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At Oxford Royale Academy we offer our students fantastic opportunities to hear talks from world-renowned guest speakers.

We believe that the chance to talk frankly and openly with leading figures from the worlds of culture, media, sport and academia allows our students to develop both their confidence and their analytical skills.

Each of our speakers presents on a topic that they are world experts in before fielding questions from our student audience. We carefully tailor our guest lecture programme to ensure that our students listen to talks that are not only stimulating and informative, but enjoyable too. Our guest lecturers encourage debate and enhance the scholarly atmosphere of all Oxford Royale Academy summer courses.

Student portrait of girl

“The Great Debate between Queen’s College and St Catherine’s was probably my favourite event due to the interesting topic that was discussed and the eager young minds who made it their mission to prove that their arguments were genuine and valuable.”

- Ema, Bosnia and Herzegovina

“One benefit of a programme of this kind is the diversity and the fact that the students came from many different countries. In my opinion, that made discussions and debates more dynamic, as it wasn’t biased and we almost always saw multiple sides to the same story.”

- Danae, Trinidad and Tobago

Student reading from a script outside in the sunshine

I have gained more knowledge, and can therefore make more of an impact on the world. I think that my future goals have become clearer as I have explored options at ORA.

- Nia, Belize

Girl with her graduation scroll

“This is exactly what it means to be a part of a big international family. ORA is a place where everyone cares for you and everyone is ready to help you.”

- Serly, Armenia

Previous Guest Speakers

Below are listed just a few of the previous guest speakers who have delivered talks, debates and discussions to ORA students:


Speaker Name Profile
Professor Richard Dawkins Author and evolutionary biologist
Professor Sophie Marnette Fellow of Balliol College and a specialist in Modern Linguistics and French Medieval Literature
Baroness Susan Greenfield Scientist, researcher and member of the House of Lords
Dr Julian Baggini Philosopher and author
Sir Andrew Motion Former Poet Laureate
Dr Simon Singh Author and mathematician
Baron William Hague of Richmond Former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Tom Fletcher Former UK ambassador to Lebanon
Daniela Papi-Thornton Deputy Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
Baroness Shami Chakrabarti Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales and member of the House of Lords
Professor Ben Ambridge Researcher at Liverpool University, specialising in child language acquisition
Baron Saye and Sele English Peer and businessman
Tom Toumazis MBE Chairman and founder of the ChildLine board and former deputy Managing Director of ITV
Sir Ranulph Fiennes British Explorer


Students aged 13-15

We aim to provide our 13-15 year old students with inspirational and motivational speakers from a variety of academic and entrepreneurial backgrounds. Previous talks have covered topics from The Psychology of Dance and Animal Conservation, to record-breaking adventures and the origins of the universe itself. Sessions are designed to be interactive, with frequent opportunities for students to ask questions and take part in activities.


Students aged 16-18

The Great ORA Debate

2016 witnessed the inaugural Great ORA Debate for our Oxford campuses, held in the iconic Sheldonian Theatre with former Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti (CBE) chairing a debate on Privacy in the Digital Age. Since then, the event has gone from strength to strength, with a number of esteemed speakers joining us in 2017 including William Hague and Tom Fletcher. Small, campus-led debates are hosted throughout the session, with each campus selecting a student representative to take part in the final debate, on stage with one of our notable speakers.

Debates & Discussions

Students in campuses outside of Oxford will have the opportunity for debates and discussions with leading figures in smaller groups than the Great ORA Debate, giving them an opportunity for greater participation and interactivity.


Students aged 19+

During the second week of the programme, the whole campus will come together to hear talks from university lecturers, business leaders and industry experts. These talks will be interdisciplinary in nature allowing students to bring their own subject experience to the discussion and are designed around a theme relevant to the modern world and workplace. In 2017, the afternoon was inspired by the topic of leadership and included speakers covering subjects such as the psychology of leadership and entrepreneurship.


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