Mark Cutts (February 2023)

The 2023 Global Awareness Lecture was organised by a group of Block 5 Global Awareness students as part of their collaborative BAC project.

Mark spoke on whether the United Nations (UN) is fit for purpose in the 21st century. Mark has over 30 years experience leading humanitarian missions across the world, in some of the most dangerous and devastating conflicts. Mark spoke passionately about the human cost of conflict and how the world has changed with civilians now being the intended targets in war and the impacts of this. Mark was circumspect about the things that the UN has got right, including establishing many instruments of international law, peacekeeping missions and the overall principle of bringing nations together to form an organisation dedicated to global governance.

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Benny Wenda (December 2021)

The 2021 Global Awareness Lecture was hosted by Benny Wenda, a West Papuan independence leader and Chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. Benny is an international lobbyist for the independence of West Papua from Indonesia. 

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Jo Berry and Patrick Magee (November 2019)

The Global Awareness Lecture 2019 was hosted by Jo Berry and Patrick Magee.

Read more about Jo and Patrick's work, Building Bridges for Peace, here.

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Kate Adie (November 2018)

The Global Awareness Lecture 2018 was hosted by Kate Adie.

From an accidental foray into local journalism to a 14-year stint as the BBC’s Chief News Correspondent, Kate talked about her extensive career, which included reporting on a series of kidnaps in Sardinia and being arrested in Belgrade while trying to gather material about General Tito.

Abi Wharton, Head of Global Awareness said: “Kate presented an unequivocal belief in humanity, despite the atrocities she has witnessed throughout her career. This attitude strikes at the core of the ethos of Global Awareness at Bedales - to develop solutions to a vast array of global issues.”

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Gulwali Passarlay (November 2017)

The Global Awareness Lecture 2017 was hosted by Gulwali Passarlay.

An award-winning leader, Gulwali has garnered the Distinguished Achievement Award (Student of the Year), Collaborative Leadership Award, and the Manchester Leadership Gold Award, all from the University of Manchester. Gulwali is also the author of an autobiography: The Lightless Sky: A Twelve-Year-Old Refugee's Harrowing Escape from Afghanistan and His Extraordinary Journey Across Half The World

View Gulwali's talk below.

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Jon Sawyer (November 2016)

On 13 October 2016, Jon Sawyer, Executive Director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting delivered the Global Awareness Lecture. 

Focussing on the role of journalism in promoting in-depth engagement with global issues through innovative reporting and education, Jon Sawyer, veteran foreign correspondent and director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington DC, US, spoke passionately to the audience of students and parents about falling standards and freedom of speech. 

After decades in the field, reporting from around 60 countries, he founded the non-profit Pulitzer Center to support independent reporting from around the world and to work with schools

His work has been honoured by investigative reporters and editors, the Overseas Press Club, the Inter-American Press Association, and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Jon was selected three years in a row for the National Press Club’s prize for best foreign reporting.

View a student discussion with Jon Sawyer here.

Jon Sawyer
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Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty (January 2016)

Fresh from her announcement that she was to step down from human rights campaigning group, Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti visited Bedales to deliver the annual Global Awareness lecture on 27 January 2016. 

Shami who worked as in-house counsel and then director of Liberty, having joined the organisation in 2001, spoke to a packed Quad about her 2014 book, On Liberty, drawing on her work in high-profile campaigns during her time in the organisation. She talked about the “Government rhetoric” on abandoning the Human Rights Act and the “new frontier” of internet regulation and limits on free expression.

Students seized the opportunity to ask questions of the former barrister in a private audience before the talk and afterwards in a question and answer session. Headmaster Keith Budge said that Shami “…gave as fluent, clear and compelling a case for human rights and civil liberties as most of us are likely to hear.”

Read a student's review of the Global Awareness Lecture and view the student discussion here.

Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty (January 2016)
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Professor Lucie Cluver, Oxford University (2015)

The highlight of the Global Awareness year is the annual Global Awareness Lecture. In 2015 this was delivered by Professor Lucie Cluver of Oxford University.

Lucie Cluver

Snakes, gangsters and gunfire: Using science to change AIDS policy in Africa

Dr. Cluver is an Associate Professor in Evidence-Based Social Intervention in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, and an Honorary Lecturer in Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town.

She trained at Cambridge and Oxford (receiving first class honours every step of the way), and then worked as an international social worker in South Africa at the height of the AIDS epidemic. She realised that good research evidence was needed to help governments to deal with HIV/AIDS, and now works closely with the South African government, UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS. Together, they have conducted the world's largest study of children in AIDS-affected families, the first long-term study of AIDS-orphaned children, a multi-country set of studies to prevent child abuse and the first ever community study of HIV+ adolescents and their adherence to lifesaving medication.

Her work has been groundbreaking, and life-changing for young people around the world. 

Read a student's review of the Global Awareness Lecture.

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Dr Shahidul Alam, South Asian Institute of Photography (2013)

In 2013, the Global Awareness Lecture was delivered by Dr Shahidul Alam of Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography.

His theme was 'Humanising The Other'

Shahidul Alam

Dr Shahidul Alam gained his PHD in chemistry but this wasn’t his true passion. It wasn’t until he stumbled upon photography on a chance trip to New York, when he purchased a camera for a friend who never claimed it, that he discovered his life’s calling. His camera became a tool for political activism, using the images he captured in what he considers to be ‘the war against injustice’. He illustrated his talk with a series of very beautiful but partly shocking images, discussing how perspectives in photography change according to the cultural background of the person taking them. Students and budding photographers in the audience were inspired to hear his advice on capturing meaningful photography and his take on what he considers to be ‘the majority world’ and not ‘the developing world’. By Vincent Hasselbach, 6.2

On 9 October 2014 Bedales hosted a conference on Innovative Education as part of its Leading Independent Thinking series.

The keynote speaker was Dr Richard Gerver, who has been described as one of the most inspirational leaders of his generation. He argues that great leadership is about serving the needs of the people that work for you and rely upon you. The three core principles that underpin Richard's philosophy are communication, empowerment and impact. Read more about the conference, and view the highlights film.

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