As part of our online activity, St George’s House is hosting a series, In Conversation, with people distinguished in their field of activity. We hope that these Conversations will give viewers and listeners an opportunity to learn a little more about the people involved and the issues with which they are engaged. Each conversation lasts for forty-five minutes. You can enjoy them below.
Lord Butler of Brockwell
Thursday, 6th January 7pm-7.45pm
Robin Butler, Lord Butler of Brockwell, is one of our most distinguished public servants. His life at the heart of government began when he joined the Civil Service in 1961. Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister. Lord Butler went on to observe at first-hand the Thatcher revolution between 1983 and 1990, and he retired from Whitehall soon after New Labour came to power in 1997.
During a remarkable career, he served as Private Secretary to Edward Heath, Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher and as Cabinet Secretary under Mrs Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair. He has had a ringside seat at some of the most significant moments in British political history over four decades and was famously, of course, chairman of the 2004 inquiry into Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
After leaving the Civil Service, Lord Butler has held numerous positions, not least as Master of University College, Oxford from 1998-2008. His interest in politics and the machinery of politics remains undimmed. He was announced as a life peer in 1998 and raised to the peerage as Baron Butler of Brockwell, of Herne Hill in the London Borough of Lambeth. Lord Butler sits as a cross-bencher in the House of Lords.
Thursday, 28th October 7pm-7.45pm
Since 2016, British politics has witnessed a barrage of crises, resignations and general elections. As Brexit became log jammed, Theresa May’s premiership was perhaps the most turbulent of all. Following the disastrous 2017 election, she turned to Gavin Barwell to restore her battered authority. He would become her Chief of Staff for a period punctuated by strained negotiations, domestic tragedy, and immense political drama.
Gavin Barwell was MP for Croydon Central from 2010 until he lost his seat in the 2017 election. Chief of Staff at No 10 for two years, he now sits in the House of Lords. His book, Chief of Staff, has just been published. It offers a riveting view of British, European and global politics that will effect the UK for generations to come. From deals with the DUP to the white knuckle ride of Brexit negotiations; from dealing with Trump to the machinations of Mrs May’s own ministers, this is the ultimate insider’s view of life at the heart of government.
General Sir Peter Wall
Thursday, 16th September 7pm-7.45pm
St George’s House has hosted a number of Consultations on how military veterans fare re-entering society after service. General Sir Peter Wall, President of Combat Stress, champions work around veterans and mental health. A veteran himself, with a distinguished service record, our conversation covered his military career, his work on behalf of veterans, and his views on the UK’s military role in this 21st century.
Peter Wall retired from the British Army after a career spanning 40 years. He joined the Royal Engineers from Sandhurst Military Academy in 1974 and read Engineering at the University of Cambridge. He finished his military career as the Army’s Chief from 2010 to 2014. He has served all over the world, including operational command tours in Rhodesia, the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Peter is now Director of Amicus, an advisory business which specialises in imparting military and commercial leadership expertise, with emphasis on strategic planning and execution, leadership development, and organisational health.
Peter is a director of General Dynamics, the US defence and aerospace corporation, and President of Combat Stress, the military veterans’ mental health charity.
Sue Pritchard and Professor Tim Lang
Thursday, 29th July 7pm-7.45pm
The Future of Food – Health, climate change, farming, global trade deals, Brexit and publication of the National Food Strategy all have significant implications for the future of the food we eat, the future of farming and the future of the countryside. Join Sue Pritchard of the Food Farming and Countryside Commission and food policy guru Professor Tim Lang who will discuss the future of food in the latest of our St George’s House: In Conversation series.
Sue is the Chief Executive of Food, Farming and Countryside Commission and is focused on leading the organisation in its mission to bring people together to find radical and practical ways to transform our food system and improve our climate, nature, health and economy. Sue brings extensive experience working with leaders in businesses, governments and enterprises, blending the academic and the practical for sustainable systems change. Sue lives with her family on an organic, permaculture, livestock farm in Wales, which accounts for pretty much all of her time outside of FFCC, and is a grounding reminder of the gritty realities of turning ideas into workable actions.
Tim has been Professor of Food Policy at City University London’s Centre for Food Policy since 2002. He founded the Centre in 1994. After a PhD in social psychology at Leeds University, he became a hill farmer in the 1970s in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire which shifted his attention to food policy, where it has been ever since. For years, he’s engaged in academic and public research and debate about its direction, locally to globally. His abiding interest is how policy addresses the mixed challenge of being food for the environment, health, social justice, and citizens. What is a good food system? How is ours measured and measuring up? His current research interests are (a) sustainable diets, (b) the meaning of modern food security and (c) the implications of Brexit for the food system.
Baroness Falkner of Margravine
Thursday, 1st July 7pm-7.45pm
Kishwer Falkner is Chair of the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission. She also serves as a Member of the House of Lords where she is a Cross Bench member and is a regulator at the Bank of England on it’s Enforcement Decision Making Committee. In the Lords, she took the Liberal Democrat whip from 2004-2019, leading on foreign affairs and serving on several parliamentary committees including Chairing the EU Sub-Committee on Financial Affairs, and as a Member of the EU Select Committee, Constitution Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights; and the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy.
Kishwer was formerly Policy Director at the Liberal Democrats; a senior political researcher at the Commonwealth Secretariat, and has held Fellowships at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford (2010), at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2006), as a distinguished fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and at the Institute of Politics, King’s College, London. Kishwer’s academic background is in International Relations, obtaining degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Kent.
Philippe Sands, QC
Thursday, 13th May 6.30pm-7.15pm
Philippe Sands QC is Professor of Law at University College London and a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers. He appears as counsel before international courts and tribunals, and sits as an international arbitrator.
He is author of Lawless World (2005) and Torture Team (2008) and numerous academic books on international law, and has contributed to the New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, the Financial Times, The Guardian and the New York Times.
His latest books are East West Street: On the Origins of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide (2016) (awarded the 2016 Baillie Gifford Prize, the 2017 British Book Awards Non-Fiction Book of the Year, and the 2018 Prix Montaigne) and The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive (2020), also available as a BBC podcast.
Philippe is President of English PEN and a member of the Board of the Hay Festival of Arts and Literature.
Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia
Jayne-Anne is the Founder and Executive Chair of Snoop, Chair of HMRC and Non-Executive Chair of Goldacre. From 2007 to 2018 she was the CEO of Virgin Money.
A Chartered Accountant, she spent six years at Norwich Union (now Aviva) before becoming one of the founders of Virgin Direct in 1995. Three years later, she set up the Virgin One account, which was acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2001. She subsequently spent five years at RBS before returning to Virgin as CEO of Virgin Money.
In November 2016 she was appointed as the UK Government’s Women in Finance Champion, and in July 2017 she became a founder member of its Business Diversity and Inclusion Group. In 2018 she was named Leader of the Year at the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards.
She is Chair of the Prince’s Foundation and Senior Independent Director of the Tate. She sits on the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Council, Mayor of London’s Business Advisory Board, CRUK Corporate Board, Financial Inclusion Policy Forum, Lloyds Culture Advisory Group and Salesforce Advisory Board.
She was made a Dame in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list.
Professor Sir David Omand, GCB
Sir David Omand GCB is Visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, PSIA Sciences Po in Paris and the Norwegian Defence University in Oslo. His posts in British government service included UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator in the Cabinet Office after 9/11, Permanent Secretary of the Home Office, Director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Deputy Under-Secretary of State for Policy in the Ministry of Defence, Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Defence and Defence Counsellor in the UK Delegation to NATO Brussels. He served for seven years on the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC).
He has published three books, Securing the State (London: Hurst 2010) and (with Prof Mark Phythian) Principled Spying: the Ethics of Secret Intelligence (Oxford 2018). His latest book How Spies Think: 10 Lessons from Intelligence was published by Penguin Viking in October 2020.
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, KCMG
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart KCMG is a leading British businessman. Born in Antigua where he began his early education, Sir Mark then went to school in Shropshire where his interest in geology began. A degree from Cambridge followed by a PhD was prelude to the life of a travelling exploration geologist. He worked in Franco’s Spain, in Oman, Brunei, Australia, Nigeria, Turkey, Malaysia, and even the North Sea before taking up senior management roles in a range of companies. These senior roles with Shell included Exploration and Production Coordinator and Group Managing Director in the early 90s. In 1998 Sir Mark became Chairman of the Shell Group, a position he held until 2001, remaining on the board until 2005. He was non-executive chairman of Anglo American from 2001–2009 and serves on the board of Saudi Aramco. He also served on the Board of St George’s House.
In 2014, Sir Mark published his book, Responsible Leadership – Lessons from the Front Line of Sustainability and Ethics, in 2014. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote that the book ‘reminds us of the urgent need for responsible corporate leadership’ while former President of Ireland Mary Robinson called it, ‘an insightful book…highly relevant to the twin challenges of a post-2015 sustainable development agenda and a robust climate agreement.
David Nabarro and Fiona Godlee
Climate change has been recognised by the World Health Organisation and by the major UK professional health bodies as “the defining health challenge of our time”, which poses a dangerous and immediate threat to the health of populations in the UK and worldwide. The combined climate and nature loss crises are drivers of zoonotic diseases and disease transmission, which in combination has created a Planetary Emergency, now exacerbated by the Covid-19 global pandemic. This has emphasised the need to make a clear link in the minds of Governments and their publics around the world between human health and planetary breakdown. Furthermore, the essential measures needed to improve planetary health will also improve human health.
In September, St George’s House hosted an online consultation on the theme of Health and Climate Change, which was held in partnership with a project for Collaborative Action on Climate and Health (CATCH) and supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch). Introduced by our Programme Director, St George’s House: In Conversation builds on this consultation and brings together David Nabarro who will be interviewed by Fiona Godlee, Editor of the British Medical Journal.
David Nabarro is the Co-Director of the Imperial College Institute of Global Health Innovation at the Imperial College London and supports systems leadership for sustainable development through his Switzerland based social enterprise 4SD. From March 2020, David was appointed Special Envoy of WHO Director General on COVID-19. He secured his medical qualification in 1974 and has worked in over 50 countries – in communities and hospitals, governments, civil society, universities, and in United Nations (UN) programs.
David worked for the British government in the 1990s as head of Health and Population and director for Human Development in the UK Department for International Development. From 1999 to 2017 he held leadership roles in the UN system on disease outbreaks and health issues, food insecurity and nutrition, climate change and sustainable development. In October 2018, David received the World Food Prize together with Lawrence Haddad for their leadership in raising the profile and building coalitions for action for better nutrition across the Sustainable Development Goals.
Fiona Godlee is the Editor in Chief of The BMJ. She qualified as a doctor in 1985, trained as a general physician in Cambridge and London, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. She has written and lectured on a broad range of issues, including health and the environment. Among other positions, Fiona is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners, a senior visiting fellow at the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge, honorary fellow of the Faculty of Public Health and a by-fellow of King’s College Cambridge. She is on numerous advisory or executive boards, including the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and the Climate and Health Council.
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, MBE – Writer and Broadcaster
Rabbi, writer and broadcaster, Jonathan Romain is minister of Maidenhead Synagogue in Berkshire. He writes for The Times and The Jewish Chronicle and is often heard on the BBC. His many books include The Jews of England and Faith and Practice: A Guide to Reform Judaism Today.
In 2004, he received the MBE for his pioneering work nationally in helping mixed-faith couples, a theme covered in his book Till Faith Us Do Part (HarperCollins). He is chaplain to the Jewish Police Association, and in 1999 was part of a small group of British Jews invited to an audience with Pope John Paul II. He is also President of the Accord Coalition (which campaigns for inclusive education) and Vice-chair of Dignity in Dying (which campaigns to permit assisted dying in the UK)).
For several years he was a judge for both The Times Preacher of the Year Award and the BBC’s Frank Gillard Awards, and was a member of the BBC’s Standing Conference on Religion and Belief (2009-12). He is a past Chairman of the Assembly of Rabbis UK (2007-9) and is on the Council of St. George’s House, Windsor Castle. His last two books, Confessions of a Rabbi (Biteback) and Inclusive Judaism (Jessica Kingsley) have had wide coverage in the media.
Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
Equipped with little more than a notebook, binoculars, and a fascination with wildlife, Jane Goodall braved a realm of unknowns to give the world a remarkable window into humankind’s closest living relatives the wild chimpanzees of Gombe, western Tanzania.. Through more than 60 years of groundbreaking work, Dr. Jane Goodall has not only shown us the urgent need to protect chimpanzees from extinction; she has also redefined species conservation to include the needs of local people and the environment. Today she works to raise awareness about environmental crises, urging each of us to take positive action on behalf of all living things and planet we share. Through her global humanitarian and environmental programme Roots & Shoots now active in more than 65 countries, young people of all ages are empowered to become involved in hands-on programmes for the community, animals and the environment. www.janegoodall.org.uk www.rootsnshoots.org.uk
Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Internationally renowned virologist Professor Peter Piot is Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is also a Special Advisor to the President of the European Commission on research and innovation for COVID-19. Described once as a rock star virologist, in 1976 he co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire while working at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and led research on HIV/AIDS, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. He has received many awards in recognition of his work and in 2012 published an autobiography, No Time to Lose, which was translated into numerous languages. Earlier this year Professor Piot contracted Covid-19 from which he is now thankfully recovered.
In conversation with our Programme Director, Professor Piot will talk about his life and work.