with Professor Paul Workman, Professor Martin Cowie, Professor Kypros Nicolaides , Luke Johnson, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, Professor Sarah Harper, Dr Raj Persaud , Professor Karol Sikora and Dr Mo Dewji.
Take part in a fascinating rapid-fire journey through the looming revolutions in healthcare. The medical future is now, as information technology and improved imaging systems push the frontiers of prevention and cure on all fronts: Read more.
Lawrence Krauss is one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists and cosmologists. Among physicists – and rationalists – he is a super-star communicator who has won as many prizes as plaudits. Krauss’ two runaway bestsellers include The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe From Nothing. We are delighted now to welcome him to speak about his greatly anticipated new book The Greatest Story Ever Told…So Far. A committed rationalist, Lawrence Krauss lays bare how science uncovers illusions and makes sense of reality. This, he argues, is crucial in an age of demagoguery, closed-loop communication and fake news. Expect probing questions and far-reaching insight as he speaks with fellow physicist and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili. In association with 5×15. Read more.
Join us as Nick Clegg discusses the tectonic shifts in our political landscape over the past year. One year ago as Between the Extremes, Clegg’s widely-praised insider’s dissection of the coalition government came out, politics was changing. Now it has changed. But the Brexit and Trump victories have only reconfirmed the liberal belief that, if the future is to work, politics must occupy rather than desert the middle ground. Whether or not the recent referendum was an act of national self-immolation, it was undoubtedly a lightning conductor for the clash between a politics of anger or grievance and one of moderation. And if you thought coalition government was a brief and unBritish interlude – think again. We are en route to far-reaching realignments. Navigating our future will rely more than ever on collaboration and a politics of reason. This liberal vision has a renewed sense of purpose and a voice: to reclaim the dangerously eviscerated centre ground before it is too late. It will need candour and courage, qualities acknowledged as characterising one of our least tribal politicians in an age of tribalism. Whatever your persuasion, come and listen. Read more.
Join us forty years on at the Tabernacle for a Bob Marley tribute evening, woven together – from the words of those who knew him best – by Roger Steffens, whose indispensable oral history, So Much Things to Say, appears in August. The childhood abandonment, the formative years in Trench Town, the meteoric rise to international fame, the assassination attempt and possible CIA cover-up, the devastating moment of his collapse while jogging in New York’s Central Park aged just 36 – it’s all here. As are the emotional dramas of Bob Marley’s brief life, and his unwavering commitment to the message of Rastafari, which combined to create the dazzling and idiosyncratic destiny of Bob Marley. In conversation with Linton Kwesi Johnson – known and revered as the world’s first reggae poet – Steffens will reveal extraordinary new details, dispel myths about the man, and let the voices speak for themselves: Rita Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer; band members, relatives and friends… All true gospels are shaped by the accounts of eyewitnesses, and ‘If Bob Marley is Jesus in these times, Roger Steffens is St Peter’ (Carlos Santana). So come along for the definitive Reggae Night on 4th September… Read more.
Two of our most distinguished historians explore one of the darkest episodes of the twentieth century. In 1929 Stalin launched his policy of collectivization, forcing millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms. The result was the most devastating famine in European history, in which 5 million people died. More than 3 million of these were Ukrainians, who perished not because they were accidental victims but because the state set out to kill them – seizing all supplies, sealing the borders, exploiting a catastrophe to subdue a rebellious province. Driven mad by hunger, people ate anything – grass, tree bark, dogs, corpses – and killed one another for food. In her forthcoming Red Famine, Anne Applebaum proves what has long been suspected: that Stalin set out to destroy the Ukrainian peasantry and Ukrainian identity, that the famine of 1931-33 was engineered, that the evidence was thereafter falsified and suppressed. In a remarkable series of books, written from the perspective of witnesses and survivors caught in the grip of vast and terrifying forces, Anne Applebaum and Antony Beevor have redescribed modern barbarism in Europe, combining fearless scholarship and archivism with narrative verve and human sympathy. Join us on 13th September for their discussion of Stalin’s crimes, the recovery of historical memory, and how the present is shaped inescapably by the past… Read more.
Do you struggle to remember people’s names, foreign language vocabulary or where you left your keys? Would you like to improve your memorisation skills so you can master a new language or skill? In this talk Phil Chambers, the author of the latest how to: Academy book on Training your Memory, will explain why we forget and how to remember lists, names and faces, new vocabulary and more. During the talk you will learn practical techniques that you can apply right away and have the chance to put his tips to the test. Read more.
What happens when declining birth-rates and mass immigration combine with a European culture transfixed by guilt about its past and diffidence about its values? The answer, says Douglas Murray, is the perfect storm. Europe is tired. Tired of crisis, tired of change, too exhausted to face up to the changes it has brought upon itself. Over three decades or more, our elites have turned a blind eye to the failures of integration.Not for demographic and political reasons, but because the very project of diversity is fraught beyond solution. Tolerance has no borders, we are told – but it is a process, not a given, and the broader the gesture the more difficult the digestion. What if diversity ends by making us collectively more intolerant? Multiculturalism does not enlarge our values but will submerge and destroy them. Bernard-Henri Lévy brings a different perspective. He too has raised a cry of alarm about the crisis facing the European project and the dream behind it. But as an intellectual he wants more reasons. His mission is to mediate between the community and the universal idea, between reasons of state and those of justice. Europe has had no choice but to respond to the flow of desperate migrants in its direction. And what exactly are we defending? What is this unique identity that is in danger of being lost? There have been unpredented crises, and a fracturing of consensus. Europe isn’t ageing well, but it isn’t dying, and the European idea lives in its capacity to see beyond endgame scenarios. Join us for a conversation across political borders, about the most difficult proposition of our time: that Europe as we know it will cease to exist within the lifespans of most Europeans alive today. In association with The Hexagon Society. Read more.
with H.E. Hamid Karzai, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Christina Lamb and Yalda Hakim.
The explosion that rocked Kabul on 1st June, inside the secure diplomatic area of the city, was the deadliest since the American-led invasion in 2001. Its purpose: to sow a sense of living on the brink of disaster. The security situation following the departure of most western troops in 2014 has deteriorated: a resurgent Taliban currently controls swathes of the country and the threat from Daesh (Islamic State) fighters is constant. 13,000 NATO troops – including 8,000 U.S. soldiers – remain. The Western presence has proved incapable of supporting peace, yet withdrawing more troops may be disastrous in both strategic and humanitarian terms. Angela Merkel stresses that terrorism in one place targets us all. ‘We can’t afford to see Afghanistan lost’ is a mantra but also a conundrum. President Ashraf Ghani worries that there are too many international initiatives, not too few – that they lack clarity, that the integrity of an Afghan-led consolidated process has to be respected. Can one fight and reform at the same time? Can Afghanistan’s mineral wealth provide the basis for sovereignty and a functioning state? Days later the streets and restaurants of Kabul are again full with families, demonstrating the resilience that we take for granted. But for how long? Join our A-team on Afghanistan, on October 2nd, for individual presentations followed by a general discussion: Hamid Karzai served as President of Afghanistan for almost ten years, from 2004 to 2014. Zalmay Khalilzad is the former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United Nations. Christina Lamb is Britain’s most distinguished foreign reporter, currently Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the Sunday Times. Yalda Hakim, whose family fled Afghanistan when she was an infant, is an Australian broadcast journalist with BBC World News. Read more.
In what promises to be a life-changing talk, the Norwegian adventurer Erling Kagge , whose new book on Silence has become an international publishing phenomenon, will take us on a journey to unlock the power of silence and show us how to find perfect silence in our daily lives, however busy we are. ‘Breathtaking and inspiring. Teaches us how to find precious moments of silence – whether we are crossing the Antarctic, climbing Everest, or on the train at rush hour‘ – Sir Ranulph Fiennes Read more.
We are often told that psychoanalysis is dead. Outdated scientifically, in that the Freudian model of the mind has been superseded by neurobiology; outdated clinically, where the talking cure has lost ground to drug treatment or behavioural therapy; outdated socially, where the idea that we are repressed by the norms of others is no longer stocked in today’s supermarket of free choices. But perhaps the moment of psychoanalysis has only just arrived. At a time when we are bombarded on all sides by the injunction to ‘Enjoy!’, it is a unique space in which we are released from such pressures. The psychoanalytic encounter allows one person to feel alive in the mind of another, whatever the consequences. Neither a cure nor a cure-all, it changes those who experience it, sometimes by helping them to understand why they cannot change. Slavoj Žižek and Stephen Grosz – a dazzling theorist and a renowned practitioner – have urgent stories to tell us about ourselves and the present state of our wishes: the wish for a trouble-free existence, and for therapies which can instantly return us to everyday reality, or unreality; the wish for science to explain our minds, or explain them away… Discovering the unconscious at work in psychic life, Freud showed that the ego is not master in its own house, that we do not know our own minds. This is a truth with no sell-by date, and Freud’s insights are alive today more than ever. Read more.
Join one of our greatest historians to mark the publication of the second volume of his history of the Jewish people, and hear scenes from its epic narrative. Schama’s story ranges across continents and centuries, as persecution created a Jewish identity more circumscribed – a people set apart, defined by blood as well as by obedience to the book – and a widening canvas, from the expulsions of 1492 to the epochal search for a home, navigating massacres and wanderings, assimilation and intolerance. It is above all a cultural tapestry, alive with detail. We will hear of rabbis and philosophers, but also of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a boxer in Georgian England; a general in Ming China; an opera composer in nineteenth-century Germany. The scene will shift from Kerala to Mantua, the hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California. It will sail in caravels, ride the stage coaches and the railways; trudge the dawn streets of London, hobble along with the remnant of Napoleon’s ruined army. In Simon Schama’s passionate telling, a story emerges as encompassing as humanity itself. Read more.
Sir Chris Bonington is our premier mountain man. The first Briton to climb the North Wall of the Eiger in 1962, he led the ascent of the South Face of Annapurna in 1970 – for its time the most difficult technical climb to the summit of a major peak – and in 1975 faced the ultimate challenge, leading the first ascent of Everest by the south-west ridge. He became a household name. When Bonington started climbing none of the 14 peaks that rise into the ‘death zone’ above 8000 metres had been conquered. In a career spanning six decades he has learnt what it takes to conquer fear, develop the skills to attempt the world’s most difficult peaks and adapt to its most uninhabitable places. He has survived eight near-death experiences, has mourned and in some cases witnessed the deaths of other luminaries of the mountain fraternity. He has climbed with the mercurial Dougal Haston, the philosophical Stephen Venables, the enigmatic Doug Scott and the hard man Don Whillans, in the course of nineteen Himalayan expeditions and many first ascents from Chile to China. The 1975 Everest expedition was the apotheosis of the military-style assault involving national teams, dozens of porters, tons of supplies and thousands of feet of fixed ropes. Bonington will describe these experiences, the change to ‘Alpine style’ lightweight expeditions with small teams of climbers making fast ascents, and the different challenges faced by modern climbers who live in a world where almost every peak has been conquered. Join us to mark the publication of Ascent: A Life Spent Climbing on the Edge, the complex life story of Britain’s greatest climber. Read more.