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 Justin Webb. 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.

Past 2017-2018 Speakers

Speaker Description

Zeid bin Ra'ad al-Hussein

Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights since September 2014. A career diplomat, he played a central role in the establishment of the International Criminal Court, and was Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the UN from 2000 to 2007 and then from 2010 to 2014. He began his UN career serving as political officer for UNPROFOR, the UN peacekeeping force in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav wars.

Zeid holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Christ’s College, Cambridge.   

Chappatte & Hani Abbas

Patrick Chappatte is a Lebanese-Swiss cartoonist who draws for Le Temps, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the International New York Times, with many of his cartoons reflecting events in Swiss and international news. Over the years, he has collaborated with editorial cartoonists in many conflict-ridden countries, including Serbia, Côte d’Ivoire, Lebanon, Kenya and Guatemala, with the goal of promoting dialogue through cartooning. In 2011 and 2015, Chappatte became the only non-American to win the Overseas Press Club of America’s Thomas Nast Award for best cartoons on international affairs. He co-founded the Swiss foundation Cartooning for Peace alongside Plantu and Marie Heuzé, spokesperson of the United Nations in Geneva.

Hani Abbas is a Syrian-Palestinian cartoonist. Born in 1977 in the refugee camp of Yarmouk, near Damascus in Syria, Hani had to flee Syria after receiving threats for publishing politically sensitive cartoons. Seeking asylum and settling in Switzerland, he continues to denounce the atrocities of war through his cartoons. In May 2014, he was awarded the Editorial Cartoon International Prize by Kofi Annan. He is also part of Cartooning for Peace.



Jean ‘Plantu’ Plantureux is a French cartoonist specialising in political satire whose work regularly appears in Le Monde since 1972.

In 2016, Plantu and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan organised a symposium in New York which marked the launch of Cartooning for Peace, a network promoting freedom of expression for editorial cartoonists around the world. To date, it brings together 130 cartoonists. 

Loïs Meyhoffer

What a rare privilege, for a school founded over 90 years ago, to have its first pupil at its side! From the first line of the 1924 register to today, Loïs Meyhoffer’s name is well rooted in Ecolint’s extraordinary history.

Alex Brooker

Alex Brooker is an English journalist, presenter and comedian best known for his television work with Channel 4.

He has co-hosted The Last Leg since 2012, a British comedy and late night talk show which gives an alternative look at the week’s events. Born with hand and arm deformities and having had his right leg amputated, Brooker has been active with the disability charity Scope, having fronted a campaign called ‘End The Awkward’ to shed light on the awkwardness that many people feel about disability. 

Disturbing the Peace

The documentary Disturbing The Peace, the screening of which will be followed by a Q&A session with two protagonist-activists, is a true concentration of hope and humanity. It presents the extraordinary work of the NGO Combatants for Peace, composed of Palestinians and Israelis who actively participated in the cycle of violence in the region, but have since chosen the path of non-violence in promoting peace and harmonious co-existence.

Disturbing the Peace is about people born into conflict, sworn to be enemies, who challenged their fate. The film follows former enemy combatants – Israeli soldiers from elite units and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison – who have joined together to challenge the status quo and say “enough.” The film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of combatants for peace.

Sir Vince Cable

Sir Vince Cable is a British politician who was Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills from 2010 to 2015 and is the current Member of Parliament for Twickenham.

He is a patron of the Polycystic Kidney Disease Charity and of the Dawn Hastings Foundation, which provides support for people experiencing and suffering feelings of distress, emotional despair and trauma. Cable holds degrees in economics from the universities of Cambridge and Glasgow.

Michael Møller

Michael Møller is a Danish diplomat and the Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

He has served for over 35 years as an international civil servant in the United Nations, operating in many duty stations, including Iran, Mexico, Haiti, New York and Geneva. Between 2008 and 2011, he was the Executive Director of the Kofi Annan Foundation and, before this, UN Special Representative for Cyprus and Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs. He began his career in 1979 with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Møller has a Master’s degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University.

Richard Moore

Richard Moore is the founder of the charity Children in Crossfire, as well as an accomplished musician and successful businessman.

In 1972, aged 10, he was blinded by a rubber bullet fired at point blank range into his face. Despite this terrible injury, he never allowed bitterness to stunt his development, choosing instead to put his life’s experience at the service of humanity by helping children who, like himself, have been caught in the crossfire of violence, poverty and hunger. Children in Crossfire has projects in Africa, Asia and South America that focus on issues affecting children. Moore’s autobiography Can I Give Him My Eyes? was released in 2009. 

Akiko Fujimoto

Akiko Fujimoto is the foremost contemporary interpreter of Jiuta, a musical style from the Edo period (17 th - 21st century), and of musical selections for the pinched instrument koto.

Her mesmerising voice has been acclaimed both in Japan and around the world.

Gabriela Montero

Gabriela Montero is a Venezuelan pianist, known for her real-time improvisation of complex musical pieces on themes suggested by her audience, as well as for performances of standard classical repertoire.

Beginning formal piano lessons at age four, she made her concerto debut when she was eight, performing the complete D Major Piano Concerto by Haydn. Montero has also been outspoken in her support for those who have challenged the government in Venezuela and has deplored the state of the country and the crackdown on protesters. 

Miriam Coronel-Ferrer

Miriam Coronel-Ferrer is a Filipino peace negotiator and the current chairperson of the peace panel of the Government of the Philippines to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. She if the first female chief negotiator in the world to sign a final peace accord with a rebel group. Coronel-Ferrer is also a professor of political science at the University of the Philippines. In 2015, she was awarded the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security. 

Orlando Figes

Orlando Figes is a British historian and writer known for his works on Russian history, notably A People’s Tragedy (1996), a study on the Russian Revolution which combines social and political history with biographical details in a historical narrative. It has won many awards, and in 2008 was named one of the “hundred most influential books since the war” by the Times Literary Supplement.

Figes is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London, and writes regularly for the international press, broadcasts on television and radio, reviews for the New York Review of Books and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  

Justin Webb

Justin Webb is a British journalist who has worked for the BBC since 1984.

While working for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he reported on the Gulf War, the war in Bosnia, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the first democratic elections in South Africa. In 1998-2000, he worked as the BBC’s Europe correspondent based in Brussels, and in 2001 moved to the United to States as the BBC’s chief Washington correspondent. He later became North American Editor for BBC News in 2007. In August 2009, he returned to the UK and the Today programme. Webb is also a regular supporter of the children’s charity JDRF, which funds research on type 1 diabetes. 

Nathalie Fletcher

Nathalie Fletcher is currently pursuing interdisciplinary doctoral research in philosophy, education and digital arts at Concordia University (Canada) and teaches in the department of humanities at John Abbott College.

In 2008, Nathalie founded Brila, a youth-driven charity that promotes critical thinking, shapes social responsibility and enhances self-efficacy through creative philosophy projects and the production of digital magazines. She also works as a writer, researcher and designer on innovative initiatives that cherish child development, environmental conservation and social justice, including projects with the United Nations.

Winnie Byanyima

Winnie Byanyima is a Ugandan- born global women’s rights leader and human rights defender. Her interest in activism was first inspired by the courageous women in her village and of her family. Winnie’s passion to support women’s rights and social justice movements around the world has seen her lead the directorates on gender and development at the UN Development Programme and the African Union Commission. 

Currently, Winnie works as the Executive Director at Oxfam International, a confederation of 20 organizations working to end poverty and injustice in more than 90 countries worldwide. 

She holds a B.Sc. in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Manchester and an M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in Energy Conservation and the Environment from the University of Cranfield. 

Brie Mathers

Since graduating from McGill University in Women’s Studies and Humanistic Studies, Brie Mathers has spoken to teen girls worldwide with her multimedia event Love the Skin You’re In. Inspiring young women to find compassion within themselves and for one another, and to lead a new conversation about their bodies and beings, she conducts connective school-wide body image events about media literacy, mindfulness, and partnership.

Brie speaks regularly at Stanford University’s Global Innovation Summit and has collaborated with various other institutions including National Youth Week New Zealand, Bay Area TEDx, University of Rochester Medical Center, YWCA, and the Center for Partnership Studies. Her work has been featured in a number of media outlets. Brie is the author of Freedom to Blossom.

Nick Robinson

Nick Robinson is a British journalist, former political editor for the BBC and a presenter on the BBC's Today programme.

Robinson was interested in politics from a young age, and went on to study a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics degree at Oxford University, where he was also President of the Oxford University Conservative Association. Starting out in broadcasting at Piccadilly Radio, after a year as President of the Conservative Party youth group, he worked his way up as a producer eventually becoming deputy editor of Panorama, before becoming a political correspondent in 1996. He became the BBC's chief political correspondent in 1999. Between 2002 and 2005 he worked for ITV News as political editor, but then returned to the BBC assuming the same role.

Helen Pankhurst

Dr. Helen Pankhurst is an international development and women’s rights activist and writer, the great-granddaughter and granddaughter of British suffragettes Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst, who were pivotal in helping women win the right to vote in the UK in the early 20th century.

She has also worked for the non-profits ACORD, which provides the global insurance industry with data standards and implementation solutions, and Womankind Worldwide, which supports women and girls to improve their lives and communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Pankhurst has also been a trustee of Water Aid, Farm Africa and Action Aid. She is currently CARE International’s Senior Advisor working in the UK and Ethiopia. Together with her daughter, she founded a group called Olympic Suffragettes, which campaigns on a number of women’s rights issues. 

Sir Chris Bonington

Sir Chris Bonington is a British mountaineer whose career has included nineteen expeditions to the Himalayas, including four to Mt. Everest and the first ascent of the south face of Annapurna.

He has written and edited numerous books, made many television appearances and received many honours. In 1974, Bonington received the Founder’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. He was also Honorary President of Mountain Wilderness, an international NGO dedicated to the preservation of mountain areas, in their natural and cultural aspects, and regularly supports charities working on motor neurone diseases.

Rob Greenfield

Rob Greenfield is an American adventurer and environmental activist. He has made it his life’s purpose to inspire people to make positive change in order to create a more sustainable world. In his own words Rob will tell you that in 2009 he was a loud, drunk, environmental nuisance focused on partying, women, money, and nice possessions. But then reality hit in 2011 and he woke up to the fact that all of his daily actions were causing environmental and social destruction around the world. Since then he’s worked diligently to transform his life to be of benefit and service to the earth, humanity, and all creatures. He currently owns just 111 possessions, has been featured on thousands of media outlets and donates 100% of his media income to grassroots non-profit organisations.

Rob Greenfield’s talk is co-organised by Zero Waste Switzerland.

Martin Griffiths & Evan Tyner

Martin Griffiths is the Executive Director of the European Institute of Peace (EIP), an independent partner to the European Union and Europe with a scope to augment the global peace agenda through mediation and informal dialogue. A senior international mediator, he specialises in developing political dialogue between governments and insurgents in countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. He has worked for the UN and a number of humanitarian organisations. 

Evan Tyner works for the EIP, where he focuses on security issues and political violence, and continues to conduct research on terrorism and the activities of armed groups. 

They will discuss conflict resolution as part of their work for the EIP.

Oscar Brenifier

Doctor in philosophy, Oscar Brenifier is one of the main promoters of philosophy for all and has written many books on this subject.

Co-founder of the Institut de pratiques philosophiques, he is one of the authors of the UNESCO report on “Philosophy, A School of Freedom”. He has also written a number of books on philosophy for children, published in French and translated into over thirty languages.

Luc Ferry

Luc Ferry is a French essayist, former professor of philosophy at the Institut d’études politiques de Lyon, Pantheon-Sorbonne University and Caen University, and former Minister of Youth, National Education and Research.

In 2016, he authored La révolution transhumaniste: comment la technomédecine et l’uberisation du monde vont bouleverser nos vies.

Raphael Minder

Raphael Minder is the Spain and Portugal correspondent for The New York Times since April 2010. He has written extensively on the financial crisis’ impact on these two countries and the resulting political tension, including the secessionist drive in Catalonia. He also covers social issues as well as sports and culture.

Born in Geneva, Minder started his journalistic career for Bloomberg News in Switzerland, going on to work for the Financial Times in Paris, Brussels, Sydney and Hong Kong. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University, and a Master’s degree from the Columbia School of Journalism. 

He recently published the book The Struggle for Catalonia. He will be discussing the political crisis between Catalonia and Spain and its consequences.

Shafiur Rahman

Shafiur Rahman is a London-based documentary filmmaker whose particular interests include human rights, migration and poverty. A freelancer, he works for various types of organisations, from the corporate, to the governmental and NGO sectors. His personal projects have involved filming in a wide variety of contexts and countries, including Bangladesh, Libya, Italy, France, Malta, South Africa, Kenya, the USA and Poland. Rahman is a member of the UK’s National Union of Journalists. 

He recently spent time filming a documentary about the Rohingya massacre in Myanmar. Rahman will be sharing his experience of filming on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border. 

Paula Fouce

Paula Fouce is an American filmmaker and critically acclaimed author. She recently produced the film No Asylum: The Untold Chapter of Anne Frank’s Story which will be screened at the United Nations in Geneva to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

Her book Not in God’s Name: Making Sense of Religious Conflict (2015) outlines solutions to religious intolerance, and includes interviews with such figures as Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and many other faith leaders. Fouce is also the President of Paradise Filmworks International. 

She will present her film about Anne Frank and discuss religious intolerance.

Gillian Slovo

Gillian Slovo is a South African-born novelist, playwright and memoirist.

She is the daughter of two famous Communist Party leaders and major figures in the anti-apartheid struggle who lived perilous lives of exile and armed resistance, which culminated in her mother's assassination by South African forces in 1982. Slovo was the 25th president of the English Centre of International PEN, the worldwide writers fellowship, from whom she received the Golden PEN Award in 2013. 

Slovo will discuss her childhood in apartheid-run South Africa and its injustices, the position of the country today as regards AIDS, race and corruption, and her life as a playwright.

Michel Tirabosco

Michel Tirabosco grew up in a family of artists and began playing the pan flute at the age of 7. At 20, he became the first person to obtain a flute certificate with a pan flute, with congratulations from the jury. He continued his studies at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Genève and obtained a diploma in Music Culture and the State Council prize. He performed in his first concerto with symphonic orchestra at age 16. 

At 18, he recorded his first record. His exceptional talent was noticed by the press who considered him a pan flute prodigy. From then on, he undertook a career as an international soloist. 

Michel Tirabosco has recorded 15 CDs in duet, quartet or with orchestra. 

FIFDH - Jaha's Promise

A documentary about the life and activism of Jaha Dukureh, a Gambian women’s rights activist and anti-female genital mutilation campaigner who returns to her country of birth to confront the harmful tradition that she and 200 million women and girls have undergone globally.

This documentary is screened as part of the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), one of the most important international events dedicated to cinema and human rights. Held annually in March, it coincides with the UN Human Rights Council’s main session.

Leyla Hussein

Leyla Hussein is a Somali psychotherapist and social activist, particularly in the field of female genital mutilation (FGM). She is a co-founder of the Daughters of Eve non-profit organization and a Chief Executive of Hawa's Haven.

Hussein has over a decade of work experience in reproductive health, with a background as a youth outreach worker. In 2010, she co-founded the Daughters of Eve, a non-profit organization established to help young women and girls, with a focus on providing education and raising awareness on female genital mutilation. Hussein underwent the procedure at age seven, an experience which inspired her to assist other at risk girls and to call for the practice's eradication.

Daniel von Moltke

Daniel von Moltke is Managing Partner at Quadia, with experience in leading organizations in the sustainable finance and impact investing field. He is the grandson of Werner von Haeften, an Oberleutnant in the Nazi Wehrmacht who took part in the 20 July plot, a military-based conspiracy against Adolf Hitler, and of Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, a German jurist who, as a draftee in the German Abwehr (military intelligence), acted to subvert Nazi human-rights abuses of people in territories occupied by Germany during World War II. 

Daniel von Moltke serves on the Board of the Polish Krzyżowa Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe that supports peaceful and tolerant existence of nations, social groups and individuals in Europe. 

With a longstanding commitment to social and environmental causes, he will share the inspiring stories of his grandfathers, who represent two leading figures of the German anti-Nazi resistance.

David Johnson

David Johnson is a former British footballer (forward) who won major trophies for Liverpool in the 1970s and 1980s and has also played for Ipswich Town, Everton and other clubs. In April 1978, Johnson scored for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park – becoming the very first player to score for both clubs in the Merseyside derby. He was also part of the England squad in the 1980 UEFA European Football Championship. He has three European Cup winners' medals, four League Championship medals and was capped eight times by his country.

Johnson currently works at Anfield, hosting in the corporate lounges. He can also be heard regularly on BBC Radio Merseyside. 

Chris Hines

Chris Hines started his campaigning life as a teenage surfer in Cornwall, who decided to stand up against the government, which was condoning crude waste dumping in the sea at that time.

In 1990 he started Surfers against Sewage with some friends and through persistent campaigning they managed to convince the government to invest billions of pounds to upgrade the waste treatment. He earned his MBE in recognition of his services to the environment. What makes Hines unique, is that he not only campaigns, but also suggests solutions and consults how to implement. More about his work can be found here

Chris Hines will be discussing plastic pollution  as part of La Châtaigneraie Green Week.

Gab Murphy

Gab Murphy is half of the duo ‘Walk Sew Good’ (left) which she formed with her friend Megan O’Malley. Both lovers of fashion, their awareness of exploitation and negative environmental impact within it, lead them to investigate for themselves. To do so, they set out on foot and in the end completed a journey of 3500 km through South East Asia. More about their work can be found here.  

Gab Murphy will be sharing stories from her walk across Southeast Asia and what she witnessed in the fashion industry as part of La Châtaigneraie Green Week.

Thibault Trancart

Becoming blind at age 14 due to retinal cancer, Thibault Trancart decided to continue skiing and make his dream come true : to bring home to Switzerland a medal from an international competition.

Training tirelessly, Thibault competed in the 2017 European Paralympic Ski Championships.

Ernst Ostertag

© Thomas Buchwalder

Ernst Ostertag is a former Swiss schoolteacher who in 2003, together with his partner Robert Rapp, was the first to legally register their same-sex partnership in Switzerland. 

Both Rapp and Ostertag were avid subscribers and editorial contributors to the internationally acclaimed gay journal Der Kreis, a publication that also sponsored social events for its readers in the context of growing tolerance in Zurich (homosexuality had been decriminalised with the first Swiss penal code in 1942). In the 1950s, Ostertag, his partner and Der Kreis subscribers were cast as scapegoats for the murder of three gay men, launching violent reprisals and rekindling fear in the LGBT community – a difficult episode in Ostertag’s life which was the subject of the 2014 docudrama The Circle

Co-founder of the Swiss Organisation of Homophiles (SOH) in 1970 which succeeded Der Kreis, Ostertag has been a fervent activist for LGBT rights in Switzerland throughout his life. He will share the story of the long and stony road that he and Rapp had to travel before they were able to live their relationship openly.

Kamila Shamsie

Kamila Shamsie is a British Pakistani novelist, the author of five novels, including Burnt Shadows which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and has been translated into over 20 languages. She received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literature in Pakistan in 1999. In 2000, she was selected as one of Orange’s 21 Writers of the 21st Century, and in 2009 donated her short story “The Desert Torso” to Oxfam’s Ox-Tales project to raise funds in the global fight to end poverty. In 2015, Shamsie was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. 

A trustee of Free Word and English Pen, Shamsie is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Gary Gibbon

Gary Gibbon is an English journalist and the political editor of Channel 4 News. Previously, he served as the programme’s political correspondent since 1994, covering, amongst others, the peace process in Northern Ireland.

In 2006, Gibbon won the RTS Home News Award with Jon Snow for his scoop on the Attorney General’s legal advice on Iraq. He was also awarded the 2008 Political Broadcaster of the Year award by the Political Studies Association and the 2010 Royal Television Society Specialist Broadcaster of the Year award. 

Gibbon read History at Balliol College, Oxford.

Ian Paisley Jr.

Ian Paisley Jr. is the Member of Parliament for North Antrim, Northern Ireland. A member of the Democratic Unionist Party, he was a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for North Antrim from 1998 to 2010. 

Paisley is a supporter of the Eurosceptic campaign Leave Means Leave, a pro-Brexit pressure group that is considered hard line in its lobbying for the UK to leave the European Union. He read Modern History and Irish Politics at Queen’s University of Belfast.

Shareefa & Paul, Grenfell Tower Survivors

In the early hours of 14 June 2017, a fire broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats in North Kensington, London, killing 71 people and injuring another 70. Burning for some 60 hours before being totally extinguished, more than 250 firefighters and 80 fire engines from stations across the city were mobilised to control the fire, and over 100 ambulance crews were called to the scene. 

While it is believed that the fire was started by a faulty refrigerator, a number of circumstances, including hazardous building materials and emergency response issues, may have contributed to the rapid growth of the fire. An inquiry is currently underway to establish the facts. 

Shareefa and Paul, both residents of Grenfell Tower, were among the survivors, and will recount their experience of the fire.