Guest Speakers Series

We are extremely fortunate to be based in a safe, peaceful and prosperous environment. 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, Feminist and academic Germaine Greer, BBC News correspondent Kate Adie, Science writer and TV presenter Simon Singh, Journalists Fergal Keane and Owen Jones. Others, such as Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss, Real Junk Food Project Founder Adam Smith, and refugee outreach worker Jasmin O’Hara deserve more recognition. 

Please note that these events are open to all members of the Ecolint community (parents, staff and students).  If you are not a member of the Ecolint community but are interested in attending, please write to and if space allows we will endeavour to accommodate your request.

Past 2016-2017 Speakers

Speaker Description

Max Lobe


Max Lobe is a Cameroonian writer, inspired by African literature and tales.

In 2004, he moved to Switzerland to study journalism at the Università della Svizzera italiana. In 2009, he was awarded the Prix de la Sorge for his novel ‘Le Baccalauréat’. In 2014, ’39 rue de Berne’ received the Prix du Roman des Romands. Despite the difficult themes he tackles, his writing remains full of humour and empathy. 

Alfonso Guerra

Alfonso Guerra

Alfonso Guerra González (born 31 May 1940 in Seville) is a Spanish politician. A leading member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), he served as vice president of the government (vicepresidente del Gobierno, i.e., equivalent to deputy prime minister) of Spain from 1982 to 1991, under the premiership of Felipe González.

He will speak about the political transition in Spain after Franco's dictatorship.

Tim Jarvis

Tim Jarvis

Tim Jarvis, AM is an environmental scientist, adventurer and author. Born in May 1966, he is best known for his Antarctic expedition of 1999, undertaken with fellow Australian explorer Peter Treseder in which he set a world record for the fastest unsupported journey to the Geographic South Pole and the longest unsupported Antarctica journey.

In April 2007 Tim Jarvis completed an expedition in Antarctica where he attempted to recreate the amazing expedition and human feat of Sir Douglas Mawson. Jarvis walked close to 500 km pulling a sleigh full of supplies, and living on almost the same rations as Mawson himself. In February 2013  Jarvis and five others successfully recreated Sir Ernest Shackleton's epic crossing of the Southern Ocean in the Alexandra Shackleton, a replica of the James Caird. Using the same materials, clothing, food and a Thomas Mercer chronometer as in the original voyage, Jarvis and the team sailed their replica James Caird to South Georgia, just as Shackleton did in 1916.

Tim will talk about his expeditions, especially the Shackleton voyage, and the environment and sustainability issues.

Listen to the interview of Tim Jarvis by Michael McKay on World Radio Switzerland here

Col. Al Worden

Col. Alfred M. Worden is an American astronaut and engineer.

He served as a member of the support crew for Apollo 9, backup command module pilot for Apollo 12, and as command module pilot for Apollo 15. Col. Worden still holds a record for the furthest deep space EVA on that flight, and he is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon. He published his autobiography Falling to Earth in 2011.

Watch The Update interview here.

Chris Bickerton

Chris Bickerton
©C. J. Bickerton

Dr Christopher Bickerton is University Lecturer in politics at POLIS and a Fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge. He has published numerous books and articles that span a number of different fields within social and political science.

In 2016, he published the best-selling "The European Union: A Citizen’s Guide", which was submitted for the Baillie-Gifford prize, the UK’s leading non-fiction literary prize. Beyond academic publishing, he has written articles for the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, New York Times, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The Big Issue and is regularly interviewed for national and international radio.

Dr Bickerton will speak about the functions of the EU and the recent Brexit referendum in the UK.

Watch The Update interview here.

Michael D. Aeschliman


Prof. Michael D. Aeschliman is Professor Emeritus of Education at Boston University, Professor of Anglophone Culture at the Università della Svizzera italiana, and is on the Board of the TASIS Foundation Switzerland.

He has long-standing interests in international education, the philosophy of education, religion and education, literature and science, and literature, art and ethics. He is a widely published scholar and writes a monthly column for National Review (New York).

Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond
©The Lyon Yawns

Alex Salmond is a Scottish politician who served as the First Minister of Scotland from 2007 to 2014. He was the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) for over twenty years. Salmond is credited with successfully campaigning for a referendum on the subject of Scottish independence from the UK, which was held in 2014.

Alex Salmond will speak about Scotland and its possible independence, small states in Europe, and Brexit and its impact.

Watch The Update interview here.


Screenagers is a documentary film created and directed by physician and film director Delaney Ruston.

Exploring the family struggles arising from social media, video games, academic choices and internet addiction, Screenagers reveals how tech time impacts children’s development. With the average child spending around 6.5 hours a day looking at a screen, it offers solutions on how adults can empower children to best navigate the digital world and find balance.

Allan Little

©Allan Little

Allan Little  is a former BBC researcher, reporter and, latterly, special correspondent. He has reported from Baghdad during the 1991 Gulf War, from South Africa where he reported on the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide and the overthrow of Zaire's President Mobutu, and between 1997 and 1999 was the BBC's Moscow correspondent during Boris Yeltsin's tenure as Russian president.

Little has won several awards including a Gold Sony Radio Award for Reporter of the Year in 1992, Amnesty International Reporter of the Year in 1992, Bayeux-Calvados Radio War Correspondent of the Year in 1994, a Sony Documentary Gold Award in 2000, and the Grierson Premier TV Documentary Award in 2001. Allan Little will give a talk about journalism in war zones and truth in the media.

Watch The Update interview here.

Julie Bindel

©Oxford Student

Julie Bindel has been active in the global campaign to end violence towards women and children since 1979, and helps women who have been prosecuted for killing violent male partners.

Julie writes regularly for The Guardian, the New Statesman, Sunday Telegraph and Standpoint magazines, appearing frequently both on the BBC and Sky News. She also writes about gender inequality in general, as well as stalking, religious fundamentalism, lesbian rights, opposition to the sex industry and human trafficking. She is currently Visiting Researcher at Lincoln University (2014-17).

Mark Stewart

©Mark Stewart Productions

Mark Stewart is an alumnus of Ecolint and the son of Formula 1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart. He is currently CEO of his own film making company, which specializes in commercials, high-end corporate films and broadcast documentaries.

As an executive producer, Mark Stewart finds inspiration from a wide range of subjects. He is credited with successful feature films – such as Weekend of a Champion (with Roman Polanski) about his father, or The Last Man on the Moon about NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan – and celebrated television projects like The Maharajas’ Motor Car on the history of Rolls-Royce in India and How to Go Faster and Influence People about F1 driver Gordon Murray. 

Mark Stewart will speak about his work as a film maker, with extracts from his numerous films. 

Joseba Errekalde

Joseba Errekalde
©Hamaika Telebista

Joseba Errekalde is one of the founders of the Harribeltza Association, a Basque organization that actively engages in the fight against HIV/AIDS by raising awareness in the community and providing psychological and emotional support to those affected by the disease. Errekalde, who is HIV+, has learned to live with this heavy burden for over twenty years, having faced society’s fearful gaze and the psychosis HIV/AIDS originally provoked when discovered in the 1980s.  

In the context of World AIDS day, Joseba Errekalde will come to speak about the history of HIV/AIDS and its potential solutions.

Pamela Hamamoto

©U.S. Mission to the UN

Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto is the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, the second woman to serve in this position since 1958. She has built on Geneva’s unique platform to unleash new opportunities for women and girls. 

In addition to her mandate as ambassador, she helped launch The Future She Deserves in 2015, an initiative to address the issues of gender-based violence, adolescent girls’ health, economic empowerment and leadership opportunities. Together with the UN in Geneva Director-General Michael Møller and Women@TheTable, she launched the Geneva Gender Champions, a network bringing together key leaders to break down gender barriers.

She will be giving a talk about gender issues.

Mick Jackson

Dr. Mick Jackson is an entrepreneur, author and ex chart topping rock singer. He is also the founder of the WildHearts Group which is committed to launching companies that fight social and economic injustice. 

Through its award winning programme Micro-Tyco, it funds micro-loans for poor entrepreneurs in 37 countries across five continents. To date WildHearts has transformed over 135,000 lives globally. Mick Jackson’s work has been recognised globally. He has received numerous honorary doctorates, was voted Entrepreneur of the Year and Top Scot by the UK public, and is a recipient of the prestigious Babson Social Innovation Award from Babson College. 

Mick will discuss the impact of social entrepreneurship, microfinance and volunteering.

Phil Scraton

©Hillsborough Independent

Phil Scraton is a criminologist, academic and author. He is a critical social researcher known particularly for his investigative work into the context, circumstances and aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster that claimed the lives of 96 men, women and children.

More recently he was a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel and headed its research. Currently he is Professor of Criminology in the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Law at Queen's University Belfast, and Director of the Childhood, Transition and Social Justice Initiative. His research includes the investigation of and inquiry into controversial deaths, particularly deaths in custody; the marginalisation and criminalisation of children and young people; the politics of imprisonment; analysis of disasters and their impact on the bereaved and survivors.

Watch The Update interview here.

Oliver Morgan


Oliver Morgan holds degrees from the universities of Cambridge, Sussex, and Geneva. His research focuses on dialogue, calling for greater attention to when characters speak as opposed to what they say.

Other interests include editing, punctuation and typography, interactional linguistics, versification and early modern performance practices. Oxford University Press is currently reviewing his first book, Turn-taking in Shakespeare, for publication.

Michael Møller

©Geneva Gender Champions

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 UN, serving 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 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

Møller has a Master’s degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University. 

Watch The Update interview here.

Leyla Hussein

©Lily Bertrand-Webb

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.

Watch The Update interview here.

Ben Smith

©Gazette Live

Ben Smith is a British runner and charity campaigner. Having been seriously bullied at boarding school and university, Ben found himself in his late twenties overweight, unfit and depressed. After re-taking control of his life, taking up running and coming out as gay in 2013, Ben set himself the challenge to run 401 marathons in 401 days to raise money for anti-bullying charities Stonewall and Kidscape, which he successfully completed in October 2016.

James Eddis

James Eddis is Head of History at La Grande Boissière, where he teaches modern international history with a focus on Europe.

He holds degrees from the universities of Durham and Oxford. Among his work experience, James Eddis worked for the Imperial War Museum on the “Their Past Your Future” programme commemorating the end of the Second World War in an effort to understand its ongoing impact 60 years on. 

Jon Snow

©Marlborough Lit Fest

Jon Snow is an English journalist and television presenter, currently employed by ITN. He is best known as the longest-running presenter of Channel 4 News, which he has presented since 1989, and for his collection of colourful neckties!

Snow has also held numerous honorary appointments, including Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University from 2001 to 2008.


In the eyes of the world, the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States is the demonstration of successful diversity. Yet segregation, though prohibited by law, is returning to the United States, especially in public schools. In Selma, Alabama, a landmark of the civil rights movement, the situation is particularly worrying: high schools exemplify the racial division of the city. How do those who once advocated for black rights react to this new nameless apartheid? 

Etats-Unis, le nouvel apartheid is a documentary directed by Romain Icard, a French journalist and filmmaker. It will be screened as part of the International film festival and forum on human rights. 


Dirty Gold War is a trip behind the scenes of a thriving industry. On one side, the displays of luxury goods; on the other, the appalling conditions of those cursed by dirty gold. 

From mine to window display, extreme misery to luxury brands and big banks, it follows the course of the “gold trail”. From South America to Switzerland, the country that refines and fashions the major part of the world’s dirty gold into bars. This film puts a little-known reality into perspective and reveals important issues about a gold rush that is continuing in the 21st century, in silence and indifference, regardless of the interests of indigenous peoples. 

Dirty Gold War is a documentary directed by Daniel Schweizer, a Swiss author and filmmaker. It will be screened as part of the International film festival and forum on human rights. 

Marcia Rigg


Marcia Rigg is a civil rights campaigner, whose younger brother Sean Rigg a 40-year-old black British musician and music producer who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, died following a cardiac arrest while in police custody in 2008. Sean's case became a cause célèbre for civil rights and justice campaigners in the United Kingdom, who called for "improvement and change on a national level" regarding deaths in police custody and the police treatment of suspects with mental health issues.

Irene Villa

Irene Villa is a Spanish author, press and radio journalist, and terrorist attack survivor. In October 1991, when on her way to school, Irene was seriously hurt in a bombing by Basque separatist group ETA in Madrid, and lost both legs and three fingers. Until 2007, Irene was a delegate for the Madrid-based Asociación de Victimas del Terrorismo. She has also written an autobiography, Saber que se puede, about her life and experience following the attack. Irene holds a diploma in audiovisual communication from the Universidad Europea de Madrid, and is a certified psychologist. She is also a para-alpine skier. 

Irene will discuss how she survived the attack and learned to live with its after effects. Her presentation will be given in Spanish, with no translation.

Graham MacGregor


Graham MacGregor is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and Honorary Consultant Physician at St George’s Hospital, London. He is a visiting Professor at St George’s Hospital Medical School, London.

A trained nephrologist, he became interested in blood pressure control mechanisms. In 1996 he set up the action group Consensus Action on Salt and Health to try and get the food industry to add less salt to the food and thereby get a reduction in population salt intake. This was very successful and resulted in the Food Standards Agency taking on the task of salt reduction. The UK is now leading the world in salt reduction.

He later set up World Action on Salt and Health, Blood Pressure UK and most recently, Action on Sugar, which aims to reduce added sugar in foods and soft drinks in the same way as salt.

Dominique Vidaud

©Le Temps

Associate Professor of History at the University of Lyon II-Lumière, member of LAHRHA (Laboratoire de recherche historique Rhône-Alpes), and historian of contemporary Spain, Dominique Vidaud is the Director of the Maison d’Izieu, the memorial for Jewish children who were deported and exterminated.

He is primarily in charge of the international development of the memorial’s educational activities. 

Yael Deckelbaum & Miriam Toukan

Yael Deckelbaum is an award-winning Israeli/Canadian singer-songwriter and activist. Yael wrote and composed the song “Prayer of The Mothers”, which turned into the anthem of the March of Hope, led by the movement Women Wage Peace.

Miriam Toukan is a Christian Arab singer from the Israeli village I'billin. She sings for dialogue and co-existence, raising a call for awareness and appreciation for human and civil rights in all sectors of Israeli society. In 2011, she was appointed a member of the Moving In Peace organisation, which deals intercultural relations between different ethnic groups.

Both are peace activists.

Juliet Jacques


Juliet Jacques is a British journalist, critic and writer of short fiction, known for her work on the transgender experience. In 2010, she began writing a chronicle of her gender reassignment. She currently writes for The Guardian.

Mukesh Kapila

Mukesh Kapila CBE has worked extensively and advised in crisis and conflict management, humanitarian affairs, post-conflict recovery and development, as well as HIV and AIDS.

Kapila is Professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs at the University of Manchester. He is also Special Representative for the Aegis Trust for the prevention of crimes against humanity. Kapila is also author of a book titled Against A Tide of Evil, in which he reveals the terrible reality of the mass murders in Darfur. He has also worked as Under Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and as Special Adviser to the UNHCR and at the UN Mission in Afghanistan.

Mukesh Kapila is coming to speak at La Châtaigneraie as part of Green Week.

Emily Hunter

Emily Hunter is a Canadian activist, author and filmmaker. She is the daughter of the late Robert Hunter, first president of Greenpeace and Bobbi Hunter, co-founder of Greenpeace. She has been a campaigner for nearly a decade on numerous environmental causes, from fighting whaling to climate change. She is known in Canada as a writer for THIS magazine and as environmental correspondent for MTV News. She is the author of "The Next Eco-Warriors", published in Canada in 2011. Her new project is "Activism 2.0", a study of global green activists. 

Emily Hunter is coming to speak at La Châtaigneraie as part of Green Week.

Pauline Tangiora

©Rising Women Rising World

Pauline Tangiora is a Maori leader from Aotearoa, New Zealand. She is one of the most globally well known Maori leaders for peace and justice from Aotearoa, and is a member of the Earth Charter Commission, and Councillor with the World Future Council as a spokesperson and leader for indigenous rights worldwide.

She is a Justice of the Peace and a 'spiritual' leader of her people and was also a lead negotiator in the Maori's claim to the NZ Government for historical injustices, and key signatory of the recent settlement with the government. She is one of the world's most famous and beloved indigenous leaders.

Patrick Lunt

Patrick Lunt collaborates with Earthship Biotecture, a global company offering sustainable design and construction services worldwide. He is currently working on two projects: a school house in Nepal and a refugee centre in Annemasse.

Patrick is also a founding member of Off Grid Italia, a cultural association regrouping like-minded individuals wishing to live sustainably. In 2006, he co-directed Ethical Studios, a web design company specialised in creating websites for NGOs and international organisations, including the IUCN and the UN. Patrick has an MSc in Environment and Development from Manchester University and is an Ecolint alumnus (LGB ’96). 

Patrick Lunt is coming to speak at La Châtaigneraie as part of Green Week.

Tamara Minick-Scokalo

Tamara Minick-Scokalo is a member of the Board of Directors of, a non-profit coalition of technical, social and commercial innovators who aim to solve global challenges that limit communities’ ability to survive and thrive through low tech, high thinking solutions. With a focus on providing reliable access to safe water, they have developed a Wood Mold to manufacture BioSand Filters (BSFs). Using sand, gravel and natural biological processes to filter out contaminants in water, BSFs can effectively eliminate cholera, typhoid, E. coli, dysentery and many other pathogens. Successfully piloted in Ecuador, Kenya and Bangladesh, BSFs have the added advantage of being durable, made with locally sourced material, and requiring little maintenance and no electricity. 

Tamara Minick-Scokalo is coming to speak at La Châtaigneraie as part of Green Week.

Olga Navarro

Olga Navarro is Project Manager for the Goumbook Initiative. She is active in the Drop It campaign, launched in May 2016 to unite individuals and local businesses in saying NO to plastic bottles and encouraging members to filter and bottle their own water. DROP IT is a Goumbook Initiative, a social enterprise aimed at raising awareness on sustainability and green living, and uniting environmental experts, organisations, businesses and consumers across the Middle East and North Africa. Olga has a civil and environmental engineering degree, and extensive experience in water project management in Europe. 

Olga Navarro is coming to speak at La Châtaigneraie as part of Green Week.

Howard Gayle

Howard Gayle is an English former footballer, the first black player to play for Liverpool in the early 1980s.

Howard has since played for Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Halifax Town, Newcastle United, Sunderland and Stoke City. Howard now works to support disenfranchised young people in Liverpool and throughout the North West. He is a patron and ambassador for the UK’s anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card. 

Bertrand Piccard

©solar Impulse | revillard |

Bertrand Piccard is the initiator and visionary behind Solar Impulse, the very first airplane capable of flying perpetually without fuel. It is in his DNA to go beyond the obvious and achieve the impossible, as he did with his two round-the-world flights, recently in a solar-powered airplane, and before that non-stop in a balloon. By initiating the Solar Impulse project, his ambition has been to leverage a pioneering spirit for a useful contribution to the cause of renewable energies and clean technologies. With his dual identities as medical doctor and explorer, Bertrand has become an influential voice heard among the most distinguished institutions across the globe as a forward-thinking leader for progress and sustainability.

Dr. Bertrand Piccard will present his project Solar Impulse, and dedication to changing the world through greater recourse to clean technologies.

Theodore Dalrymple

©Birmingham Mail

Theodore Dalrymple is an English writer and retired prison doctor and psychiatrist. He is Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.

Dalrymple writes regularly for The Spectator, National Review, The British Medical Journal, The Times, The Observer, and The Daily Telegraph. Dalrymple has authored over twenty books and has been called the “Orwell of our time” (Arts & Letters Daily). He has written extensively on culture, art, politics, education and medicine – often drawing on his experiences in Africa and the UK. 

Isabel Jaramillo Edwards

Isabel Jaramillo Edwards was Secretary to Chilean president Salvador Allende during the 1973 coup d’État in which dictator Augusto Pinochet rose to supreme power. 

She holds a PhD in Historical Sciences and a Masters in Social Sciences from the University of Havana. She was a Senior Researcher at the Centre for American Studies, and a researcher and Associate Professor at Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Cuba (FLACSO-Cuba). She was also Associate Professor at the Instituto Superior de Relaciones Internacionales in Havana. 

Isabel has been a Visiting Professor at The American University, Rutgers University, Florida International University, Georgetown University, FLACSO-Cuba, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the University of North Carolina. She has participated in many international seminars in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe.