Welcome to the Wilberforce Society!
TWS is one of Cambridge’s youngest political societies. It was founded in 2009, but has quickly grown to prominence in the University and beyond. It occupies a unique position; both as Cambridge’s most fresh-thinking and dynamic political society, free from the ideological and reputational burdens of older such organisations, and as the main route for political and policy experience outside the University, of a sort not usually available to students.
In the 21st-century world of politics and public policy, experience and connections count for more than ever, in distinguishing ambitious young professionals from their peers. Leaving behind the constraints of party and of tradition, TWS instead equips Cambridge students with the resources to broaden their public policy knowledge, practice their policy-drafting skills, and reach out to the professional world via novel publications and new connections. In the past year, this activity has seen members working for the homeless in Cambridge, interviewing senior government ministers in Tunis, and even dropping the Society’s work into conversation with Michelle Obama at the White House.
In the world after Cambridge, however far away it may seem, TWS also offers membership that is truly for life. TWS’s Alumni network already reaches across the world, involving young professionals in fields as diverse as law and finance, and keeps its members in touch with each other and the work of the Society. In future decades, it is hoped that this unusual network will span across many spheres of public life, with the shared connections and training with which its members’ work at TWS equipped them.
All of this is approached with a refreshing informality, which makes TWS an exceptionally welcoming community for students interested in politics and public policy. Michaelmas 2012 sees TWS expanding quickly on the social front, with many more informal receptions, TWS:Ideas discussions and even just trips to the pub after our weekly meetings. For a taste of what we do, please do come along to our next TWS Policy seminar, ‘Youth Political Engagement in the UK’, at Emmanuel College on Saturday October 13th.
When I arrived in Cambridge, I came with few pre-formed partisan opinions or strong ideological convictions, preferring instead to learn about public policy with an open mind and an approach based on what works. The past two years at TWS have given me unparalleled opportunities to do this, working with Lords, MPs and other think-tanks in a whole range of fascinating projects. It is an opportunity which I hope you will take up too.