Princess Anne hears about Syrian refugee crisis on visit to Queen Mary University of London

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS - Credit: Archant

Princess Anne has been discussing the Syrian refugee crisis on her visit to east London this-afternoon to open Queen Mary University’s new £39 million Graduate centre at Mile End.

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS - Credit: Archant

She was introduced to School of Economics lecturer Dr Francesco Fasani, whose research focuses on labour and migration.

Dr Fasani spoke about “the catastrophic situation in Syria” which has forced 12 million people to flee their homes.

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS - Credit: Archant

Half were still in Syria, while the six million who fled abroad are mostly now in neighbouring countries, he told her.

This was putting strain on the region in an already-turbulent period in Middle Eastern politics, he added.

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS - Credit: Archant


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The new centre has created an extra 70,000sq ft of postgraduate study, including a 200-seater lecture theatre, seminar rooms, social spaces, a café and even a mock trading floor and trading lab.

The Princess was given a real-time demonstration of the new economics lab, which uses software to simulate a trading floor environment.

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS - Credit: Archant

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The seven-storey building is staffed by 45 academics and has a 1,300-strong student cohort, from undergraduate to post-doctoral researchers.

It has accommodation for academics and staff of the university’s School of Economics and Finance.

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS - Credit: Archant

The top-floor has a common room for postgraduates that opens out onto a terrace with panoramic views of Canary Wharf and the City.

The Princess Royal, who is the university’s Chancellor, was shown round the lecture theatre which has been named after the late Maurice Peston, founder of the Economics department at Queen Mary’s.

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS

Princess Anne opens new Graduate Centre at Queen Mary University in Mile End. Picture: KEN MEARS - Credit: Archant

She unveiled a stone plaque at the entrance of the Graduate centre before meeting staff at the university’s Centre for Public Engagement and Centre for the Study of Childhood Culture attached to Bethnal Green’s V&A Museum of Childhood.

The Princess, accompanied by university President and Principal Prof Simon Gaskell, also met Prof Thomas Dixon who introduced his team from the award-winning Centre for the History of Human Emotions.

The team then demonstrated their ‘history of lost emotions’ machine that they use on members of the public for their research.

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