Programme for 2018

Meetings are at Wesley Memorial Church hall (except for the Evan Luard Lecture) on Tuesdays, 1-2pm. Refreshments served from 12.30.

April 24: Restoring trust in news

Alessandra Galloni

In this age of so-called ‘Fake News’, a concept promoted in Tweets from the White House, seized on by conspiracy theorists, and threatening to undermine the democratic process, the trustworthiness of our journalists has never before been so important.

Alessandra Galloni is Reuters Global News Editor, based in London, appointed in January 2016. She joined Reuters in September 2013 as Editor of the Southern Europe bureau, after spending 13 years at The Wall Street Journal in various positions as correspondent, economics and business writer and editor in New York, London, Paris and Rome. She has won several awards, including an Overseas Press Club Award in the US and a UK Business Journalist of the Year Award for her coverage of the Parmalat corporate scandal. She is co-author of From the End of the Earth to Rome, an e-book on Pope Francis. An Italian national, Ms Galloni is a graduate of Harvard University (1991-1995) and has a Masters degree from the London School of Economics (2002).

UN concern to restore trust in news was expressed through a joint declaration from the Office of the High Commission on Human Rights last year, co-authored by the Freedom of Expression rapporteurs of the OHCHR, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organisation of American States, and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The report is on-line at

 Ms Galloni’s talk is part of the series of lunchtime discussions held every term by the Oxford branch of the United Nations Association UK. This is a free event and members of the public are welcome to attend. Refreshments are available from 12.30pm

This was our programme for 2017

May 23: In the age of Brexit and Trump: a new international order?

Sir Adam Roberts

What caused these events? What are their consequences for the EU and the rest of the world? Are they part of a wider resurgence of nationalism? Are we now in a ‘post-truth’ world? Is there now a need to re-think liberal ideas about politics? Sir Adam’s main teaching and research interests are in the fields of international security,international organisations, and international law (including the laws of war). He is Emeritus Professor of International relations at Oxford University, and Past President of the British Academy.

June 6: Human rights post-Brexit: Armageddon, or business as usual?

Prof. Alison Young

Alison Young is a Professor of Public Law at the University of Oxford, and also a Fellow of Hertford College. She teaches Constitutional, Administrative, Comparative Public, and Media Law. She looks at human rights protections in the UK, and has written Parliamentary Sovereignty and the Human Rights Act (Hart, 2009) and Democratic Dialogue and the Constitution (OUP, 2017).

June 20 (till 3 pm: our Midsummer Party, with food, at the Friends’ Meeting House, 43 St Giles) Just War Revisited
Prof. Cécile Fabre

Western liberal democracies are increasingly confronted by terrorist organisations and by so called Œlone wolves who claim to act on their behalf. Can just war theory, which was developed and consolidated in an era of conventional warfare, deal with this phenomenon? Are terrorists to be seen as soldiers, or as criminals? Does it make a difference to what we are morally permitted and obliged to do, when fighting them? Cécile Fabre is Senior Research Fellow in Politics at All Souls College, and specialises in political and moral philosophy She is the author of several books, including two monographs on the ethics of war and peace. She is currently working on the ethics of economic statecraft, and of intelligence gathering.

February 7: The Role of the International Community in Syria
Jon Bennett

Jon Bennett has 38 years experience in international aid, including a senior UN post as part of the peace agreement team in Sudan 2004-2006. He has recently led an independent evaluation of the UK Government's support for local councils in opposition-held areas of Syria, and here explores the pros and cons of a remotely managed programme that attempts to bring a degree of normality to the long crisis.

February 21:China Rising: China’s new role in global politics and why it will matter for the West in the era of Trump and Brexit
Professor Rana Mitta

Beijing’s policies continue to dominate the news in the Asia-Pacific region. Will China and Japan confront each other in the seas of East Asia? Will China be able to smooth tensions with the neighbours? What will the rise of China mean for a post-Brexit Britain and the US under Trump? Rana Mitter is Deutsche Bank Director of the University China Centre at the University of Oxford, where he is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China. He is the author of several books, and a regular presenter of the arts and ideas programme Free Thinking on BBC Radio 3.

March 28:The Just War Revisited

Professor Cécile Fabre

Western liberal democracies are increasingly confronted by terrorist organisations and by so-called Œlone wolves who claim to act on their behalf. Can just war theory, which was developed and consolidated in an era of conventional warfare, deal with this phenomenon? Are terrorists to be seen as soldiers, or as criminals? Does it make a difference to what we are morally permitted and obliged to do, when fighting them? Cecile Fabre is Senior Research Fellow in Politics at All Souls College, and specialises in political and moral philosophy She is the author of several books, including two monographs on the ethics of war and peace. She is currently working on two research projects - a book on the ethics of economic statecraft, and a study of the ethics of intelligence gathering.

Tuesday, October 4: The Chilcot Report: The unbelievable lightness of truth

Sir Ivor Roberts

Sir Ivor Roberts is President of Trinity College, Oxford, and formerly British ambassador to Yugoslavia, Ireland, and Italy.

Tuesday, November 1, Oxford Town Hall: Evan Luard Lecture: Nuclear Fusion
Prof. Steven Cowley, FRS

Professor Cowley, President-Elect of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, was appointed CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority in 2009; his research interests are in plasmas and nuclear fusion. In theory, nuclear fusion promises a virtually inexhaustible source of renewable power, free from the atomic waste which has plagued the conventional nuclear fission industry.

Tuesday, November 29: The United Nations and the Fight For Freedom
Marcus Ferrar

Marcus Ferrar is a former Reuters correspondent and author of a new book on
freedom, as well as works on Germany and Eastern Europe.

Our themes and speakers in 2016...

Tuesday, February 2:Both Joyful and Troubling: Reflections on the Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ of Pope Francis, and the Paris Climate Change Agreement 2015
Fr Oswald McBride, OSB

Fr McBride trained and worked as a medical doctor before joining the monastic community at Ampleforth in 1991. Currently he works as the Vocations Coordinator for Ampleforth Abbey, and is Prior of the Benedictine community at St Benet’s Hall. Oxford.


Tuesday, February 16: Nuclear Disarmament – A Will o’ the Wisp?: A film and discussion

The UN ‘Towards Zero’ programme seeks to strenthen support for the international non-proliferation regime and encourages multilateral nuclear disarmament. It aims at zones free of nuclear weapons, the reduction of nuclear arsenals worldwide and the implementation of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty. But will this policy ever be effective?

Tuesday, April 19: The refugee crisis: Principles and practicalities

Edward Mortimer, Guy Goodwin-Gill, and Kate Smart


Edward Mortimer is a Distinguished Fellow of All Souls College.  From 1998 to 2006 he was Chief Speechwriter (and later also Director of Communications) for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill, an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls, is an international lawyer, currently working on the legal aspects of refugee flows, migration, and forced migration in particular.

Kate Smart is Director of the Oxford-based organisation Asylum Welcome, and you may have seen her on television.

Tuesday, May 17: In or Out? What are the likely consequences of our vote on 23 June?

Jonathan Scheele

Jonathan Scheele served as a European Commission official from 1974 until 2012; his last posting before retirement was as Head of the European Commission’s Representation in the UK.  He is now a Senior Member of St Antony’s College, Oxford.

Saturday, June 25:The Referendum - What Now?

UNA Oxford's annual Summer Garden Party

open to all, and a chance to reflect on the result of the June 23 Referendum on the United Kingdom's continued membership of the European Union.

This year the garden party will take place at the St Theosevia Centre, 2 Canterbury Road, Oxford OX2 6LU (off Banbury Road, opposite Park Town), by kind permission of the Director, the Rev. Dr Liz Carmichael. You are asked to give £5 (£3 for students) towards the use of St Theosevia's, but refreshments are free.

If the vote on June 23 is for 'Leave', what steps have to be taken before the UK ceases to be a member of the European Union? Will Scotland press for another chance to leave the UK and then apply to rejoin the EU?  What happens to the open border between Northern Ireland the Irish Republic?

If the vote is to 'Remain', what steps can be taken to reform the European Union which would satisfy unease in our own and other countries over issues such as migration? 

Do you think that the debate was fair and helpful, or did it lead to exaggeration, misunderstanding, and scaremongering? Members might like to bring along examples of material they found objectionable.

This was our programme in 2015

Tuesday 10 February:When history is sensitive
Marcus Ferrar, former Reuters correspondent

Marcus Ferrar talks about peoples who have to cope with troubled recent histories, taking the examples of Germany, Hungary and Slovenia. He is the author of three books on Germany and Eastern Europe, combining personal interviews with documented events.

Tuesday, February 24:The idea of peace in a New Age of wars
John Gittings, researcher on the history and philosophy of peace

John Gitting helped to edit the Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace (2010), and has written The Glorious Art of Peace: From the Iliad to Iraq (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Tuesday, March 24:Population matters
John Miles and Hilde Bartlett

The speakers are members of the Guildford branch of Population Matters.  They will outline the stresses and strains which ever increasing human population numbers are putting on an already unsustainable planet.

Tuesday, May 5:Sweating it out: How the clothing giants use child labour
Nick Fielding

Journalist and author Nick Fielding describes his experiences uncovering child labour in India and Bangladesh and the efforts big clothing companies went to in order to cover up their abuses. Mr Fielding is a former Sunday Times reporter and chief investigative reporter for the Mail on Sunday and has also worked for The Independent.

Thursday, June 4:The resurgence of authoritarianism in Sisi's Egypt
Prof. Walter Armbrust

Walter Armbrust is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford. He was living in Cairo from August 2010 to August 2012, and was therefore able to observe and experience the January 25 Revolution from close range. He is currently nearing completion of A Symbolic Revolution: Culture and Politics in Post-Mubarak Egypt.

Saturday, July 11, 3pm (Midsummer Party*)
Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles

Science, stories, and indigenous wisdom
Prof. Joy Hendry


Social anthropologist Joy Hendry is Professor Emerita of Oxford Brookes University and gathered a wealth of materials during visits to Australia, which allowed her to discover how limited our Western understanding of science actually is.*Admission £5, students £3. Refreshments free of charge.

Tuesday, 6 October:Bigotry and Human Rights: Antisemitism, Islamophobia and the Ethics of Respect
Brian Klug




Brian Klug is Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford, and a member of the faculty of philosophy here. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations. In October he will also give a keynote speech at the European Commission's first Colloquium on Fundamental Rights, which is on antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe.

Tuesday, October 14:Can Jews and Palestinians Co-Exist?
Anne Clayton

What hope is there left, particularly after what has happened in Gaza? After living in Jerusalem for nearly six years, Anne Clayton currently coordinates the work of Sabeel UK, an Oxford-based charity which carries out advocacy and education, seeking a more accurate international awareness of the suffering of Palestinian Christians.

Friday, October 26: Slavery Isn't Dead!
Catherine Bearder, Member of the European Parliament for the South East of England

'No one shall be held in slavery or servitude: Slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited.' Are we delivering on Article 4 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights? Catherine Bearder is one of our Vice-Presidents. During her time in the European Parliament she has been committed to fighting against, and raising awareness of the disgrace of human trafficking, the modern-day slave trade.

Tuesday, 3 November:
A United Nations fit for purpose? The challenges facing the UN as it turns 70
Sam Daws
2015 Evan Luard Lecture, at the Town Hall, St Aldates

Sam Daws has worked for or with the UN for over 25 years. He served as First Officer to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and then spent six years as the Executive Director of UNA-UK. He has since worked for the British Government in UN-related roles in both the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Office. He has co-authored six books on the UN, including The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations, and currently directs a research project on UN Governance and Reform at Oxford University.

Tuesday, 17 November: 
What's going on in Russia? The views and values of ordinary Russians
Karen Hewitt

Karen Hewitt teaches literature at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. For the last twenty-five years she has also been teaching in universities all over Russia, explaining Britain and English Literature to Russians. In this talk she hopes to explain something of Russian views to the British.

These were the issues on our programme in 2014

February 11: Conflict and climate change

How changes in climate and extreme weather events make it increasingly difficult to maintain peace and stability across the world. A discussion followed this DVD produced by the Movement for the Abolition of War.

March 11:
The intoxication of power and the role of the United Nations
Alison Boulton, freelance journalist and Oxford Times columnist

Heads of state are often tempted to act unilaterally and use military force to remedy a situation; the results may be disastrous. Can the UN, supported by public opinion, ensure that international law is respected and a peaceful solution found where possible?

March 25:
Freedom of Religion
Neville Shepherd, a member of the United Nations Association Oxford branch

Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion is number 18 in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. How far is it warranted, and how far is it observed? What problems arise in its application?

April 29:
Strong Leaders, Smart Leaders, and Foreign Policy
Prof. Archie Brown

After teaching for thirty-four years at St Antony's College, Archie Brown became Emeritus Professor of Politics at Oxford University and an Emeritus Fellow of St Antony's from 1 October 2005. He continues to pursue an active programme of research and writing. Professor Brown was University Lecturer in Soviet Institutions from 1971 until 1989, and from 1989 to 2005 Professor of Politics. He was Sub-Warden of St Antony's College, 1995-97, and Director of the Russian and East European Centre (as it was then called), 1991-94 and 1998-2001. He was Director of Graduate Studies in Politics for the University from 2001 to 2003.

May 13: Rainbow Nation: South Africa following its National Peace Accord - The untold story of the transition year, 1990 to 1994. What lessons for South Africa's present?
The Revd Dr Liz Carmichael

Dr Carmichael is an Emeritrus Research Fellow at St John's College, Oxford, having been Chaplain and Tutor in Theology. She worked in South Africa as a doctor in Soweto from 1975 to 1981, and as a priest in the 1990s. She is currently researching on the National Peace Accord (1991) and the work of its peace structures. Dr Carmichael is co-convenor of the Oxford Network of Peace Studies (OxPeace) in the International Studies Centre of Oxford University, a multidisciplinary initiative for the academic study of peace, peacemaking, peacebuilding, and peacekeeping.

Midsummer Party, Saturday, June 21, 3pm, Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles:*      UNICEF responding to emergencies: Six decades of innovation and practice
Dr Angela Raven-Roberts

Dr Raven-Roberts has many years' experience of working in the humanitarian field as a teacher, researcher, field director, and practitioner. She has worked for numerous NGOs and UN-based organisations, including UNICEF Geneva where she was the Regional Emergencies Advisor for Central and Eastern Europe.

Tuesday, November 4 (in the Town Hall): The Evan Luard Lecture, 2014, North Korea
Dr James Hoare

Jim Hoare was appointed UK charge d'affaires in Pyongyang in 2000 and is now Honorary Research Associate in the School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London and Associate Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Friday, November 28: Divided Nations: Why global governance is failing, and what can we do about it?
This lecture was given at the Oxford Martin School
Prof. Ian Goldin

Ian Goldin is Professor of Globalisation and Development and Director of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford and a former Vice-President of the World Bank (2003-2006) and prior to that the bank's Director of Development Policy (2001-2003). He is also a former adviser to President Nelson Mandela.
The Oxford Martin School is an interdisciplinary research community addressing global challenges and opportunities.
Prof. Goldin has published more than 50 articles and 17 books on issues related to trade, agriculture, development, migration, governance and economic reform.
From 1996-2001 he was Chief Executive and Managing Director of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, at which time he was also economic advisor to President Mandela. Previously, he was Principal Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London, and Program Director at the OECD Development Centre in Paris, where he directed the Programs on Trade, Environment and Sustainable Development.
He has a Doctorate and MA from the University of Oxford, MSc from the London School of Economics and BSc and BA(Hons) from the University of Cape Town.
Professor Goldin has received wide recognition for his contributions to development and research, including having been knighted by the French Government and nominated Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum.