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, politician Vince Cable, Pascal Couchepin and David Lammy, 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, Nobel prizewinner Jacques Dubochet, 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. Click here for the full list of past speakers.

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 2019-2020 Speakers

Speaker Date & Time Description

Celine Van Till

26 November 2019

10:55-11:40

Theatre, Centre des arts

Registration closed

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.

Spring Gombe-Götz

27 November 2019

10:30-11:30

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Registration

Spring Gombe-Götz is Policy Advocacy Manager at the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi). She has extensive experience in global health policy development and advocacy, with a special interest in developing policy innovation frameworks for neglected tropical diseases and access to health in early childhood. Gombe-Götz has worked with the leading civil society organisations advocating for public-interest driven medicines policy, including KEI, Médecins Sans Frontières’ Access Campaign, Health Action International and OXFAM. She has also provided consultant and advisory services to multilateral institutions, governments and foundations. 

Gombe-Götz started her professional life working with medically underserved urban populations in the USA, tackling racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. She obtained a BSc in Biological Sciences from Cornell University, and obtained a diploma in Global Health Policy from New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study. 

Kristian Parker

29 November 2019

9:00-10:00

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Registration

Kristian Parker is the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Oak Foundation, which is committed to addressing issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. He has overseen the Oak Foundation’s environment programme since its inception in 1998, a programme which is focused on climate change mitigation, marine conservation (plastics/industrial overfishing/small scale fisheries), and illegal wildlife trade.

Parker received a Doctorate in Environmental Sciences from the Duke Marine Laboratory. From 2001 to 2002, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Kewalo Marine Laboratory in Honolulu, Hawaii. Parker was also a founding board member of OceansFive and of the European Climate Foundation, and is a member of the Board of Oceana, ClimateWorks, and Oceano Azul.

He will give a conference on climate change and sensible meat consumption.

Julie Bindel

3 December 2019

15:15-16:15

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Registration

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 former visiting researcher at the University of Lincoln and former assistant director of the Research Centre on Violence, Abuse and Gender Relations at Leeds Metropolitan University, Bindel carries out research on male violence against women and children, particularly prostitution, pornography, stalking, religious fundamentalism and human trafficking.

Bindel has authored over 30 book chapters and reports on a range of topics relating to violence and abuse of women and girls. She writes regularly for The Guardian newspaper, the New Statesman, Truthdig, the Sunday Telegraph and Standpoint magazines, and appears regularly on the BBC and Sky News. 

Bindel will discuss feminism and transgenderism.

Ed Winters

9 December 2019
Time TBC
Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

&

10 December 2019
Time TBC
Campus des Nations

Ed Winters is a vegan educator and public speaker based in London. He is the co-founder and co-director of Surge, an animal rights organisation that founded The Official Animal Rights March in 2016, which counted 28,000 participants across the world in 2018. In 2017, Winters produced the documentary Land of Hope and Glory and launched the ongoing moving activism project The Big Vegan Activism Van. He has spoken at universities, Ivy League colleges, and has given speeches across the world, including two TEDx talks in early 2019.

In 2018 Winters opened Unity Diner, a non-profit vegan diner in London where all of the profits go to funding Surge as well as the development of a new rescue sanctuary for animals outside of London. 

Nawal al-Maghafi

10 January 2020

10:25-11:25

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Registration

Nawal al-Maghafi is a Yemeni-British journalist and filmmaker, who has contributed to Channel 4, BBC Newsnight, BBC World and BBC Arabic, amongst others. She has been reporting on the Middle East since 2012, one of the few journalists conducting first-hand reporting on the conflict in Yemen, namely as concerns the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country. 

Al-Maghafi’s investigation in 2015 into one of the deadliest attacks of the Yemeni conflict so far revealed the use of "double tap attacks" (the practice of following up a strike with a second strike several minutes later, hitting response teams, helpers, and medics rushing to the site), which are against international humanitarian law. She has also travelled across the Middle East to investigate how high-tech mass surveillance technology has been used by repressive states to monitor and suppress dissent by local human rights activists, and worked undercover to expose organ trafficking in Egypt.

Al-Maghafi graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in economics and politics. 

David Fernàndez Ramos

20 January 2020

10:30-11:30

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

David Fernàndez Ramos is a Spanish journalist and politician who was a deputy and spokesman of the Candidatura de Unidad Popular (CUP) in the Parliament of Catalonia from 2012 to 2015. He also chaired the Parliamentary Commission of the “Caso Pujol,” which investigated the ex-president of Catalonia Jordi Pujol I Soley, his wife and family for corruption, money laundering, embezzlement and other such crimes. 

Fernàndez Ramos is currently the editor of the weekly La Directa, for which he coordinates the investigative research section, and also regularly contributes to a number of other media. He is active in a number of social movements, including the feminist, anti-globalisation, ecologist and pacifist movements. Fernàndez Ramos studied political science in the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.

The conference will be in Spanish.

Helen Sharpe

24 January 2020

10:25-11:15 Registration
&
11:15-12:00 Registration

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Helen Sharpe is a lecturer at the Department of Clinical Psychology of the University of Edinburgh, who works closely with the Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology on understanding the development of negative body image in adolescence and on design and evaluation of school-based interventions for mental health. Her research interests include: body image, disordered eating, adolescent development, depression and low mood, and intervention evaluation strategies. 

Sharpe frequently hosts workshops and conferences for professionals who work with young people, and has worked with the UK Government Equalities Office to create a toolkit about body image. She has spoken on a number of BBC Radio 4 programmes about rising mental health difficulties in girls and body image interventions in schools. 

Paula Radcliffe

31 January 2020

12:00-13:00
Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

&

Time TBC
STEM Centre, La Grande Boissière

Paula Radcliffe, MBE, is a British long-distance runner, a three-time winner of the London Marathon, and the fastest female marathoner of all time. She has held the Women’s World Marathon Record in a time of 2:15:25 since 2003. 

Radcliffe is a former world champion in the marathon, half marathon and cross country, has been European champion over 10,000 metres and in cross country, and has represented Great Britain at the Olympics in four consecutive games. She was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year (2002), Laureus World Comeback of the Year (2008), IAAF World Athlete of the Year (2002), AIMS World Athlete of the Year (2002-2003 and 2005), and a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), and was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2004, she published her autobiography Paula: My Story So Far.

Radcliffe will give a conference on "Overcoming Difficulties and Finding Inspiration in Sport."

Petra Wetzel

7 February 2020

Time TBC

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Petra Wetzel is an entrepreneur, public speaker and founder of WEST Beer, the UK’s first employee-owned, independent brewery that produces beer in strict accordance with traditional Reinheitsgebot, or the “German Beer Purity Law” that dates back to 1516. 

In 2016, Wetzel set up the “WEST Women Investment Fund” to give financial and personal support to other budding female entrepreneurs. Helping them exploit the opportunities that exist within Scotland’s food and drink sector, this fund provides seed capital and other financial assistance to emerging female entrepreneurs operating within the sector. Through the WEST Women Investment Fund, Wetzel helped establish UTOPIA, an unsweetened drinks brand which aims to get children and adults to drink water instead of sweet fizzy drinks.

In 2015, Wetzel received an Honorary Doctorate for contributions to the Scottish economy from the University of Glasgow, her alma mater.

The Lincoln Company

10 February 2020
Time TBC
Campus des Nations

&

11 February 2020
Time TBC
Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

The Lincoln Company is Lincoln School of Fine and Performing Arts’ company of emerging theatre, dance and performance makers. It is an ensemble of students and alumni that produces work for a range of festivals and runs shows in rep throughout the year.

At the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe – the world’s largest gathering of audiences, artists, directors, producers, promoters and presenters – the Lincoln Company produced Put Your Best Face On, an interactive exploration of the ever-growing world of online platforms.

The conference will be on the dangers of social media for teenagers and young people.

Manuela Carmena Castrillo

2 March 2020

10:30-11:30

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Manuela Carmena Castrillo is a former lawyer and judge. From June 2015 to June 2019, she served as Mayor of Madrid. She received the National Human Rights Award in 1986 for her campaigns against corruption as a judge, a fight she began almost single-handedly. Early in her legal career, she represented workers and detainees during the Francoist State and was co-founder of the labour law office where the 1977 massacre of Atocha took place. 

A founding member of Juezas y jueces para la Democracia, Carmen Castrillo was Chair-Rapporteur to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. In 2011, she served as an advisor to the Patxi López cabinet of the Basque Government in the area of assistance to victims of police abuse. 

Carmena Castrillo has three published books: Crónica de un desorden: Notas para reinventar la Justicia (1997), Por qué las cosas pueden ser diferentes: Reflexiones de una jueza (2014) and A los que vienen (2019). She graduated in law from the University of Valencia.

The conference will be in Spanish.

Nagore Iriberri

3 March 2020

10:55-11:40

Auditorium, Centre des arts

Nagore Iriberri is an Ikerbasque research professor at the Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis I at the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU. Her research centres on behavioural and experimental economics, gender economics, initial responses to games, and the role of beliefs and expectations in individual decision-making and games.

Iriberri is also on the editorial boards of The Journal of the European Economic Association, Economics Letters, and of the Review of Economic Studies, and is a research fellow of the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) since 2016. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Review of Economic Studies and is a council member of the Spanish Economic Association (AEE).

Iriberri's conference will be on "Gender Differences in Education and Labour Markets: Lessons from Behavioural Economics."

Giuseppe Festa

5 March 2020

13:30-14:30

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Author, environmental educator, musician and avid Lord of the Rings fan, Giuseppe Festa hails from Milan, Italy. He has published several novels, all enmeshed in natural themes, including L'ombra del gattopardo (2014), which won the Magic Pearl National Award for best book at the Sofia International Literary Festival, Il passaggio dell'orso (2013) and I figli del bosco (2018). Many of his novels have been translated into several languages.

In 1999, Festa released Voices of Middle-earth, a solo CD that fused his passion with the environment with the mythical world created by J.R.R Tolkien. Later his band Lingalad would release similar Middle-earth and nature inspired albums. 

Festa is also the scriptwriter and protagonist of the documentary Oltre la Frontiera, a journey featuring cowboys and Native Americans in today’s United States. His comic narratives Incontri ravvicinati del terzo topo (2019) and Hiro delle Scimmie (2019) are inspired by the work of researcher and conservationist Jane Goodall. Festa studied natural sciences. 

His conference will be in Italian. 

Jess Phillips

6 March 2020

Time TBC

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Jess Phillips is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley since 2015. She has served on the Women and Equalities and the Backbench Business committees, as well as on the Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion. 

Prior to this, she worked for Women’s Aid Federation of England, responsible for managing refuges for victims of domestic abuse in Sandwell, and has also served on the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel. Phillips studied economics, social history and social policy at the University of Leeds, and public sector management at the University of Birmingham. She is the author of two books: Everywoman, One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth (2017) and Truth to Power: 7 Ways to Call Time on B.S. (2019). 

Shola Mos-Shogbamimu

13 March 2020

Time TBC

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Shola Mos-Shogbamimu is a lawyer, political and women’s rights activist, and founder of the publication Women in Leadership. She also teaches intersectional feminism to female refugees and asylum seekers; scrutinises government policies from a gender and diversity inclusion perspective; and co-organises women's marches and social campaigns. 

Mos-Shogbamimu also established She@LawTalks to promote women, black, Asian and minority ethnic leadership in the legal profession through universities and secondary schools, and is the Co-Chair of the American Bar Association Africa committee. She has degrees from Cambridge University, Birkbeck, the London School of Economics & Political Science, Westminster University, and Buckingham University.

Mathieu Jaton

17 March 2020

10:55-11:40

Auditorium, Centre des arts

Mathieu Jaton has been the CEO of the Montreux Jazz Festival since 2013. His career in this prestigious festival also enabled him to head up the Montreux Jazz Foundation, dedicated to the search for and presentation of new musical talents (2008), and the Montreux Jazz International, a company that promotes the creation of Montreux Jazz Cafés around the world. 

The conference will be in French.

Inna Schevchenko

20 March 2020

Time TBC

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Inna Shevchenko is a Ukrainian feminist activist and the leader of international women’s movement FEMEN, whose members often demonstrate topless against what they perceive as manifestations of patriarchy, especially dictatorship, religious institutions, sexism and homophobia, and the sex industry. In 2012, she received national attention after cutting down a 4m-high Christian cross in Kyiv’s main square, in support of the members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot. 

In 2013, Shevchenko was granted asylum in France, and now continues her activism by leading FEMEN France. A columnist for the international press, including The Guardian, The Huffington Post, International Business Times and CNN, she has also co-authored a number of books and speaks regularly at international conferences on freedom of speech and feminism. The film Ukraine Is Not a Brothel (2013) follows the four principal women activists of FEMEN, including Shevchenko.

Shevchenko studied journalism at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. 

Conrad Hughes

24 March 2020

10:55-11:40

Auditorium, Centre des arts

Conrad Hughes is Campus and Secondary Principal at La Grande Boissière. A senior fellow of UNESCO’s Bureau of Education, he has taught philosophy in a number of schools in Switzerland, France, India and the Netherlands.

Following roles as a university lecturer in English and an English teacher and diploma programme coordinator in schools in India and the Netherlands, Hughes has been at the International School of Geneva for thirteen years, first as an English and Theory of Knowledge teacher, then as Director of Education, prior to taking up the role of Campus Principal at La Grande Boissière in 2015.

Hughes will give a conference on "Seven challenges for the 21st Century."

Ciaran Jenkins

27 March 2020

Time TBC

Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie

Ciaran Jenkins is a reporter with Channel 4 News, known for his in-depth investigations into bogus academics and fraud. He is a former BBC Cymru Wales education correspondent, and a former contributor to The Guardian’s Comment is Free website. 

Jenkins was named Royal Television Society Young Journalist of the Year 2012, and has won awards from the Celtic Media Awards (2012), BAFTA Wales (2011) and CNN European News Blog Awards (2006). Jenkins studied at Cardiff University School of Journalism, and read Music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, from which he graduated as a gifted cellist.

Virginie Sterpenich

12 May 2020

10:55-11:40

Theatre, Centre des arts

Virginie Sterpenich is a researcher in neuroscience at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Geneva. A biology graduate from the University of Liège, she studies the role of sleep in the consolidation of emotional memories. Her research focuses on the impact of emotion and sleep on learning-related changes in brain activity, and the role of pharmacological agents on neural plasticity. 

Sterpenich's conference (in French) will be on the effects of smartphones on the brain. 

Sarah Höfflin

19 May 2020

10:55-11:40

Auditorium, Centre des arts

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.

Höfflin will tell the story of her unusual path to becoming a professional athlete. 

Fabrice Lhomme & Gérard Davet

Date TBC

Time TBC

Auditorium, Centre des arts

Fabrice Lhomme and Gérard Davet are French investigative journalists, specialised in politico-judicial and economic affairs. Together they revealed the Kazakhgate scandal, the SwissLeaks fraud, the Tapie affair, the Sarkozy phone taps, and the Tomi affair. 

Fabrice Lhomme was in charge of developing the Mediapart research division after a long collaboration with the daily newspaper Le Monde. In 2011, he returned to Le Monde, for which he published the main revelations of the Bettencourt file and the financial dossier of the sale of French submarines to Pakistan.

A reporter for the daily Le Monde, Gérard Davet is also an associate professor of investigative journalism in various schools, including Sciences Po, ESJ-Paris and the Centre de formation des journalistes (CFJ-Paris).  

Lhomme and Davet will give a conference (in French) on investigative journalism. 

Past 2019-2020 Speakers

Speaker Description

Margaret Humphreys

Margaret Humphreys, CBE, AO, is a British social worker and author. In 1987, she investigated and brought to public attention the government’s Home Children programme, which involved forcibly relocating underprivileged British children to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other parts of the Commonwealth, often without their parents’ knowledge. Over 100,000 children, some as young as three, were deported overseas, many being exposed to abuse and hardships. 

Humphreys was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2011 for services to disadvantaged people, and in 2019 was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). Empty Cradles (1994), her account of the formation and early struggles of the Child Migrants Trust, which was established to support former child migrants, was made into the 2011 feature film Oranges and Sunshine, featuring Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham. 

Nimisha Ladva

Nimisha Ladva is a storyteller and writer. Her storytelling has been featured on NPR’s NewsWorks and on the Risk and First Person Arts podcasts. She has been invited to tell stories at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the National Museum of American Jewish History, and the Philadelphia Free Library. 

Ladva has won the First Person Arts Storytelling Grandslam and has been a finalist in the Philadelphia Moth storytelling grand slam. Her first play, When Sita’s Daughters Cross the Line, debuted at the Painted Bride Short Play Festival in August 2015. Ladva’s short stories have been published in the US and UK. She conducts workshops and presentations on both storytelling and oral communication and is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing and English at Haverford College.

David Olusoga

David Olusoga, OBE, is a historian, author and presenter of British-Nigerian origin, and Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester. He is an expert on military history, empire, race and slavery, and has been described as “one of the UK’s foremost historians.” In 2016 he penned Black and British: A Forgotten History, which won the 2017 Longman-History Today Trustees Award. His other works include The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire, about the Indian, African and Asian troops who fought in the First World War, and Civilisations, a sequel to Kenneth Clarke’s television documentary series. 

Olusoga is also a contributor to The Guardian, The Observer, New Statesman and BBC History Magazine. In 2019, he was awarded an OBE for his services to history and community integration.

Barbara Hendricks & Michelangelo Pistoletto

Barbara Hendricks is an American operatic soprano and concert singer who has performed at major opera houses throughout the world, including the Opéra National de Paris, the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and La Scala. She has also appeared on film, and performs jazz music since her 1994 jazz debut at the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Michelangelo Pistoletto is an Italian painter, action and object artist, art theorist, and is considered one of the main representatives of the Italian Arte Povera. His work deals mainly with the subject matter of reflection and the unification of art and everyday life. In 1996, he founded the Cittadelarte – Fondazione Pistoletto as a centre and laboratory that supports and researches creative resources.

Monica McWilliams

Monica McWilliams is a Northern Irish academic, peace activist, human rights defender and former politician. In 1996, she co-founded the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition and was elected as a delegate at the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations, which led to the Good Friday Peace Agreement in 1998. 

McWilliams served as a member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly and chaired the Implementation Committee on Human Rights. She was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 2005 to 2011, and was the Oversight Commissioner for prison reform in Northern Ireland from 2011 to 2015. She currently sits on the Independent Reporting Commission for the disbandment of paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland, and is Chairperson of the Governing Board of the NGO, Interpeace.

McWilliams is Emeritus Professor in the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, and continues to research domestic violence, about which she has co-authored a number of books and research studies.

Sammy Woodhouse

Sammy Woodhouse is an English activist against child sexual abuse. She is among the victims of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal, whereby an estimated 1,400 children, mostly aged 12-16, were sexually abused between 1997 and 2013 by a group of men. Despite the widespread nature of the abuse, local authorities failed to act, even though evidence came to light in the early 1990s.

Suffering abuse for years, Woodhouse and her family were also continuously threatened by the abusers. Woodhouse helped uncover the scandal by anonymously approaching the media, which led to the opening of the Jay inquiry, an independent investigation into the handling of child-sexual-exploitation reports since 1997. Her book, Just a Child: Britain’s Biggest Child Abuse Scandal Exposed (2018), tells the story of the scandal, and calls for the amendment of the Children Act 1989 to “ban any male with a child conceived by rape from applying for access/rights.” 

Woodhouse also supports Sammy’s Law, a bill named after her, which would pardon child sexual abuse victims for crimes they were coerced into committing, and remove the crimes committed by the children from their criminal records. 

Junior Nzita Nsuami

Junior Nzita Nsuami is a former child soldier from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In 1996, aged only 12 and while completing his studies in the remote village of Kiondo, he was forced to join the ranks of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo. Taken to a training camp, Nsuami was taught how to use guns, how to kill and how to hate. For three years, he was forced to combat the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko. 

Following his demobilisation as a child soldier, Nsuami was adopted by a loving family and was able to finish his schooling, graduating with a degree in Social Sciences in 2005. Today, he devotes himself to community work in support of disadvantaged children of DRC. His association, Paix pour l’enfance, provides moral and material support to children who have been rejected by their families, and supports their reintegration. In 2016, Nsuami published If my Life as a Child Soldier Could be Told, an autobiographical book about how his forced recruitment changed his life. 

Athar Sultan-Khan

Athar Sultan-Khan served the United Nations for 38 years in multilateral diplomacy including 15 years as Chef de Cabinet at the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, as Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and held various senior representation posts with UNHCR in Africa, Asia and Middle East and North Africa. He continues to provide special advice to the UN on an ad hoc basis as well as to the UNHCR on diplomatic matters. 

Athar Sultan-Khan is currently Dean and Professor of International Relations at the Geneva School of Diplomacy. He is an alumnus of the International School of Geneva (LGB ’74).

Hans Brattskar

Hans Brattskar is Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva. He was State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2013 to 2015, and has served as Ambassador to Kenya (and Somalia) and as Permanent Representative to the UN organizations based in Nairobi. In 2011-13 he was Director General and Special Envoy for Climate Change at the Ministry of the Environment, and served as the first Director of Norway’s Climate and Forest Initiative from 2008-11.  

Brattskar has been Ambassador and Special Adviser for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Operations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chief Negotiator for the Peace Process between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front. For more than four years he was Norway’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, and has also been a Governor of the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, the Inter- American Development Bank and a Deputy Governor of the World Bank. 

Kate Devlin

Kate Devlin is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London. Having begun her career as an archaeologist before moving into computer science, Devlin’s research is in the fields of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), investigating how people interact with and react to technology in order to understand how emerging and future technologies will affect us and the society in which we live.

Devlin has become a driving force in the field of intimacy and technology, running the UK's first sex tech hackathon in 2016. She has written articles on the subject for New Scientist, Prospect and Sunday Times amongst others, featured on BBC Radios 1–5, and made a number of TV appearances, along with TEDx talks and numerous other tech and philosophy events, festivals and comedy nights.

Devlin is the author of Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots (2018).

Anita Studer

Swiss-born ornithologist, conservationist and ecologist Anita Studer first saw the rare Forbe’s blackbird in Brazil’s Pedra Talhada forest in 1981 while carrying out her studies for a degree in ornithology. Enthralled by its beauty, she decided it would be her research subject. To her despair, she soon learned the forest was earmarked for destruction. Without the forest, the blackbird would perish. So, she decided to act. She launched a campaign that led to the protection of 4,500 hectares of forest as a federal reserve. Afterwards, she continued campaigning as a conservationist and ecologist and has even had a species of frog, Dendrosophus studerae, named in her honour. 

In 1985, Studer created the Nordesta Association to raise funds, including for new schools in local villages in Brazil’s Pedra Talhada region. In 2009, she was made Knight of the French Legion of Honour. 

Ernest Simon

Ernest Simon is a Holocaust survivor. He was among the Jewish children who were evacuated from Nazi-controlled areas to Britain via the Kindertransport, an organised rescue effort that started following the events of Kristallnacht, in November 1938. By 14 May 1940, when the last transport left the Netherlands, some 10,000 unaccompanied children aged 3-17 had made the two-day journey from Austria, Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia to a country that, for the vast majority, would become their home. Placed in British foster homes, hostels and schools, many of these children were the only members of their families who survived the Holocaust.  

SOS Méditerranée

SOS Méditerranée is a European, maritime-humanitarian organisation for the rescue of life at sea, currently operating in the international waters north of Libya. The organisation was founded in June 2015 by former German captain Klaus Vogel and French citizen Sophie Beau after the end of the rescue operation Mare Nostrum in 2014. 

Since its launch, SOS Mediterranée’s chartered vessel, the Aquarius, has saved more than 29 000 lives, working not only to rescue shipwreck survivors, but also providing them with medical care and shelter (thanks to a partnership with Doctors Without Borders - MSF), and disembarking them in places of safety. After 177 rescue operations with the Aquarius, SOS Méditerranée and MSF announced the decommissioning of the vessel following its sequestration in the port of Marseille due to international pressure. 

In July 2019, SOS Méditerranée announced a new rescue campaign off the Libyan coast with the cargo vessel Ocean Viking

Michael Beckmann

Michael Beckmann was born in 1965 and grew up on the outskirts of East Berlin as a child loyal to the communist regime in power at the time. Early on, he was confronted with conflicts and contradictions in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) - while his parents were members of the party, most of the family lived across the divide in the West. In 1984, at the age of 19, he made an official request to be allowed to leave the eastern block after graduation. It was refused, earning him a reputation as a renegade and deserter. Unable to continue his studies, he worked as a postal and newspaper deliveryman. 

In 1986, Beckmann refused, on grounds of conscience, to deliver daily newspapers during the period of the 11th Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). He was arrested by the Stasi, the East German State Security Service, and sentenced to 14 months' imprisonment, during which he suffered physical and psychological abuse, and was subjected to forced labour. Aged 21, Beckmann became one of the youngest political prisoners in the GDR. He was released to West Germany as part of an exchange which saw foreign currency pass over to the East in return for prisoners. Beckmann went on to build a career in international banking business, and today he works as a lecturer and business consultant.

Nicola Benyahia

Nicola Benyahia is the mother of five children. In 2015, her 19-year-old son Rasheed unexpectedly disappeared from their home town of Birmingham. He turned up in Syria, where he had joined the Islamic State. He died while fighting for ISIS in late 2015. 

Benyahia is a British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy Counsellor with specific experience in mental health, brain injury, and counselling young people aged 14 to 25. Following the death of her son, she founded Families for Life, a counselling organisation which aims to support families through the psychological and counter radicalisation process.

María Bueno

María Bueno is a Spanish activist, and the President and Spokesperson for the Asociación de Lucha de las Madres de Bebés Robados de Andalucía (Alumbra), which advocates for the rights of Andalusian mothers whose babies were stolen during the Francoist era and later decades of Spain’s history, and helps families looking for their children. During the Spanish Civil War and in Francoist Spain, as many as 300,000 children were abducted from Republican parents who were in jail or had been assassinated by Nationalist troops, with the kidnapping of children eventually becoming a state policy. 

Herself a victim of this State-sponsored trafficking, Bueno had her firstborn taken from her after being told that she had given birth to a stillborn baby. She chairs the Coordinadora X24, the national federation of associations throughout Spain that seek stolen children.

Helen Czerski

Helen Czerski is a physicist, oceanographer, television presenter and a researcher in the department of mechanical engineering at University College London. Her research focuses on temperature, ocean bubbles, bubble acoustics, air-sea gas transfer and ocean bubble optics. 

A regular science presenter for the BBC, Czerski’s programmes have included the three-part series Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey (2012) on BBC Two. She also has a regular column in BBC Focus Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. In 2018, Czerski won the William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize from the Institute of Physics for her contributions to championing the physics of everyday life to a worldwide audience of millions through TV programmes, a popular science book (Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life), newspaper columns and public talks. 

Zep

Philippe Chappuis, or Zep (in tribute to the group Led Zeppelin), is a Swiss author of comics, best known for his album Titeuf, which was an immense success with a million albums sold at the end of 1998 and 16 million translated into 25 languages by 2008.

The success of Titeuf has allowed Zep to launch other initiatives, including Le guide du zizi sexuel, written by his ex-wife Hélène Bruller, the magazine Tchô! (1998), and the sponsorship of young authors. In 2013, he published his first album in realist style, Une histoire d’hommes, followed by his second album Un bruit étrange et beau in 2016.

Niall Wass

Niall Wass is a Partner at Atomico, an international investment firm focused on helping the world’s most disruptive technology companies scale up and become global leaders. He was on the Executive team at Uber, tasked with aiding the company’s international expansion in Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific regions and directing Uber BV, its headquarters in the Netherlands.

Prior to working for Uber, Wass held the roles of Chief Executive of the British payday loan company Wonga.com, chief commercial officer at online gambling company Betfair, and was a consultant for Accenture. Wass has an MBA from the Institut européen d’administration des affaires (INSEAD) and degrees in economics from Oxford University and Birmingham University.

Maya Azucena

Maya Azucena is an American singer-songwriter and cultural ambassador. She has worked alongside a number of other singers, including Stephen Marley, Croatian singer Gibonni, rapper Immortal Technique, and DJ Jonathan Peters. Active in raising awareness and funds for human rights and in support of humanitarian relief, Azucena is also outspoken in the promotion of women’s rights and against domestic violence.