Welcome to our Early Bird programme. The full programme will be released at the end of March.
An opportunity to discuss the immediate and longer-term challenges that range across his brief with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Boycott is chair of the London Food Board.
Operation Market Garden, the plan to end the war by capturing the bridges leading to the Lower Rhine and beyond, was a bold concept: the Americans thought it unusually bold for Field Marshal Montgomery. But the cost of failure was horrendous, above all for the Dutch who risked everything to help. German reprisals were cruel and lasted until the end of the war. The pre-eminent war historian looks into the very heart of the conflict.
On the morning of 6 October 1536, a frail scholar was taken from a dungeon in the castle at Vilvoorde, just north of Brussels. Armed guards kept the crowds at bay as he was led through the streets of the small town. He was to be burned. He was allowed a few moments of prayer. As a priest, prayer had been the keystone of his faith. After the brief pause, he walked up the steps to be tied to the cross. As he waited for the flames, he called out, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes!” This was Willi Tyndale, the man whose translation of the New Testament and much of the Old Testament was to bring about more profound changes to the English-speaking world over the next five centuries than the works of any other man in its history.
Where are you really from? You’re British. Your parents are British. You were raised in Britain. Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British. So why do people keep asking you where you are from? Brit(ish) is about a search for identity. It is about the everyday racism that plagues British society. It is about our awkward, troubled relationship with our history. It is about why liberal attempts to be ‘colour-blind’ have caused more problems than they have solved. It is about why we continue to avoid talking about race.
Ansell is Dean of Liberal Arts at Emerson College, and author of New Right, New Racism: Race and Reaction in the United States and Britain.
Unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales voted to leave the EU. Is this an indication that the radical distinctiveness of Wales has eroded with the Welsh language or are there distinctive factors underlying the leave vote in Wales? Given the EU’s response to the referendum in Catalonia, was the Welsh Nationalist vision of ‘Wales in Europe’ built on wishful thinking? Is Wales on the verge of a final assimilation into an increasingly nationalist and isolationist England? Or is this far too dramatic a prognosis? What might be the ways ahead for Wales, Britain and Europe? Chaired by Welsh internationalist, actor and activist Michael Sheen.
Europe, the richest economic area in the world, faces unprecedented challenges: a protectionist US administration, Russian interventions, a Chinese leader who has defied succession planning, and the parliamentary success of the far-right in Germany, Italy and Austria. And then there’s Brexit. Something must be done. But what? And how? And by whom? The distinguished diplomat Gourdault-Montagne is now Secretary General of the French Foreign Ministry, Mountfield is a British QC, Schama is an historian. Chaired by the BBC’s Europe Editor.
The journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia investigated corruption in the Maltese government for decades in the face of intimidation, libel threats and persecution. She was assassinated in a car bomb attack on 16 October 2017. The editor of Index on Censorship is joined by Daphne’s son Paul and her fellow Maltese journalist Caroline Muscat of The Shift News. They talk to the BBC’s Europe Editor.
A thrilling biography of the impoverished, arrogant and brilliant child of the French Revolution who made the vital breakthrough in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs. Robinson charts Champollion’s dramatic life and achievements: by turns a teenage professor, a supporter of Napoleon, an exile, a fanatical decipherer and a curator at the Louvre, he lived life to the full but drove himself into an early grave. Chaired by Daisy Leitch.
Between 1941 and 1944, 16,000 plucky homing pigeons were dropped in an arc from Bordeaux to Copenhagen as part of ‘Columba’ – a secret British operation to bring back intelligence from those living under Nazi occupation. The messages flooded back written on tiny pieces of rice paper tucked into canisters and tied to the legs of the birds. Authentic voices from rural France, the Netherlands and Belgium, they were sometimes comic, often tragic and occasionally invaluable with details of German troop movements and fortifications, new Nazi weapons, radar system or the deployment of the feared V-1 and V-2 rockets that terrorised London. At the centre of the story is the ‘Leopold Vindictive’ network – a small group of Belgian villagers prepared to take huge risks. They were led by an extraordinary priest, Joseph Raskin, a man whose intelligence was so valuable it was shown to Churchill, leading MI6 to parachute agents in to assist him.
To recreate the past as a living, breathing place, the historical novelist has visited churches, archives, museums and art galleries all over Italy. In this lecture, she tells the story of her discoveries; how the decoding of old paintings alongside the work of the most modern historians helped her to penetrate hidden worlds inside the Renaissance, finding wonder and drama in ordinary lives and exploring the complexities of politics and religion along with emotion, the senses and the heady appetites of body and soul. Dunant’s novels include the acclaimed trilogy The Birth of Venus, In the Company of the Courtesan and Sacred Hearts, her two novels about the Borgias, Blood and Beauty and her latest In the Name of the Family.
After nearly three decades reporting conflict from all over the world for the BBC, Fergal Keane has gone home to Ireland to tell a story that lies at the root of his fascination with war. It is about Irish people who found themselves caught up in the revolution that followed the 1916 Rising, in the pitiless violence of civil war in north Kerry after the British left in 1922, and how the ghosts of the past return to shape the present. It is the story of Keane’s grandmother Hannah Purtill, her brother Mick and his friend Con Brosnan, and how they and their neighbours took up guns to fight the British Empire and create an independent Ireland. It is the story of another Irishman, too, Tobias O’Sullivan, who fought against them as a policeman because he believed it was his duty to uphold the law of his country. He talks to Peter Florence.
Is monolingualism harming us, both as individuals and as a society? We look at the value of languages for health and well-being, social cohesion, diplomacy and conflict resolution, defence and national security. Wendy Ayres-Bennett is Professor of French Philology and Linguistics.
The Oxford Professor of European Studies examines the best interests of the United Kingdom, the European Union, global trade and western democracy in this lecture, part of a series curated by Geraint Talfan Davies, who chairs. Garton Ash’s many books about world affairs include Freedom of Speech, The File, The Magic Lantern and Free World.
In 1932-33, nearly four million Ukrainians died of starvation, having been deliberately deprived of food. It is one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the twentieth century. With unprecedented authority and detail, Red Famine investigates how this happened, who was responsible, and what the consequences were.
The famine was rapidly followed by an attack on Ukraine's cultural and political leadership - and then by a denial that it had ever happened at all. Some western journalists shamelessly swallowed the Soviet line; others bravely rejected it, and were undermined and harassed. The Soviet authorities were determined not only that Ukraine should abandon its national aspirations, but that the country's true history should be buried along with its millions of victims. At a moment of crisis between Russia and Ukraine, it also shows how far the present is shaped by the past. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.