Jonathan Lee Draper gives a talk to the Exeter and District ESU on migration
The guest speaker at the Annual Dinner of The Exeter and District branch of the ESU was Dr Jonathan Draper (pictured right with Chairman, Paul Waterworth), who was Dean of Exeter Cathedral from 2011 to 2017. He is now the part-time General Secretary of Modern Church, a liberal Christian charity.
Jonathan was born in Massachusetts, USA where he was educated. After graduating, he, by choice, moved to a very poor and rough area in Newark. Wanting to widen his life experiences and to pursue his education outside the USA, but in another English speaking country, he decided to travel to the UK. He gained a degree at Durham University, a city he came to love and where he met his wife. He also quickly realised that he had to assimilate the British meaning of English words, often subtly different from that in his homeland, and to adapt to the lifestyle in the UK.
Jonathan spoke on the challenges of migration in relation to his own life experiences. He compared that to the experiences of the many millions who had moved from their homelands over the centuries for a variety of reasons, sometimes in search of safety, sometimes for economic reasons. He said migrants can be seeking “The Promised Land”, escaping slavery, dictatorship, hostile regimes, religious or ethnic prejudice or the severe effects of climate change. Charles Darwin once said “Survivors are those that adapt”.
Jonathan said that it was the duty of the wealthy west to give aid to help people flourish where they live so that conditions can be improved for whole populations and the need for migration reduced. This is not always possible where violence is prevalent.
Jonathan concluded by saying that the United Kingdom is in an obvious state of flux over its immigration policy. The current trend is clearly towards a less benevolent or generous approach. This is evidenced by the statements by some of those shaping policies towards, for example, the post Brexit era and the future of Caribbean immigrants who came into the UK in the 1950s and 1960s.
Anyone interested in attending Exeter ESU events or becoming a member should contact the Membership Secretary Margaret Guyver on 01392 491898.