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Thought-provoking themes in our Global Lecture Series

 Globe and binoculars
At Durham, we have a strong tradition of hosting eminent and inspiring speakers with global impact. Through our Global Lecture Series, we encourage discussion and debate on an international platform to appeal to our global community of academics, alumni and supporters. The first of these thought-provoking lectures took place in London in 2019, where we were honoured to welcome Baroness Hale of Richmond to deliver a lecture on ‘The Supreme Court at 10 years old’. This was followed soon after by a complex exploration of ‘Can politics be moral?’ delivered by Dr Rowan Williams.  

The series was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic but resumed with a second series online in 2020-21, based around the topical theme of ‘How have the events of 2020 impacted on the world as we know it, and what does it mean for the future?’.  
The third series, a combination of online and in person events themed around ‘Extinction and Survival’ has recently featured a lecture from Reverend Professor David Wilkinson, discussing the interplay between religious belief and science in modern society.  
The 2023-2024 series is currently in progress.

Series 1; 2019-2020 

Delivered in person in London, the series themed around the infrastructure of our political and judiciary system was interrupted after the first two successful lectures by the pandemic in late 2019. 


‘The Supreme Court at 10 years old’ (October 2019) 
Baroness Hale of Richmond, former President of the UK Supreme Court.  

‘Can politics be moral?’ (November 2019)    
Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge and previously Archbishop of Canterbury.  

Series 2; 2020-2021 

A series of lectures held online under Covid guidelines based on the theme ‘How have the events of 2020 impacted on the world as we know it, and what does it mean for the future?’  


Covid 19: An equinox for News (online November 2020)  
John Ryley, Head of Sky News 
Watch the event recording                               

‘Inequality - why we should all care’ (online November 2020)   
Dr Wanda Wyporska, CEO Equality Trust.  
Watch the event recording 

‘International Security Challenges' (online February 2021)   
Dr Michael Ruhle, NATO International Staff, Brussels.  
Watch the event recording 


Series 3; 2022-2023  

A combination of online, in person and hybrid lectures based on the theme ‘Extinction and Survival.’ 

‘Extinction and survival in the history of animal life: Lessons from deep time’ (online January 2022) 
Professor David Harper, Emeritus Professor of Palaeontology, Durham University. 

 ‘Cosmic Extinction – The Far Future of the Universe’ (hybrid June 2022) 
Professor Carlos Frenk, Founder and former director of Durham University Institute for Computational Cosmology. 

‘The Fate Of Communities – What Happened When the Coal Mines Closed’ (online June 2022) 
Professor Ray Hudson, Emeritus Professor, Geography, Durham University.

VC talking to David Wilkinson‘Extinction and survival of Religious Belief in a Science Dominated World’ (hybrid February 2023) 
Reverend Professor David Wilkinson, Department of Theology and Religion and Principal of St John’s College, Durham University. 
Watch the event recording

'Urban infrastructure, climate change, disaster and risk: lessons from the past for the future' (Hybrid May 2023)
Professor Robin Coningham FSA FRAS, UNESCO Chair in Archaeological Ethics and Practice in Cultural Heritage, Durham University.


Series 4; 2023-2024 

A combination of online, in person and hybrid lectures


'Sustainable and resilient food production in a changed climate' (in person November 2023)
Professor Ari Sadanandom, Department of Biosciences, Durham University.


Next event: In conversation with Dr Fiona Hill, Washington DC, USA - Tuesday 28 May