now, the department was a byword for pioneering research and teaching in International Politics. Looking back, I realise it was a remarkable time to be studying this subject: only 25 years from the end of WW2; the brave new world of the Common Market; the maturing of the United Nations; the loss of Empire – the disgrace of Suez, the tragedy of Hungary, and the menace of the Cold War. We learned, I suspect, alongside our brilliant young teachers - Roger Morgan (still writing brilliant reviews), Ieuan John, Roy Jones – to name but three - about the reconfiguration of global power and politics, the challenges to International Law and the interpretation of contemporary history and its influence. This was first hand research and knowledge.
Moreover, it wasn’t just theoretical. We were passionate about the major international events of the time, particularly the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world stood on the brink of nuclear war. One very wet afternoon towards the end of the crisis, we left the rather scruffy house next to the Old College where the Department was then housed, and trooped up to Penrhyndeudraeth to thank Bertrand Russell (born there in 1872!) for his dramatic intervention calling for the withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.
My career has been influenced by my conviction that evidence and logic as well as ethics and values must inform political and public life. I have been enormously privileged all my life in the education I had, and by what I have had the chance to do, both inside and outside Parliament and Government. The excitement I felt at the ideas I was exposed to as an undergraduate at Aber has never left me – and neither has the profound gratitude I still feel to those who taught me to understand more about the world and our power and responsibility to influence it. “