The author of Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat tells the story of Oleg Gordievsky – described by John le Carré as “the best true spy story I have ever read”. On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a spy for MI6. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia.
A conversation about the nature of the lifelong friendship between historian and writer Simon Schama and Martin Sorrell, businessman and advertising legend. The two men have known each other since their school days.
Martin Jones is Emeritus Professor of Archaeological Science at Cambridge University and a member of its Global Food Security research centre. An expert in archaeobotany and archaeogenetics, he will discuss how our prehistoric ancestors built resilience into their food supply and what we can learn from them.
Lauren St John grew up surrounded by animals on a farm and a game reserve in Zimbabwe while Piers Torday was introduced to nature by being taken on storytelling walks in the forests of Northumberland by his father. Since then both have been passionate about animals, their environments and the need to protect them. Join Lauren and Piers as they discuss their books and the importance for all of saving animals from extinction, in conversation with Professor Ben Garrod, author of The Chimpanzee and Me.
In a unique fusion of art, science and history Katrina van Grouw celebrates the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s monumental work The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, and offers a tribute to what Darwin might have achieved had he possessed that elusive missing piece to the evolutionary puzzle – the knowledge of how individual traits are passed from one generation to the next. With the benefit of a century and a half of hindsight van Grouw explains evolution by building on the analogy that Darwin himself used, comparing the selective breeding process with natural selection in the wild. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
José Woldenberg, a political scientist and expert on the Mexican political system, presents Cartas a una joven desencantada de la democracia, a book that, in epistolary form, tackles the challenges, problems and complexities of Mexican democracy. A vital, critical book given the current political situation in which millions of young people, particularly young people, do not feel represented by their political system and in which it is necessary to question and analyse citizens’ participatory systems and institutions. In conversation with Sergio Ortíz Leroux.
Carolina Jeux, CEO of Telefónica Educación Digital, exposes how the digital revolution is transforming all aspects of our lives. It is not a matter of a period of change, but rather of a change of period that needs us all to understand the role that technology is playing and how it is going to change the world. Digitalization is having an impact on education, a key pillar of progress for society and the well-being of all citizens. It is fundamental today to integrate technology in education to achieve democratization of access to knowledge, and guarantee greater equality of opportunities, even if it forces us to keep on learning throughout our lives.
IN COLLABORATION WITH TELEFÓNICA FOUNDATION AND TELEFÓNICA EDUCACIÓN DIGITAL