ON Monday afternoon, International Women’s Day, people gathered online from around the world. People in Mexico and Venezuela had risen early; people in Zimbabwe were clustered around a free wifi spot; in Ghana they were scraping mobile phone data scratch cards to get online and in Cathcart on the South Side of Glasgow they were tethering to phones as Virgin broadband had gone down.

Cultures of Sustainable and Inclusive Peace, launched on International Women’s Day, is a £2 million UK award with grant making powers to small and civic institutions tackling violence against women and considering the role women and girls play in building, and sustaining cultural institutions where peace is made and conflict transformed.

Deborah Kayembe the new Rector of Edinburgh officially launch the grant together with Rachel Sandison Vice Principal for External Relations and Professor Margery McMahon, Head of the School of Education., at University of Glasgow. All were passionate advocates for peace, speaking movingly of their experiences.

READ MORE: Academics quit in protest over UK Government's foreign aid cuts

My indefatigable Palestinian colleague launched his leg of the work from a hospital bedside, as he held vigil, but bursting with heart-felt pride at this chance to be bound so firmly into international peace building.

We watched the young women from Zimbabwe offer their research in the drama Secrets of a Woman’s Soul, where effects of femicide and collective resilience were palpably on display. And we received the results of our first phase of research which demonstrated the length and breadth of the violence against women in different regions of the world, finally hearing from Maya Farzia, a young Scot and her world premiere of a spoken word poem. “See you are pearls” she said and we could all see.

After the event my phone was alive with pride, happiness and joyous laughter. Co-workers enjoying the dignity of good work together. All around the world and in contexts where the struggles are beyond our imagining.

Then, on Friday, the UK Government announced cuts to international science the savagery of which was never seen before and is now announcing an increase in nuclear warheads. This is in flagrant breach of the International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was signed into law on 22nd January 2021.

READ MORE: SNP call for vote on whether foreign aid should be cut after report leaked

The savage cuts were announced on the UKRI website, the UK’s scientific funding body – no consultation at any level with Vice Chancellors and Principals, award holders, stakeholders, overseas ministers. As Co-Chair of the Strategic Advisory Group overseeing International Development grant awards for the Arts and Humanities within UKRI I had no warning. All we knew was the spending review cuts were harsh. The length, depth and consequences are as yet unknown but they will result directly in increases in poverty, violence against women and girls, and the crumbling of civic, cultural and higher educational institutions overseas. Cuts to the science and research budget with our international partners in the global south are estimated at £120 million. In The Guardian article on this new proliferation of nuclear warheads we learn that the MoD estimates the next generation of nuclear submarines would cost £30bn plus a £10bn contingency.

Like colleagues leading the many projects affected across Scotland I am reeling and feeling the full, sickening savagery of this violent assault on my person, life’s work and most of all on our co-workers for peace and cultural justice in the global south. It needs repeating that people who are black, living in poverty, disabled, women and girls will be the hardest hit and those forced to flee all the more so. This marks the end of Global Britain and it’s scientific contributions to world healing, the end of the UK university as one where science is used for the good of all, exactly at a time when we are so very sick with climate change and this pandemic.

This is necropolitics – which Achile Mbembe coined – the willful politics of death, the choice of death over life in its full, mutually sustaining struggle for goodness.

I – and my colleagues – have no idea how this sword will fall or what hellish decisions await us, in what I strongly suspect will be an unaccountable "levelling up" project where we eventually see a map of those "saved" correlating – as in other areas of contract awards of late – with the friends of our of feckless leaders, or favouring constituencies with Tory MPs. Please God, may I be wrong.

Forgive me. It’s not easy to find the words when your life’s work is blown up and those to whom you have a duty of care, and a heart of love, are to be the first to suffer, not easy to watch, with a sword to your head, and when asked to be the one to break the news, to wield a sword. Those I work with know this state of affairs well.

In the face of death, wanton destruction, of necropolitics I’m minded of the words of Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Alison Phipps is UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow.