Transported as a young boy by his father’s tales of Palestine, John McCarthy has always been drawn to the mystique of the Middle East. Remarkably, his first-hand experience of its brutal conflicts – he was kidnapped and held hostage in the Lebanon for five years – only strengthened his determination to return and explore its myriad complexities.
In the years since his ordeal, McCarthy has travelled through Israel and East Jerusalem, from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Bedouin encampments of the Negev Desert. His intensely moving encounters with the inhabitants of this beautiful but tormented region reveal the continuing tragedy of the Palestinians who remained in Israel after its formation in 1948 – and who still dare to think of it as home.
In light of the First Minister for Wales’s call for UK-wide constitutional conventions, how does the Scottish independence vote, whether yes or no, affect the people of Wales?
The former Finance Minister of Greece shows that the origins of the European collapse go far deeper than our leaders are prepared to admit – and that we have done nothing so far to fix it.
This year’s lecture is given by the Swedish politician and diplomat. As Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency he led the Western inspection and response to the Chernobyl disaster. As head of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission he led the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq between 2000 and 2003, finding none. Chaired by Jon Snow.
The Middle East correspondent analyses the state of the region, the response of the international powers and the feelings of the people on the ground. Chaired by the British Ambassador to Lebanon.
A conversation with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, who is now charged with delivering the COP21 Agreement, signed in Paris. If anyone can do it, she can. And she will.
The Waterstones chief James Daunt and the chair of judges Sir Rodric Braithwaite host a discussion on writing about Russia with Douglas Smith (shortlisted author of Former People) and author and judge Rachel Polonsky. The shortlist was announced on 25 April.
Twenty-five years after a bomb brought Pan Am Flight 103 down on the town, the novelist James Robertson, author of The Professor Of Truth, and Dr Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the bombing and who is a member of the Justice For Megrahi group, reflect on the tragedy.
The Basque Country in the early 1980s was a nation beset by conflict, its economy in ruins. Three decades later and it’s a nation at peace and second only to Luxembourg in Europe’s prosperity stakes. And all this with an equality index on a par with Scandinavia. Come and hear how they did it from the man who led the country from the opening of the Guggenheim to the eve of ETA’s lasting ceasefire. What are the lessons for other countries? You may be surprised… Chaired by Adam Price.
The investigative journalist and author lives under police protection from the crime syndicates he exposed and denounced in Gomorrah and ZeroZeroZero. He offers a personal and candid portrait of Italy today: a place of trafficking and toxic waste, where democracy is bought and sold, and organised crime rules both north and south.
The authors attempt to avert a potential global catastrophe by showing that the grounds for war do not exist, that there are no Iranian nuclear weapons, and that Iran would happily come to a table and strike a deal. They argue that the military threats aimed by the West against Iran contravene international law, and argue that Iran is a civilised country and legitimate power across the Middle East. Chaired by Bronwen Maddox.
The novelist, author of Honour, The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love develops her mesmerising exploration of writing and identity deriving from her fascination with the silent letter of her Turkish alphabet – the 'Ghost G'.
What are the lessons to be learnt from Libya, Syria and Afghanistan? The senior NATO officer, Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, is joined by the UN Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and the leading international lawyer.
The editors and contributors present the best writing on the Arab revolutions from prominent journalists, activists, bloggers, academics and writers who participated in and bore witness to the ongoing uprisings and struggles.
The Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize-winning pioneer of microfinance and founder of the Grameen Bank talks to Nicholas Stern.
The historian tells the story of the British forces as they invade Afghanistan in 1839 and re-establish Shah Shuia ul-Mulk on the throne. The British faced little opposition to the invasion but, two years later, the Afghans rose in answer to the call for jihad and ultimately consigned the British to their most humiliating military defeat of the C19th.
No American statesman has been as revered and as reviled as Henry Kissinger. Hailed by some as the ‘indispensable man’, whose advice has been sought by every president from John F Kennedy to George W Bush, he has also attracted immense hostility from critics who have cast him as an amoral Machiavellian – the ultimate, cold-blooded ‘realist’. In his first volume of biography, the historian examines Kissinger’s early life (as a Jew in Hitler’s Germany, a poor immigrant in New York, a GI at the Battle of the Bulge, an interrogator of Nazis, and a student of history at Harvard) to understand his debt to the philosophy of idealism. By tracing his rise, fall and revival as an adviser to Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon, Ferguson assesses Kissinger’s contribution to the theory of diplomacy, grand strategy and nuclear deterrence.
Inspired by the traditional wonder tales of the East, Rushdie’s new novel is a masterpiece about the age-old conflicts that remain in today’s world. Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is satirical and bawdy, full of cunning and folly, rivalries and betrayals, kismet and karma, rapture and redemption.
Unshackled now from her role as the BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent, the doyenne of international journalism talks about her thirty years as a foreign correspondent. She covered the fall of the Soviet Union from Moscow and the heydays and dogdays of the Clinton administration from Washington. A fluent Russian speaker, she has become the authority on the rise and rule of Vladimir Putin and the re-emergence of Russia as a superpower. She will be Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge from July.
Six years on from his landmark Climate Change Report, Lord Stern thinks he underestimated the predictions of global temperature rise and that we may now be looking not at 2/3° but at 4/5°. On the up side, he sees potential for economic growth in green industries. Chaired by Nik Gowing.