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William Hague attends Oxford Royale debate


Guest Speakers

From poets and politicians, to investors and innovators

At Oxford Royale, we offer our students fantastic opportunities to attend talks from world-renowned guest speakers. We are unique among summer schools in offering this opportunity and believe it really benefits our students, allowing them to develop both their confidence, and their analytical skills through open engagement with leading figures from the worlds of culture, media, sport and academia.

Each of our expert speakers presents on their leading topic before fielding questions from our student audience. We carefully tailor our guest lecture programme to ensure that our students attend 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 summer courses.

Oxford Royale Great Debate Speakers 2023

This year, we are excited to be joined by Helen Sharman, Marcus du Sautoy and Kriti Sharma.

Sheldonian Theatre: The Oxford Royale Great Debate

Sheldonian Theatre

The Great Debate is held in the Sheldonian Theatre, a spectacular venue in the heart of Oxford. This is where Oxford students matriculate and graduate, so our students attending the debate will have the chance to experience the magic of the theatre for themselves.

Helen Sharman, speaker for the Oxford Royale Great Debate

Helen Sharman

Helen Sharman OBE was the first British Astronaut ever go into space, joining the MIR Space Station in 1991. She is a superb speaker, and enthuses her audience about Space, STEM and the wonders of science. As a pioneer in her industry, she is a role model and inspiration for young people.

Marcus DuSautoy, speaker for the Oxford Royale Great Debate

Marcus du Sautoy

Marcus du Sautoy is one of the UK’s leading scientists and the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. He has written many books on mathematics, AI and science. His fascinating speaking topics include The Secret of the Winning Streak: The Story of Maths and Why Beckham Chose the 23 Shirt.

Kriti Sharma, Oxford Royale Great Debate speaker 2023

Kriti Sharma

Kriti Sharma is an Artificial Intelligence expert and a leading global voice on ethical technology, currently leading chatbot projects for various social causes, from productivity to inequality. Kriti was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 for advancements in AI, and was also invited as a Civic Leader to the Obama Foundation Summit for her work in ethical technology.

Previous Guest Speakers

Listed below are just a few of the guest speakers who have previously delivered talks, debates, and discussions to our students:

David Olusoga

David Olusoga is a British-Nigerian historian, broadcaster, and filmmaker who has made TV series including Empire and the BAFTA winning show Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners. His award -winning book Black & British: A Forgotten History was also made into a major BBC TV series.

Oxford Royale Summer School Guest Speakers 2022

Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is described as the world’s greatest living explorer. His most ambitious adventure was the Transglobe Expedition,travelling over 100,000 miles. He was the first to cross the Antarctic continent on foot, and was the oldest British person to climb Mount Everest.

Oxford Royale Summer School Brochures

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti is a lawyer and a member of the British House of Lords who served as director of the human rights group Liberty, campaigning against “excessive” anti-terror legislation. A frequent public speaker, she has been described as “the most effective public affairs lobbyist of the past 20 years”.

Oxford Royale Summer School Guest Speakers 2022

Eliza Manningham-Buller

Eliza Manningham-Buller is the former Director General of MI5, the British Intelligence Agency. During her career she dealt with the aftermath of 9/11 and the threat of terrorism, and later became Chair of the Welcome Trust, one of the world’s largest charitable organisations for medical research.

Oxford Royale Summer School Guest Speakers 2022

Professor Richard Dawkins

Professor Richard Dawkins is a British evolutionary biologist and internationally bestselling author. He studied zoology at Balliol College, Oxford, and returned as a Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995-2008. His books are internationally acclaimed, and he is one of the patrons of the Oxford University Scientific Society.

Oxford Royale Summer School Guest Speakers 2022

Baroness Susan Greenfield

Baroness Susan Greenfield is a renowned neuroscientist, researcher and member of the House of Lords whose work has made significant contributions to the understanding of the brain. She is also an author, broadcaster, Visiting Professor at Lincoln College, Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Oxford Royale Summer School Guest Speakers 2022

Jason Bradbury

Jason Bradbury is a British television presenter and children’s author, well-known for presenting the Channel 5 series The Gadget Show.. Some of his own DIY gadgets include the first ‘phone glove’, a vehicle Head-Up Display, and a hovercraft made from only a car wheel and an industrial sized fan.

Oxford Royale Summer School Guest Speakers 2022

Lord William Hague of Richmond

William Hague MP served as Leader of the Conservative Party, Leader of the House of Commons, and First Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. He has also authored award winning biographies. Mr Hague studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was President of the Oxford Union.

Tom Toumazis

Tom Toumazis is a business leader and philanthropist. He is the Chairman and founder of the ChildLine board, and the former Deputy Managing Director of ITV, where he helped to establish the channel’s reputation for high-quality programming. He is also a director of several other media companies and a member of the board of several charitable organizations. He has also been awarded an OBE for his services to broadcasting and charity.

Dr Julian Baggini

Dr Julian Baggini is a renowned philosopher, journalist, and author. He is the Co-founder of The Philosophers’ Magazine and a regular contributor to several newspapers and magazines. He has written over 20 books, including “The Ego Trick,” “The Ethics Toolkit,” and “The Philosophy Gym.” He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He gives talks and lectures on philosophy, ethics, and critical thinking around the world.

Oxford Royale Summer School Guest Speakers 2022

Sir Andrew Motion

Andrew Motion is an English poet, novelist, and biographer who held the title of Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009. During his laureateship Motion founded the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and recordings of poets reading their own works. His own work includes the Dylan Thomas Award winning collection Natural Causes.

Professor Ben Ambridge

Professor Ben Ambridge is a researcher at Liverpool University, specialising in child language acquisition. He is an expert in the field of developmental psychology and has published numerous articles and books on the topic. He is also an official TED speaker, giving talks on child language development and how it shapes our thoughts and beliefs. He is a fellow of the British Psychological Society and a recipient of several awards for his research in developmental psychology.

Guest Speaker FAQ's

Are there different speakers for different age groups?

Students in different age groups will enjoy different guest speaker events during their summer courses:

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 plenty of opportunity for students to ask questions and take part in activities.

Students aged 16-18

The Great Debate

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, 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 for 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.

What is The Great Debate?

The Great Debate is a debate event hosted in Oxford by one of our guest speakers, on a specific topic or theme related to current affairs or a broader academic field.

The inaugural Great Debate for our Oxford campuses was 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, including David Olusoga, Ranulph Fiennes and Helen Sharman.