IP at 40: In Conversation with Professor Jay Winter

by Nick Godfrey

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of International Programmes (IP) at Pembroke, we are doing a series of profiles in 2017 on former students and staff who were involved with IP and the effect this experience had on them or on Pembroke.

This first profile is an interview with Professor Jay Winter (1966) carried out by the College Recorder, Alice Oates.


What has been your experience of Pembroke and of International Programmes?

Dr. Jay Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University, tours the new Washington University in St. Louis Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum exhibition "World War I: War of Images, Images of War" on the Danforth Campus in St. Louis Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. Dr. Winter participated in the exhibition, preparing the timeline chronicling the events of the war.Photo by Sid Hastings / WUSTL Photos

Photo by Sid Hastings / WUSTL Photos

Professor Winter came to Pembroke in 1966 to study for a PhD on the First World War.  At that time the discipline was not a major one.  He describes his time at Pembroke as the first steps he took into the field he has worked in ever since, saying that the assistance and encouragement of Tony Camps (1929; Master, 1970-81), and Professor David Joslin (1950), who opened the door for him at Pembroke, have helped make him the historian he is today.

In 1979 Jay became a Fellow.  At that point International Programmes was becoming important, as a number of different institutions wanted to find summer teaching for their students.  The most successful was the University of California at Berkley.  International Programmes was part of the extension of facilities for students whose later years included a return to England, and return to Cambridge in some cases, that came directly out of their experience in the College.  It was the beginning of the globalisation of Pembroke.  One colleague, then Senior Tutor Clive Trebilcock (1965), worked hard to encourage Japanese gifts to the college that resulted in the building of Foundress Court and clearing out and redesigning the space in which had been the Master’s Lodge.  In the 1970s/80s the College was recognising that global education was the future, and that undergraduates across disciplines and former students had a vision of a global college.  The Anglo-centric and old Commonwealth nature of the college was changing.

International Programmes were part of the broader changing of the College.  International students were the first step in this transformation; they had a substantial impact on the College, not least by boosting the graduate community where before the overwhelming focus of the College had been on the undergraduates.  With very talented graduates such as Bill Janeway (1965), an eminent banker, and poet and writer Clive James (1964), former graduates took on a much higher profile than ever before.  Such transformations happened everywhere in Cambridge, but International Programmes had a specific impact on Pembroke through the introduction of international students.

How does IP benefit students?

Coming to Cambridge matters more now to both domestic and international students because the job market and economy are sufferingHaving spent time in England, and in Cambridge specifically, makes a real difference in job placement and academic work.

What do students do afterwards?

Students come from IP to work with Jay as PhD students. His own subject, the history of the First World War, expanded enormously as a subject of research.   Graduate students follow supervisors.  Jay has been a supervisor for 45 years, so he benefited from having individuals who were connected to his work and to Pembroke.  This is a very personal link.  The supervision of students is very personal in general.  The personal touch makes a difference between people who remain visitors and people who become members of the College.

How does the College benefit from IP?

No matter what form Brexit takes, the future of Britain is one connected to an international economy and environment. Our international relationships will affect the future of Britain regardless of how you voted in the referendum.  The population of the Pembroke community is more international than ever before.  Their globalised lives now start as soon as they begin university, not afterwards.  This didn’t used to happen.  Almost all universities of high calibre are global now, and the College has had to find ways to fit into that environment.  Bringing international students to the College is part of that agenda.