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.

Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and the rules currently in place to protect the health of Ecolint students and staff, we can currently only allow a limited number of external participants to our Guest Speaker Series. When possible, we will endeavour to livestream the conferences. If you are interested in attending one of the lectures, please register by clicking on the links next to each speaker.

Upcoming 2021-2022 Speakers

Speaker Date & Time Description

John Barnes

25 May 2022


Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie


John Barnes, MBE, is a former professional football player and manager. He won two league titles with Liverpool, with whom he also won two cup finals at Wembley. He was also an FA Cup runner-up with Watford, Liverpool and Newcastle United. Barnes earned 79 international caps for England.

Barnes currently works as an author and commentator for ESPN and SuperSport. He has published two books, including John Barnes: The Autobiography (1999), which was followed by The Uncomfortable Truth About Racism (2021).

Zarghuna Kargar

10 June 2022


Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie


Zarghuna Kargar is an award-winning BBC World News journalist. She produced and presented the BBC Afghan Woman’s Hour and is the author of Dear Zari, The Secret Lives of Women in Afghanistan (2012), which tells the stories of Afghan women in their own words.

Kargar is also the author of Amina’s story in the 2013 documentary Girl Rising.

John H. McCall MacBain

7 June 2022
Primary Aula, La Châtaigneraie


20 June 2022
Campus des Nations

John H. McCall MacBain is a Founder, Director and the Chair of the McCall MacBain Foundation. Previously, he was the Founder, President and CEO of Trader Classified Media, the world’s leading company in the classified advertising sector, from its inception in 1987 until its successful sale in 2006. 

McCall MacBain is a Rhodes Scholar and received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, an M.A. in Law from Oxford University and a B.A. in Economics from McGill University. He also holds honorary degrees from McGill University, the University of Ottawa, Dalhousie University, and Brock University in Canada, as well as Monash University in Australia.

McCall MacBain was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2016 for his achievements as a business lead and for his contributions to academic institutions as a philanthropist.

Dawn Butler

Photo: Richard Townshend

Date TBC

Time TBC

Dawn Butler is a British Labour Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Brent Central since 2015. From 2009 to 2010, she served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office and Minister for Young Citizens and Youth Engagement in Gordon Brown’s government. In 2016 and 2017, she was appointed to the role of Shadow Minister for Black and Minority Ethnic Communities, and then served as Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities.

Butler has received a number of awards for her work in support of underrepresented people. In 2020, she was named one of the 25 most influential women in the UK by Vogue.


Past Speakers

International Bridges to Justice

International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) is an organisation dedicated to protecting the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens in developing countries. Specifically, IBJ works to guarantee all citizens the right to competent legal representation, the right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to a fair trial.

Karen Tse, CEO and Founder of IBJ, Noah Wong, Founder and President of the Youth for Youth Justice initiative, and Ella O'Reilly, Youth Program Manager at IBJ, will give a lecture entitled "Access to Justice and the Power of Youth".

Dawn Astle

Dawn Astle is the daughter of former England and West Bromwich Albion footballer Jeffrey Astle, who died in 2002 from a degenerative brain disease. Working alongside the Professional Footballer’s Association, Dawn Astle has helped raise awareness about brain injury in sports and neurodegenerative diseases that can result from these in athletes.

In addition to her ongoing work, Dawn is also co-founder, together with other members of Astle’s family, of the Jeff Astle Foundation, dedicated to promoting care of athletes who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases, education about these disorders and research into them.

Watch the interview of Dawn Astle by The Update

Jennifer Cole

Jennifer Cole is a biological anthropologist and research fellow in the Department of Geography and Centre for Research into Sustainability of Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research interests include human health and behaviour with regard to evolutionary and population biology, resilience (at individual, community, national and international levels and in response to natural hazards such as disease outbreaks), and information spread (namely how health information is sought out, shared and trusted during emergencies). 

Cole is also the Northern Europe Hub Coordinator for the Planetary Health Alliance, a member of the editorial board of the Global Journal of Medicine and Public Health, an infodemic manager for the World Health Organization and a geography recorder for the British Science Association.

Clint Smith

Photo: New America

Clint Smith is an American writer, poet and scholar, the author of Counting Descent (2016), a poetry collection that won the Best Poetry Book award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. His latest book, How the Word Is Passed, topped The New York Times Best Seller list in June 2021. 

Smith is also a staff writer at The Atlantic and host of Crash Course’s Black American History series. He previously contributed to The New Yorker magazine and to the Pod Save the People podcast. Smith graduated from Davidson College in 2010 with a Bachelors in English and received his PhD from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His dissertation focused on race, mass incarceration and education.

David Nabarro

Photo: DIALOG-Entwicklung

David Nabarro, CBE, is a Special Envoy on Covid-19 for the World Health Organization (WHO) and international civil servant, working closely both with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director-General of the WHO. Over the past 20 years, he has played strategic roles in the response to a number of epidemics, including the cholera outbreak in Haiti in 2016-2017, the Ebola outbreak in Guinea (2014-2015), and the avian influenza epidemic of 2005.

Nabarro studied at the University of Oxford and the University of London, qualifying as a physician in 1973. In 2018, he was appointed Professor at the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, and then co-director of the same Institute.

SOS Méditerranée

SOS Méditerranée is a non-profit association created in 2015 to provide search and rescue at sea and help migrants attempting to flee Libya by crossing the Mediterranean aboard makeshift vessels. Between February 2016 and December 2018, SOS Méditerranée chartered the Aquarius, with which it rescued over 29 000 people. Since July 2019, the association has operated on the Ocean Viking, a ship specially designed for search and rescue operations and equipped with a clinic and shelters for rescued persons. 

Claire Juchat, Head of citizen mobilisation and online communication for SOS Méditerranée, gave a conference entitled “Faces and journeys along the Mediterranean migration route.” 

Carly McLachlan

Photo: Tyndall Centre

Carly McLachlan is the Director of Tyndall Manchester, an interdisciplinary team working on policy relevant research on climate change. Based in the School of Engineering of the University of Manchester, her research interests focus on how stakeholders, including the public, engage with energy and sustainability issues and how 'evidence' is used within this. Her previous research projects, completed as part of Tyndall's interdisciplinary team, have covered a range of topics including: setting carbon budgets and targets for cities, stakeholder engagement with integrated climate change models, stakeholder assessments of carbon capture and storage, an assessment of the UK's tidal energy policy and adaptation and mitigation in the UK food system. 

McLachlan is also Associate Director of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation (CAST).

Nick Cullen

Photo: Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

Nick Cullen is the COP Logistics Officer for Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of civil society organisations in Scotland campaigning for action to tackle climate change. As part of his role, he manages logistics and coordination for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) held in Glasgow.

Cullen has a Masters degree in International Development and is involved in research projects on activism, migration and humanitarianism.

Watch the lecture here.

Valerie Connaughton

Valerie Connaughton is Program Scientist for the  X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM), leads the High-Energy portfolio of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters, is Discipline Scientist for the Particle Astrophysics portfolio, Program Scientist for the Physics of the Cosmos Program, and is a member of the Astrophysics Division communications team.

Connaughton obtained her Ph.D. from University College Dublin in the area of ground-based gamma-ray astronomy, after which she took up a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, working as part of the Burst And Transient Source Experiment (BATSE). Her research interests include multi-messenger time-domain astronomy, gamma-ray bursts, terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, and high-energy astrophysics in general. Connaughton is an alumna of La Châtaigneraie (class of '85).

She gave a lecture entitled "How to build a career helping NASA study the biggest explosions in the Universe."

Rachel Asante-Osuwu

Rachel Asante-Owusu is Programme Manager at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). She has been a member of the Business and Biodiversity Programme (BBP) at the IUCN since May 2010, managing the relationship between the IUCN and the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and overseeing the BBP’s communication strategy.

Prior to joining the IUCN, Asante-Owusu worked for an environmental consultancy addressing ethical and sustainable trade issues. She started her career in the field of biotechnology after studying Genetics and Plant Breeding at University of Wales, Aberystwyth, followed by a Doctorate of Philosophy in Molecular Biology at the University of Oxford.

She hosted a live feed from the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) conference at Glasgow.

Watch the interview of Rachel Asante-Osuwu by The Update

Levi Tafari

Photo: Stephan Rohl

Levi Tafari is a British poet, actor and self-identified Urban Griot (traditional West African historian, storyteller, newscaster or musician). He is best known for his four collections of poetry, Duboetry (1987), Liverpool Experience (1989), Rhyme Don’t Pay (1998) and From the Page to the Stage (2006), and his plays have been performed in theatres in Stafford and Liverpool. 

In addition to writing and composing music, Tafari also runs creative writing workshops in schools, colleges, universities and prisons, both in the United Kingdom and abroad. 


Five years in the making, CURED illuminates a pivotal yet largely unknown chapter in the struggle for LGBTQ equality: the campaign that led the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from its manual of mental illnesses. 

Incorporating newly unearthed archival material - much of it unseen for decades - CURED takes audiences inside this narrative to chronicle the strategy and tactics that led to a crucial turning point in the movement for LGBTQ rights. Following the Stonewall rebellion of 1969, the battle that culminated in the APA’s decision marked the first major step on the path to first-class citizenship for LGBTQ Americans. CURED sheds new light on this victory - which was far from inevitable - while situating the APA story within the larger context of the modern movement for LGBTQ equality.

The Techtonics

The Techtonics are an all-male a capella group from Imperial College London, best known for winning the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella in 2016. The group performed their first concert at ArtsFest, the annual celebration of the arts at Imperial College London in 2009. In 2010, the group performed for the first time in Edinburgh’s Fringe festival.

The Techtonics have toured in the United Kingdom, United States, Hong Kong, Canada and Croatia since 2010, and are known for busking weekly on Portobello Road.

Karla Ruiz Cofiño

Karla Ruiz Cofiño is a digital strategist and social media specialist, entrepreneur, speaker, social and women’s rights activist. She is the founder of the Digital Awareness Program, a curriculum that centres on using digital media for positive impact by teaching digital citizenship skills that enable people to harness social media and digital strategies for bettering the world. 

Over the past 15 years, Ruiz Cofiño has studied the impact of technology on the evolution of human beings, how it affects the way we relate to each other and our behaviour as consumers. Co-founder of the digital agency MILKnCOOKIES, she is also a social media consultant for the Global Ambassadors Program of Vital Voices and Bank of America. Ruiz Cofiño is founding curator both of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Guatemala and of the Women Entrepreneurs Community – Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Guatemala.

Pamela Ohene-Nyako

Photo: Ashley Moponda

Pamela Ohene-Nyako is a doctoral researcher and assistant in the History Department of the University of Geneva. She is currently preparing a thesis on the internationalism of black-European women in the 1970s-1990s, and her research has been published in English and French scientific publications. She is also the founder of Afrolitt’, a bilingual literary platform that promotes and encourages a critical reflection on literature produced by people of African descent. 

Since 2013, Ohene-Nyako has gained professional experience in communications and moderation, appearing regularly on Swiss media on questions linked with antiracism and afrofreminism. As a historian and cultural critic, she hosts the news chronicle “Soul Feed” in the programme Nayuno on Couleur 3 - RTS.

Ohene-Nyako gave a conference entitled “Antiracist mobilisations by black women in Africa, 1970-2000”.

Maboula Soumahoro

Maboula Soumahoro has a PhD in civilisations of the English-speaking world, and is specialised in Afro-American studies and the Black African diaspora. In addition to lecturing at the University of Tours, she has also studied and taught at a number of academic institutions and prisons in France and the United States: Bennington College, Columbia University, Barnard College, Bard Prison Initiative, Stanford University, Sciences Po (Paris and Reims), and the prisons of Bois-d’Arcy, Villepinte (children’s ward) and Fresnes. 

From 2013 to 2016, Soumahoro was a member of the Comité National pour l’Histoire et la Mémoire de l’Esclavage (CNMHE), and since 2013, is president of the Black History Month (BHM) association, which is dedicated to celebrating the black history and culture. In 2020, she published Le Triangle de l’Hexagone, réflexions sur une identité noire.

Soumahoro gave a conference entitled “Racialisation défavorable et charge raciale : le cas d’une identité noire.”

Anna Birley

Anna Birley is Policy Officer at The Co-Operative Party and co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, an organisation dedicated to making streets safe for women by advocating against street harassment of women and girls and raising awareness about violence against women and girls through education.

Birley studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Durham.

Ana Waddington

Ana Waddington is an emergency department nurse and founder of YourStance, a volunteer organisation that teaches young people lifesaving first aid skills. She was named Royal College of Nursing Nurse of the Year in 2020 for innovations in nursing. 

Waddington trained as a nurse after obtaining a History degree from SOAS University of London. She is an alumna of La Grande Boissière (class of 2007).

Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland who discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967 while studying as a postgraduate student. While this discovery later earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1974, she was not among the recipients (Bell Burnell was listed as second author in the paper announcing the discovery). She is currently Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford.

From 2002 to 2004, Bell Burnell served as president of the Royal Astronomical Society, then as president of the Institute of Physics from 2008 to 2010. In 2018, she was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, the £2.3 million prize for which she donated fully to help female, minority and refugee students seeking to study physics. In 2021, she became the second female recipient of the Copley Medal.

Paul Canoville & Chris Powell

Paul Canoville is an English former professional footballer. He was the first black player to play for Chelsea Football Club, signing with them in 1981, receiving a negative reception from racist elements among supporters. He later went on to play for Reading FC, then in the Second Division, and made appearances with Enfield, Maidenhead United, Northwood and Egham Town. After beating a crack cocaine addiction and cancer, Canoville went on to author an award-winning autobiography, Black and Blue: How Racism, Drugs and Cancer Almost Destroyed Me (2008). In 2015, Sky Sports aired Black & Blue: The Paul Canoville Story, a documentary film about his life.

Chris Powell is an English football coach and former player, currently the assistant manager at Tottenham Hotspur and a coach for the English national team. He is an ambassador for various organisations, including Kick it Out, Show Racism the Red Card, Prostate Cancer UK and the Football Foundation.

Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen is Executive Director of the peacebuilding organisation Conciliation Resources (CR). He joined CR in 1997 and developed the Caucasus programme focusing on dialogue and confidence building initiatives to promote peacebuilding in the Caucasus. As CR's director of programmes, he oversaw the organisation's activity in the Caucasus, Colombia, West Africa, East and Central Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines, Fiji and India/Pakistan.

Before working for CR, Cohen served as deputy director of the Foundation on Inter-Ethnic Relations in The Hague, working with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. He has taught peace and conflict studies at the London School of Economics, and in 2007 was awarded an OBE by the British Government for services to conflict prevention and conflict resolution in the Caucasus. In 2018 Cohen became chair of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) Steering Committee.

Jenny Coady

Jenny Coady is Performance Coach for West Ham United Women and High Performance Coach Developer with UK Coaching, for which she works across 13 Olympic sports.

A former international basketball player for Ireland and WIT Wildcats, Coady also worked with the London Gaelic Athletic Association as the lead performance analyst. She holds a Masters in Sports Psychology from Waterford Institute of Technology.

Steve Cram

Photo: Adambro

Steve Cram, CBE, is a British retired track and field athlete and one of the world’s dominant middle distance runners during the 1980s. Nicknamed “The Jarrow Arrow”, Cram set world records in the 1500m, 2000m and the mile run in 1985, and was the first man to run 1500m under 3 minutes and 30 seconds. He won the 1500m gold medal at the 1983 World Championships and the 1500m silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games. He now works as a television presenter, athletics commentator for BBC Sport and motivation speaker.

In 2000, Cram co-founded Comrades of Children Overseas (COCO), an international charity providing sustainable sources of quality education to children living in poor or remote parts of East Africa.

Stephen Doughty

Photo: Richard Townshend

Stephen Doughty is a Welsh Labour and Co-operative Party politician who has served as the Shadow Minister for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs since 2020 and as a Member of Parliament for Cardiff South and Penarth since 2012.

Doughty has also held various roles in the humanitarian and education sectors, including for World Vision, Oxfam International, Oxfam Cymru and United World Colleges. He graduated with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Corpus Christi College, Oxford University and also studied at the University of St Andrews.

Clive Woodward

Sir Clive Woodward is the World Cup winning Head Coach who led England's rugby players to World Cup glory in Australia in 2003. A former England International and British & Irish Lion himself, during Woodward's tenure as Head Coach England he moved the team from being 6th in the world to the number one ranked team,winning every trophy an England team can win.

In 2006 Woodward joined the British Olympic Association. As Team GB's Director  of Sport he worked in close partnership with key stakeholders in British Sport to support the national coaches and athletes at the Beijing & Vancouver Olympics, as well as delivering Team GB's most successful Olympic Games in the modern era at London 2012.

Woodward is currently the Founder and Chairman of Hive Learning - an app which has digitised his coaching methods and is designed to help people learn better together in business and sport. He is also the Director of Sport for the Apex2100 International Ski Academy which aims to become the World's Leading High-Performance  Academy for young and aspiring athletes wanting to achieve their goals in alpine skiing.

Chris Bail

Chris Bail is Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Duke University, where he directs the Polarization Lab. He studies political tribalism, extremism, and social psychology using data from social media and tools from computational social science.

A Guggenheim Fellow and Carnegie Fellow, Bail's research has appeared in a number of journals, including Science, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Journal of Public Health. He is the author of the award-winning book, Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream (2015) and Breaking the Social Media Prism (2021).

Harriet Wistrich

Harriet Katherine Wistrich is an English solicitor and radical feminist who specialises in human-rights cases, particularly cases involving women who have been sexually assaulted or who have killed their violent partners. She works for Birnberg Pierce & Partners in London and was Liberty's Human Rights Lawyer of the Year in 2014.

Wistrich is co-founder of Justice for Women, the feminist law-reform group, and founding director of the Centre for Women's Justice. She has written for The Guardian and is the editor, with her partner Julie Bindel, of The Map of My Life: The Story of Emma Humphreys (2003). Wistrich holds a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and a law degree from the University of Westminster.

Leroy Logan

Leroy Logan, MBE, is a British author, founding member and chair of the Black Police Association, and a retired superintendent from the Metropolitan Police. He is best known for his contributions to law enforcement in the United Kingdom. His first book, Closing Ranks, My Life as a Cop (2020), details his time as a senior police officer in London. In 2020, the historical drama about Logan’s life, Red, White and Blue, was released in 2020.

As chair of the Black Police Association, Logan was involved in the Stephen Lawrence and Damilola Taylor inquiries into errors committed by the police in the investigation of the murder of black British teenager Stephen Lawrence and Nigerian schoolboy Damilola Taylor.

Paige Harden

Paige Harden is an American psychologist and behaviour geneticist, Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, where she heads up the Developmental Behavior Genetics lab, and co-director of the Texas Twin Project. She is also a Faculty Research Associate at the Population Research Center and a Jacobs Foundation research fellow.

Harden’s research focuses on using genetic data to understand individual differences in child and adolescent development. She has published papers on the psychological consequences of early puberty and early age at first sexual intercourse, on delinquency and antisocial behaviour, and on intelligence and academic achievement. She is the author of The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality (2021). Harden studied psychology at Furman University and earned her M.A. and Ph.D in clinical psychology from the University of Virginia.

Daniel Egger

Daniel Egger is Chief Commercial Office at Climeworks, a company that develops, builds and operates Direct Air Capture machines to capture carbon dioxide from the air and recycle or reuse it as raw material or store it, thereby contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Egger holds an MSc from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich and has held different positions in engineering, marketing and sales in various industrial companies, such as ABB. 

He will give a talk entitled "Direct Air Capture: A Technology to Reverse Climate Change."

Jackie Long

Jackie Long is Social Affairs Editor and presenter for Channel 4 News, which she joined in 2011 after over two decades at the BBC. 

Long was also a correspondent at Newsnight and previously worked on The World at One, PM and Five Live.

Jalinka Michaux

Jalinka Michaux is a Senior Communications Manager for the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), where she is in charge of media operations and numerous communications projects. A former basketball player, she played shooting guard at the professional level, including for the Swiss national basketball team. 

Michaux holds an MA in Management and Public Administration from IDHEAP Lausanne, as well as an MA in Public Management and BA in Political Science from the University of Lausanne.