Guest Speaker Series

Discover the great line-up of guest speakers we will be hosting on our campuses. In order to ensure that our students never lose sight of the different reality that so many others in the world experience on a daily basis, we feel it is important to expose them to first hand testimony from people with personal stories that challenge their world view.

Talks have so far covered topics as diverse and wide ranging as environmental issues, race relations, human and civil rights, conflict and reconciliation, science, the problem of homelessness and even Ancient Greek philosophy!

Many of our speakers are household names such as IVF pioneer Professor Lord Robert Winston, politicians Alex Salmond and Vince Cable, feminist and academic Germaine Greer, pioneer Bertrand Piccard, astronaut Al Worden, journalists Jon Snow, Nick Robinson and Gary Gibbon, cartoonists Chappatte and Plantu, authors Gillian Slovo and John Carlin, and athletes Hannah Cockcroft, Graeme Le Saux or Howard Gayle.

Others, such as Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss, human rights activist Marina Litvinenko, and anti-FGM activist Leyla Hussein deserve more recognition. 

Please note that these events are open to all members of the Ecolint community (parents, staff and students) as well as the wider public. If you are interested in attending, please register by clicking on the links next to each speaker and if space allows we will endeavour to accommodate your request.

Upcoming 2018-2019 Speakers

Speaker Date & Time Description

Kenton Cool

28 January 2019

13:30-14:15 Registration
14:30-15:15 Registration

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Kenton Cool is an English mountaineer, alpinist and International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) mountain guide. He has completed over 20 notable expeditions in the high ranges of Asia, and in 2013, became the first person to climb Nuptse, Everest and Lhotse in a single push without returning to base camp.

Cool is considered one of the UK’s top mountain and ski expedition leaders, alongside Sir Ranulph Fiennes. On Everest, he holds the highest success rate of any mountain guide, having personally reached the summit thirteen times. 

Cool has also helped raise funds and awareness for charities through his mountaineering, including for the Marie Curie Cancer Care and Porters Progress, a foundation that the mountain portering community in Nepal. 

Proactiva Open Arms

31 January 2019

8:30-9:30 (in Spanish) Registration
12:00-13:00 (in English) Registration

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Proactiva Open Arms is a Spanish NGO devoted to search and rescue at sea, namely of people trying to reach Europe via the Aegean and central Mediterranean seas, some of the world’s deadliest migration routes. 

As well as maintaining a permanent base on the Greek island of Lesbos from which it carries out its rescue operations, it also leads awareness raising programmes. Proactiva Open Arms has won a number of awards, including from the UK-based International Maritime Rescue Federation and from the European Parliament. Its founder, Òscar Camps, was named Catalan of the Year in 2015.

John Finucane

1 February 2019


Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie


John Finucane is an Irish lawyer and Sinn Féin politician, the son of Irish human rights lawyer Pat Finucane who was murdered in 1989 by loyalist paramilitaries in collusion with the British government intelligence service MI5. One of the most controversial killings during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, only after substantial international pressure did the British government eventually announce that an enquiry would be held. 

John Finucane is a long-time campaigner for a public inquiry into the murder of his father. 

Ciara Judge

8 February 2019

Salle Rousseau, Campus des Nations


Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Ciara Judge is an Irish scientist and public speaker. In 2013, at the age of fifteen, she won the 42nd BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, alongside two others, for their statistical investigation of the effects of Diazotroph bacteria on plant germination, and how it could help fight world hunger. 

Judge also won the grand prize in the 2014 Google Science Fair, and was listed as one of the most influential teens in Time for 2014. 

Today, she is co-director of her first research company Germinaid Innovations.

John G. McCarthy Jr.

1 March 2019


Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie


John McCarthy was raised in Greenwich, CT and Paris, attended Greenwich Country Day School, Le Rosey, St Mark's School, Williams College, Princeton University and the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies in Lebanon. After a career in management consulting and executive search, he became a publisher of best sellers translated into Arabic. 

McCarthy has volunteered with a number of organisations, including the American International Club of Geneva, Project HOPE International and Project HOPE Switzerland, the Geneva chapter board of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth, England, and the International College (IC) in Lebanon.

A member of the Bush-Walker clan, McCarthy began as a fundraising volunteer for George H W Bush in 1979. He joined Republicans Abroad, the volunteer overseas voter registration arm of the Republican Party in the 80s. In 1992, he addressed the Republican National Convention at the Astrodome in Houston.

Siobhan Darrow

5 March 2019
Search of the Self

14 May 2019
Neuroscience of Emotions


Auditorium, Centre des arts

Siobhan Darrow was a reporter for CNN for almost fifteen years covering conflict in the former Soviet Union, Northern Ireland, former Yugoslavia and the Middle East.

Darrow's memoir, Flirting with Danger: Confessions of a Reluctant War Reporter explores her fascination with conflict. She is an Integrative Body Psychotherapist and a Life Coach.

Scott M. Weber

7 March 2019


Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie


Scott M. Weber is a French and American specialist in peacebuilding and conflict prevention and is the President of Interpeace, an international peacebuilding organisation. As President, he is responsible for strategy, positioning and resource mobilisation to grow the organisation’s impact, influence and reach.

Weber strongly believes in education as a means to shape young generations of global citizens and a more peaceful and inclusive world. He works with schools and universities to integrate Peace Education into their teaching practices and curricula. He is committed to diversity and inclusion and is a member of the International Gender Champions.

Celine Van Till

14 March 2019


Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie


Celine Van Till is an international para-equestrian dressage rider who began riding at the age of 6, evolving rapidly to compete at the highest level today, including in athletics. She has represented Switzerland in various competitions, including the Rio Paralympic Games. 

In 2012/2013, Van Till was awarded the title Miss Handicap, which has enabled her to work for greater integration of people with disabilities. She then branched out to humanitarian issues and vulnerable populations, joining the Board of Directors of Handicap International Switzerland in 2016. 

The conference will be given in French.

Iñaki Gabilondo

21 March 2019


Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie


José Ignacio "Iñaki" Gabilondo Pujol is a Spanish journalist and TV news anchor. He began his career aged 21 with Radio Popular, and then joined Radio San Sebastían and Cadena SER before moving to Televisión Española, the Spanish public TV channel network. In 1986, he started hosting Hoy por hoy, the main radio show in Spain, and in 2010 moved to CNN+ to present a news and debate programme called Hoy

Gabilondo has been awarded a number of prizes, including from the Federation of Press Associations of Spain (1999), the Club Internacional de Prensa (2002), and the Association of European Journalists (2003). In 2008, he was awarded a prize by the Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano, which he received from the hands of celebrated author and Nobel prize-winner Gabriel García Márquez. Gabilondo is the author of the book Testigo de la historia (2005), a selection of interviews he carried out during his career with some of the most notable figures of Spanish culture and politics.

The conference will be given in Spanish.

Dr. Peter Salama

21 March 2019


Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie


Peter Salama is Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response at the World Health Organisation (WHO). A medical epidemiologist from Australia, he has led the Health Emergencies Programme at WHO since 2016. Prior to working for the WHO, Dr. Salama worked for UNICEF and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

Dr. Salama has led research and published extensively on maternal and newborn child health, vaccine-preventable diseases, HIV, nutrition, war-related mortality and violence, refugee and emergency health, and programming in fragile states. He completed his medical and public health degrees at Melbourne and Harvard universities, where he was also a Fulbright and Harkness fellow in public policy. 

Dr. Salama will share his experience of the Ebola crisis and the lessons learned from it. 

Michele Dougherty

22 March 2019

Aula, Campus des Nations


Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Michele Dougherty is a Professor of Space Physics and Head of the Department of Physics at Imperial College London. She is leading unmanned exploratory missions to Saturn and Jupiter and is Principal Investigator for J-MAG – a magnetometer for the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer of the European Space Agency due to launch in June 2022. Her work led to the discovery of an atmosphere containing water and hydrocarbons around Saturn’s moon Enceladus, opening up new possibilities in the search for extra-terrestrial life. 

In 2017, Dougherty was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society for geophysics. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society since 2012.

Luc Moreau

2 April 2019


Auditorium, Centre des arts


Luc Moreau is a glaciologist who specialises in subglacial hydrology related to glacier drift. When he is not on or under a glacier, he teaches glaciology in high schools, universities and even to professional mountaineers.

Moreau will explain the effects of climate change on glaciers. The lecture will be given in French.

Eleonore Guérineau & Alessio Carbone

8 April 2019

Time TBC

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Eleonore Guérineau and Alessio Carbone are dancers at the Opéra de Paris. Guérineau entered the Paris Opera Ballet School in 2000, and joined the corps de ballet in 2015. In 2008 she became coryphée and won the 2009 dance prize from the Association pour le Rayonnement de l’Opéra de Paris (AROP). In 2018, she became a soloist dancer at the Zurich Ballet. 

Alessio Carbone entered the ballet school of the Ballet of La Scala Milan in 1991, and in 1997 was admitted to the Opéra de Paris. He became principal dancer in 2002 in La Sylphide and Arepo. A multiple award winner, Carbone is a much sought-after dancer, both in France and internationally, having performed in a number of venues across Europe, including in Italy, Estonia and Denmark. 

The conference will be given in French.

Pip Stewart

11 April 2019

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie


Time TBC
Campus des Nations

Pip Stewart is an adventurer, journalist and presenter, with a love for travel, meditation, health and wellbeing. After studying history and politics at Oxford University, she worked in as an anchor and reporter in Hong Kong and Malaysia, for The Telegraph, BBC, CNN and South China Morning Post, amongst others.

In 2018, Stewart undertook the world first of paddling the entire length of The Essequibo, South America’s third largest river, from source to sea. 

Matt Frei

3 May 2019


Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie


Matt Frei is a German-born British television news journalist and writer, formerly the Washington DC correspondent for Channel 4 News. He is currently the channel’s Europe editor and an occasional presenter for the evening news.

While working for the BBC, Frei covered events in Bosnia, Kosovo, North Africa and Mafia-related stories in Southern Europe. He also covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina while working as the BBC’s Washington DC correspondent.

Frei read history and Spanish at St Peter’s College, University of Oxford.


Past 2018-2019 Speakers

Speaker Description

Brian Keenan

Brian Keenan is a Northern Irish writer whose work includes the book An Evil Cradling, an account of the four and a half years he spent as a hostage in Beirut, Lebanon from 1986 to 1990. While working as a teacher at the American University of Beirut, Keenan was kidnapped by the Islamic Jihad at the height of the Lebanese Civil War. During his captivity, he shared a cell with British journalist John McCarthy. Keenan was finally released following diplomatic intervention from the Irish and Iranian governments.

An Evil Cradling was made into the film Blind Flight in 2003.  

Petra Volpe

Petra Volpe is a Swiss screenwriter and film director, best known for directing The Divine Order, a story following character Nora Ruckstuhl, a housewife and mother in a small village who advocates for women’s suffrage in Switzerland which is to be voted on in the 1971 referendum. 

Volpe studied at the Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg. She has directed several award winning television movies and wrote the screenplay for Heidi, the internationally most successful Swiss film of all times.

Saskia Keeley

Saskia Keeley is a Swiss photographer educated at Geneva University, Sotheby’s and the New Academy for Art Studies in London. Based in Manhattan, Keeley also spends time in Amagansett-Long Island and Geneva-Switzerland, and has travelled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. Her passion for global adventure has enriched her appreciation for and understanding of disparate cultures.

Saskia Keeley partners with humanitarian organisations to share their valuable work with the world, including Leaders' Quest (India), END Fund/Amani Global Works (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Roots and Taghyeer (West Bank), and We Love Reading (Jordan).

Keeley will present her experience of what it means to be a photojournalist in the humanitarian world.

Les guerrières de la paix

In partnership with B8 of Hope, a Swiss association that supports initiatives promoting dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis, we screened the documentary Les guerrières de la paix by Hanna Assouline, produced with Jessica Bertaux’s and camerawoman Maïa Boyé. 
The documentary follows Women Wage Peace, a vast Israeli-Palestinian civil society movement with thousands of Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious and secular members from diverse political backgrounds, initiated by united women calling for a joint agreement, acceptable to both sides, to end the conflict in the region.

Pascal Couchepin

Pascal Couchepin is a Swiss politician and member of the FDP.The Liberals party. Elected to the Federal Council in 1998, he twice held the post of President of the Swiss Confederation, in 2003 and 2008. 

As Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Couchepin represented Switzerland at the World Trade Organisation and served on the Board of Governors at the World Bank and at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He studied law at the University of Lausanne, and in 2011 received the French Legion of Honour.

David Johns

David Johns is an English stand-up comedian, actor and writer, best known for his breakthrough role as Daniel Blake in the Palme d’Or-winning film, I, Daniel Blake, a film which sparked much debate in the UK about the welfare system. 

Johns has performed extensively in UK comedy clubs, as well as in comedy clubs and festivals worldwide for nearly three decades. A talented improviser, he also makes regular guest appearances with The Comedy Story Players, and has frequently performed on London’s West End stages.

Ruth Ibegbuna

Ruth Ibegbuna is the founder and former CEO of RECLAIM, a Manchester-based award-winning social action and youth leadership programme with a focus on working class young people being seen, being heard and leading change. Prior to this, she was a teacher in a South Manchester state school. 

In 2008, Ibegbuna was named Manchester Peace Activist of the Year. In 2016, she was listed in The Sunday Times as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK. Ibegbuna is an Ashoka UK Fellow.

Khairollah Alemi

Khairollah Alemi left his country, Afghanistan, at the age of 11 after the death of his parents who were both killed by the Taliban. Four years later and tens of thousands of kilometres away, he finds himself in Haute-Savoie after a perilous journey during which he faced the worst: forced marches, child labour, dangerous Mediterranean crossings, even prison. Yet Alemi still has hope.

Now aged 19, he has published an account of his experience and remains sole guardian and protector of his little brother who remained in Afghanistan. 

Niall de Búrca

Niall de Búrca is one of Ireland’s finest traditional storytellers. He has performed in Irish theatres, on the radio and at many festivals including Féile Earraai, the CS Lewis Festival and the National Children’s Book Festival. 

Recognised for the diversity of his stories and with an ability to reach all ages, de Búrca is a familiar figure to many Irish children through his innovative school programmes, namely his “Storytelling as a Tool for Education” workshops. He has carried these abroad to countries as diverse as Poland, Argentina, Italy and The Netherlands.

Dame Katherine Grainger

Dame Katherine Grainger is a British rower and, with five Olympic medals, is Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian. She is a 2012 Summer Olympics gold medallist, four-time Olympic silver-medallist and six-time World Champion.

Since 2015, Grainger has been chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, and in 2017, was appointed chair of UK Sport. She also serves on the board of International Inspiration, a charity that promotes access to sport, play and physical exercise for low and middle income families with children around the world. 

Jacques Dubochet

Professor Jacques Dubochet, winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2017 and Emeritus Professor of biophysics at the University of Lausanne, will give a talk on "Science-Based Solutions to Global Warming". His talk will be followed by a discussion about actions we can all take to reverse global warming.

The climate change narrative has shifted from doom-and-gloom fatalism and "silver bullet" approaches to integrated science-based climate action. Project Drawdown, who is organising this lecture, is hailed as "the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming" unites over 65 scientists who map, model and measure the 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming.

Marion Deichmann

Marion Deichmann was born a few weeks before Hitler came to power. Her family was a German Jewish family who would never have imagined that Europe would capitulate to Nazism. From country to country, from continent to continent, her book Her Name Shall Remain Unforgotten, A Child in the Heart of the Genocide invites us into the inner journey of a child cum teenager who wants to live in a world free from war. 

It was by chance and with the help of an ordinary French family that she survived. She will tell her story and her experience of war as a child.

Axun Lasa & Maixabel Lasa

Axun Lasa is the sister of Joxe Antonio Lasa, a presumed member of the Basque separatist organisation ETA who was kidnapped, tortured and executed in 1983 by the GAL (Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación), death squads illegally established by the Spanish government to fight ETA. 

Maixabel Lasa is the widow of Juan María Jáuregui, Spanish socialist politician and governor of Guipúzcoa, who was assassinated by three members of ETA. She is also the former director of the Bureau for the Victims of Terrorism by the Basque government.

David Hawley

David Hawley is Director General of Ecolint since 2017, having joined straight from the International Baccalaureate where he was Chief Academic Officer.

With a first degree in Biology and Earth Sciences from Framingham State University, followed by a Masters and Doctorate in Education from Harvard University, David Hawley has worked in international schools in the United States, Canada, Europe and Latin America in a career in education spanning over 35 years. 

Jerome Elam & Youth Underground

Jerome Elam is a Staff Writer and Columnist for Communities Digital News. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a survivor of child abuse, child sex trafficking and child pornography. He is also the child of an alcoholic and child survivor of domestic violence. Elam shares his experiences in the hope that those suffering in silence will find the courage to speak out and share their voices. 

Elam will be accompanied by Youth Underground, an association whose mission is to prevent human trafficking through awareness-raising, education and advocacy.

Robert Dann

Robert Dann has been Chief of Political Affairs in the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria since 2016. He has in this and previous roles participated in all phases of the Syrian political process since 2012.
He was Chief of the Mediation Support Unit at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs in New York; Senior Political Officer to the UN/Arab League Joint Special Envoy on Syria;  UN Senior Political Officer based out of Cairo; Chief of Political Affairs at the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process based in Jerusalem; Speechwriter in the Executive Office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan; Special Assistant to the UN Special Advisor for Cyprus; and Humanitarian Affairs Officer with OCHA in the former Yugoslavia. 
Before joining the UN, Dann was a legal associate specialising in constitutional law with a Justice of the High Court of Australia. He holds degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Queensland, and a Masters in International Relations from the University of Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.

Sarah Höfflin

Sarah Höfflin is a Swiss freestyle skier who won gold in slopestyle at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She also won a gold medal in big air at Winter X Games XXII in Aspen, Colorado. 

A late starter as a freestyle skier, Höfflin only took up the sport in her early 20s when competing at British Universities’ Snowsports Council competitions. Höfflin attended Cardiff University, where she graduated with a degree in neuroscience.

Laura Bates

Laura Bates is a British feminist writer, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project website, a collection of more than 80,000 women’s daily experiences of gender inequality. Author of Everyday Sexism (2014), she is also a regular contributor to The Guardian

Bates was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2015 for services to gender equality. In 2018, she was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Bates read English Literature at St John’s College. 

Gilles Lipovetsky

Gilles Lipovetsky is an essayist and professor of French and philosophy at the University in Grenoble. His work focuses on the 20th century, which he divides into three periods: “Marxist self-criticism” (1965-1983), postmodernism (1983-1991) and the hypermodern period from 1991 onwards.

Lipovetsky writes on such topics as modernity, globalisation, consumerism, modern culture, markets, feminism, fashion and the media, all of which are linked by the common denominator of individualism.  

Noëlle Revaz & Michael Stauffer

Noëlle Revaz is a Swiss writer whose first novel, With the Animals (2002), won several literary prizes, including the Schiller Prize and the Marguerite Audoux Prize. She also received the Swiss Prize for Literature in 2015. Revaz has been teaching at the Swiss Literary Institute since 2007. 

Michael Stauffer is a Swiss writer, author of short stories, radio plays, poems and spoken word. He also teaches literature at Bern University of the Arts. 


The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a global civil society coalition working to promote adherence to and full implementation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

Inspired by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, ICAN seeks to shift the disarmament debate to focus on the humanitarian threat posed by nuclear weapons, drawing attention to their unique destructive capacity, their catastrophic health and environmental consequences, their indiscriminate targeting, their impact on medical infrastructure and relief measures, and the long-lasting effects of radiation. In 2017, ICAN received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Alberto Vollmer

Alberto Vollmer is chair and CEO of Ron Santa Teresa, a Venezuelan rum distiller established in 1796. He is also a board member of Gas Doméstico-Domegas, Fundación Bigott for the promotion of Venezuelan culture, and Venamchan. 

Vollmer founded Project Alcatraz, a successful social rehabilitation programme that recruits and reintegrates gang members into society, as well as numerous rugby teams. A member of the Police Reform Commission in Venezuela, he has also advised Latin American countries on reintegrating violent citizens into society. 

Vollmer holds a degree in civil engineering and is passionate about photography, an art form which he supports through the Alberto Vollmer Foundation. 

Lindsey Cole

Lindsey Cole is a British adventurer. With a background in journalism and documentary-making and a lust for travel and wandering, Cole’s own adventure of walking the rabbit proof fence started in 2016 when she discovered the book Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence about three young aboriginal girls who were forcibly removed from their families and placed in a settlement as part of the Stolen Generation in Australia. Together, they engineered an escape, fleeing the camp and making it all the way home, crossing some of the most inhospitable environments.

Julie Bindel

Julie Bindel is an English writer, radical feminist and co-founder of the law-reform group Justice for Women, which since 1991 has helped women who have been prosecuted for killing violent male partners. A visiting researcher at the University of Lincoln, her work focuses on male violence against women and children, particularly prostitution, pornography, stalking, religious fundamentalism and human trafficking.

Bindel has co-authored over 30 book chapters and four books. She writes regularly for The Guardian, New Statesman, the Sunday Telegraph magazine and Standpoint

Rosie Garthwaite

Rosie Garthwaite is an English journalist. After graduating from Oxford University, she travelled to Iraq as a freelancer and joined the independent start-up newspaper Baghdad Bulletin. She became their Basra correspondent and, for most of the time, was the only resident Western journalist there, becoming a sought-after freelancer contributing to media around the world.

Garthwaite’s first book, How to Avoid Being Killed in a War Zone (2011) draws on her experience and those of other war journalists. She now works as a producer for her own production company Mediadante.

Jean Ziegler

Jean Ziegler is a politician and Swiss sociologist. He has been Special Rapporteur to the United Nations on the Right to Food and author of many books. He has been vice-chair of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee since 2009.

Ziegler will discuss capitalism.