This small country, tucked in the northwestern corner of the Horn of Africa, is a template for what is achievable on the continent. And it’s an antidote to the constant cycle of pessimism about Africa that dominates the Western thought on the current state of the continent. How did the country move from famine, poverty and war to a thriving and prosperous multi-party democracy? Harper is Africa Editor at the BBC World Service and author of Getting Somalia Wrong; Mire is a Swedish-Somali archaeologist.
In the light of what we know from part 1 of the Leveson Inquiry and from the trial of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, Hacked-Off campaigners debate the issue of how to regulate the press with the CEO of English PEN and the Observer columnist.
It’s 100 years since drugs were first banned, and drug use and drug crime have continued to grow steadily across the world. What are people addicted to? Are any of the policies adopted around the world based on scientific data? Are any of them working? Hari is the author of Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War Against Drugs; Hitchens is the author of The War We Never Fought. Chaired by Hernando Alvarez, editor of BBC Mundo.
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.
“Centuries of writing and thinking about rape – as inflicted by men on women – have got us nowhere. There are those who, like Quentin Tarantino, think it is one of the most violent crimes in the world, and others for whom it is simply what happens when a woman endures sex she doesn’t want. Bestial or banal, a proven rape may carry a prison sentence of many years, even life, but very few rapes ever find their way into a court of law. The prosecution of a selected minority of cases seldom results in a conviction. The crucial issue is that of consent, which is thought by some to be easy to establish and by others as impossible. Rape statistics remain intractable. Again and again crime surveys tell us that one woman in five will experience sexual violence. Despite all efforts to root sexual assault out of workplaces and colleges, predatory individuals still inflict lasting damage with apparent impunity. The only result of desperate attempts to apportion blame and enact chastisement has been an erosion of the civil rights of the accused. Sexual assault does not diminish; relations between the sexes do not improve; litigation balloons. There has to be a better way.” Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
Tharoor is a renowned politician and author of The Great Indian Novel, Pax Indica and From Midnight to the Millennium. His latest collection of essays, written during Narendra Modi’s premiership, is India Shastra: Reflections on the Nation in Our Time. Faleiro is author of Beautiful Thing and 13 Men – a report on gang rape in West Bengal. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
As Greek finance minister, Varoufakis confronted the EU head-on over debt. He tells a tale of brinkmanship, hypocrisy, collusion and betrayal, and he issues an urgent call to renew European democracy.
The Economist Platform
The British-American economist examines the formation of policy in the post-truth world, and reconfigures how expertise is mediated and how we manage the boundaries between advisors and politicians. Shafik was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and is the incoming Director of the London School of Economics. Chaired by Zanny Minton Beddoes.
The online Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced by women on a day-to-day basis. It shares stories from women around the world. The founder reports on the last year’s work.
It began with an unsigned email: ‘I am a senior member of the intelligence community’. The award-winning investigative journalist takes up the story of the NSA whistleblower. Chaired by James Naughtie.
Sands’s inquiry into the origins of 'genocide' and 'crimes against humanity' is also a personal quest for his family in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. It won this year’s Baillie Gifford Prize. Hay Festival-goers will have heard Sands explore many of the themes of the story here over the past decade. We revisit East West Street this year to honour one of the greatest works of literature of the festival’s lifetime; a book that might be read around Europe and around the world to inform the way contemporary history is developing.
A fascinating account of an exemplary Parliamentary and political career from an insider committed to progressing gender equality. There’s a great quote about her in The Times: “Countless blows have tempered Harman into something fearless and indestructible”. She talks to the founder of the Everyday Sexism project.
You know all about the phone hacking trial, don’t you? Rebekah Brooks was acquitted and Andy Coulson went to jail. But why? Why was Brooks, the public face of the phone hacking scandal, found not guilty on all charges? Why did Coulson’s expensive defense not impress reporters? What impact did Rupert Murdoch’s millons have on the trial? And why did the jurors reach the decisions they did?
Five short arguments about flashpoints in the Freedom of Speech debates – porn, blasphemy, Israel, national security. Where do we draw the lines? And why?
On the 50th anniversary of the last execution to take place in the UK, Malkani, a lecturer at Birmingham Law School, discusses why we are better off without the death penalty and why British efforts to promote the worldwide abolition of capital punishment should be supported. UN statistics suggest the five countries with the highest number of state executions annually are, in order, China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United States of America.
The leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have transformed our understanding of our daily communication through social media, email and mobile phones. Scholars from Cardiff University’s research project Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society will discuss the practices, implications and broader meanings of mass surveillance. Does it work? How does it work, and who and what is monitored? How does it affect civil rights? Have we been properly informed, and how should the media report? How can we protect ourselves?
The historian examines the context of the 1215 charter and its lasting impact on democracy today.
On 11 September 2001 our world changed. The West’s response to 9/11 has morphed into a period of ‘exception’. Governments have decided that the rule of law and human rights are often too costly. The Director of Liberty explores why our fundamental rights and freedoms are indispensable and examines the unprecedented pressures those rights are under today. She talks to Susie Symes, economist and chair of 19 Princelet Street.
An interview with the musician and activist, who was arrested after her punk band’s 2012 performance in a Moscow cathedral. She was convicted of 'hooliganism motivated by religious hatred' and sentenced to two years penal servitude. Nadya Tolokno now has permanent residency in Canada, from where she continues to protest human rights abuses. Introduced by Rachael Jolley.
In this first of the Festival's flagship 30th anniversary project sessions, the Spanish international trade lawyer re-imagines the European Union. González Durántez was previously the Middle East Adviser to the External Relations Commissioner in the European Union, having started her career as a trade negotiator at the World Trade Organisation. Chaired by Matthew d’Ancona.
The philosopher challenges long-held views on just wars, ethical conduct during war, why wars occur, how they alter people and societies; and how we might reduce their frequency, mitigate their horrors and lessen the burden of their consequences.
Wall Street and The City like to operate under the flag of Adam Smith; his free market economic ideas are often considered to be a defining bedrock of capitalism. In reality, those financial capitalists today have completely forgotten the core essence of his ideas; indeed, their vision of capitalism and the modern company totally perverts them. Tett’s reformation is a call to arms for all devotees of Adam Smith – to return to his original ideas about market forces and reform that idea of capitalism in a fundamental manner. Tett is US Managing Editor of the FT and the author of The Silo Effect, Fool’s Gold and Saving the Sun. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.
Liberated from the death camps of Auschwitz at the age of eleven, in adulthood Buergenthal became a judge at the International Court in The Hague, investigating modern day genocides. He returns to the festival with a new postscript to his memoir.
The team who gave The Verdict on the last Labour administration audit the devastating effectiveness of the Coalition government. ‘Margaret Thatcher sold off the nationalised industries. Her political heirs are intent on leaving an even more radical legacy – selling off the state itself.’
The daughter of the celebrated and glass-Bar-breaking QC and judge discusses her mother’s career and legacy, detailed in her biography Rose Heilbron, Legal Pioneer of the 20th Century – Inspiring Advocate who became England’s First Woman Judge.