Global Choices: Talking Points

Witness inspiring public lectures given by leading artists, diplomats, politicians and campaigners that address some of the most complex and pressing challenges facing the world today and ask questions of people who have been witness to - and, in some cases, participants in major world events.
Blew us away - kids talking about it all the way back to school. Y Pant Comprehensive School


Talking Point Speakers Information
How dangerous is today's World? George Robertson, former Secretary General of NATO 8 November 2017, 1pm-2pm
The new world order - the winners and losers Dyfrig John CBE, former CEO HSBC Autumn 2017, TBA
Technology Ecosystems: Collaboration vs competition Bindi Karia, former Head of Emerging Business, Microsoft Autumn 2017, TBA
Coming in from the cold: A lifetime's experience of Global Warming Sir David Hempleman-Adams OBE, explorer and adventurer TBA
Will China dominate the 21st Century? Jonathan Fenby CBE, award-winning journalist and broadcaster Autumn 2017, TBA
It was a fantastic experience for our learners. Hawthorn High School


George Robertson

How dangerous is today's World?

Speaker: George Robertson, former Secretary General of NATO
Location: Pontypridd Campus, Treforest
Date/Time: 8 November 2017, 1pm-2pm

George Robertson served as the tenth Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (1999-2004). He served as MP for Hamilton South, and, under Tony Blair, served as Secretary of State for Defence. Currently, among other roles, he serves as a Special Adviser to BP and Chairman of BP Russian Investments. A previous Vice-Chairman of the British Council, and past President of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, he is also presently Chairman of the Ditchley Foundation. He was appointed Baron Robertson of Port Ellen in 1999 and, in 2003, as Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. John.

In his lecture to the University of South Wales, he will survey some of the major threats to international security, from energy and cyber security to some of the more conventional contemporary threats, and how the international community, and the UK in particular, should respond. It is a rare opportunity to hear from a politician who has been directly responsible for the management of international security and who remains one of the best-informed experts on international affairs.

Global Choices is led by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and invites leading public figures to speak on some of the biggest challenges we face today. Future speakers this year will include Sir John Major, Jonathan Evans (Head of MI5), Dyfrig John (former-Chief Executive of HSBC) and John Kerr (former-British Ambassador to the EU and the USA and the author of ‘Article 50’). 

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Dyfrig John CBE, Global Choices

The New World Order: Winners and losers

Speaker: Dyfrig John CBE former CEO HSBC
Location: Pontypridd Campus, Treforest
Date/Time: TBA

A number of important developments at home and abroad appear to have caught many commentators on the hop. The UK's impending exit from the EU is, at home, an immediate focus, not least because so much is clouded in uncertainty. The rise of populist leaders in Europe, not least in France, is another such development which appears to have emerged with little advance notice. Arguably the development which, certainly in Europe, was so unexpected by so many was the election of Donald Trump as US President.

Some have said, however, we should have expected this. Changing economic conditions have left sizeable populations in the world's most advanced countries feeling at best marginalised, and at worst that their political leaders must do more to look after the interests of national citizens.

What, then, does the future hold? Should we expect the fortunes of European states and the US to change as a result of the developments we are witnessing now?

We welcome to Treforest a commentator who has a wealth of experience of working in international banking and finance across the world to examine the emerging 'New World Order'. Dyfrig John, former Chief Executive or HSBC, one of the world's largest banks, will examine how the global economy will look in 2030 and, again, in 2050. Who will be the 'winners' and 'losers' of this new world? Will we see the much talked about shift of power to the east, to China and India? Where will we in the UK be placed after we have left the EU to find a new place in the world?

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Mystery Guest

Technology Ecosystems: Collaboration vs competition

Speaker: Bindi Karia, formely Head of Emerging Business Development Microsoft
Location: Pontypridd Campus, Treforest
Date/Time: TBA

From Apple and Google, to Facebook and Intel, 'Silicon Valley' has become synonymous with the U.S. high technology industry and is an environment which governments have sought to reproduce in other countries.

What were the conditions which made this growth possible? What are the challenges for creating a high tech ecosystem in the UK?

Bindi Karia is widely recognised as one of the leading authorities in this field. A former Vice President of the Silicon Valley Bank and Microsoft UK's Emerging Business Lead, she is often referred to as the 'UK Queen of Tech Startups'.

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Lord Ricketts gave a talk entitled ‘War and Terrorism: Lessons from a Government Insider’ as part of the Global Choices; Talking Points series

War and terrorism: perspectives from a government insider

Baron Ricketts of Shortland, former UK national security adviser 

At a point when questions about national security are at their highest level for a number of decades, not just in the UK, but also across many other European states, we welcome an expert with a long experience of working at the highest levels in this field. 

The Lord Ricketts retired in 2016 as Britain's Ambassador to France, a post which he had held since 2012. He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1974, serving in posts for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Paris, Singapore and Washington D.C, among others, before rising to become Permanent Secretary in the FCO. He has a wealth of expertise in intelligence and security. He served as Britain's Permanent Representative to NATO, and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, prior to being appointed by Prime Minster David Cameron as the country's first National Security Adviser, and Head of the National Security Council, in 2010.  

> Listen to more of Lord Ricketts' thoughts

What's the point of British foreign policy?

Rt Hon Jack Straw, former cabinet minister

>> Reviews

More than at any point for a generation, the role of British foreign policy is of paramount public interest. As the UK prepares to leave the EU, how will government forge a new relationship not only with former partner states in the EU, but also other states across the globe, and not least China, Russia and the USA?

What is the position the UK wishes to assume on the world stage and will its foreign policy serve to secure the country’s strategic interests overseas?

To discuss the UK’s role on the world stage, we welcome back to the University the Rt. Hon. Jack Straw, British Foreign Secretary 2001-2006.

> Listen to the Podcast In Conversation with Jack Straw

> Listen to more of Jack Straw's thoughts

Peter Hain lecture002.jpg

Trump, Globalisation and Free-trade

Lord Hain of Neath, former cabinet minister

>> Reviews

The second of two major talks on current international affairs, Lord Hain will reflect on the most recent US presidential election and inauguration of Donald Trump, tackling what Trumpenomics will mean for the world.

President-elect Trump has made clear he will tear up trade agreements which he sees as compromising American interests. Once in the White House, how will he balance American commitments to lowering barriers to trade with the promises he made on the road to the Presidency to 'make America great again'? 

Peter Hain is one of the best known figures in British politics and a respected commentator on international affairs. In government, he served as Minister for Africa while attached to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, during which time he was one of the main drivers behind a major international treaty to bring about an end to the 'blood diamond' trade.

During his time in government, he also held numerous Cabinet posts, including Secretary of State for Wales, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He retired from frontbench politics in 2008. He was made a Visiting Professor of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2013.

> Listen to the Podcast In Conversation with Lord Hain of Neath

BREXIT, National Security, Trump and the 'Special Relationship'

>> Reviews

“I thought it was really fascinating and an ideal opportunity for our students to hear from and put questions to someone as prestigious as Sir Richard Dearlove. Our students are currently studying a module about war, conflict and terrorism so some of the remarks made about UK Counter Terrorism Strategy will be really valuable when they begin their assignments.” Amanda Morgan, Coleg Sir Gar

"The masterclass was outstanding!" Carl Williams, Gwent Police

Sir Richard Dearlove, KCMG OBE, was head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, a role fictionally known as "M" and actually, though informally, as "C", from 1999 until 6 May 2004.

In this lecture, Sir Richard Dearlove, one of the foremost intelligence experts in the UK, examines the extent to which the UK's national security has been influenced by its EU membership and how Brexit will affect the UK's situation as Europe's leading defence and intelligence power.

He will discuss the sort of scenarios which could affect the evolution of the 'Special Relationship' under the Trump presidency, whilst considering what derivatives these new variables could produce in the UK's national security policy and their likely influence on the larger issue of European security. 

During his tenure as Head of MI6 the service witness the 9/11 attacks in the US, the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and an RPG attack on the service itself at its Vauxhall branch.

> Listen to the Podcast In Conversation with Sir Richard Dearlove


Winning Hearts and Minds: Communications and psychological warfare

Paul Bell, communications expert

The importance of 'winning hearts and minds' as an integral element of military campaigns has been recognised for at least a century. Strategic communications, however, have been transformed by contemporary media, from 24/7 news coverage to the Internet and social networking, influencing the behaviour and perceptions of those caught up in conflict zones.

Paul Bell is a communications expert with a vast portfolio of international experience. He was the communications director for the first democratic elections in post-apartheid South Africa and has gone on to advise governments across the world.

Among recent briefs, he has provided guided the communications campaign of the African Union's military strategy in Somalia and the British military in Iraq.

Formerly Chief Executive of the UK's largest public relations company, Bell Pottinger, Paul Bell is currently non-executive Director at Albany Associates.

> Listen to the Podcast In Conversation with Paul Bell

> Listen to more of Paul Bell's thoughts

Managing Risk, Uncertainty and Crisis in the Global Economy

Dyfrig John CBE, former CEO HSBC

> Reviews:

"Dyfrig's down-to-earth approach and personality inspired  everyone I talked to.."  Eric Hou, Lecturer in Law, University of South Wales

"Good for our students and other young people to hear such inspiring words from someone who started their education at USW and went on to achieve so much." Anon, Online Survey

Dyfrig John CBE has worked at the highest levels of international banking and finance, culminating in his tenure as Chief Executive of HSBC, one of the giants of global banking and investment. He has served, too, on the boards of the Lloyds Banking Group and, closer to home, the Principality.

In his talk, he will reveal the challenges of managing financial institutions and decision-making with the potential to influence the fate of nations and, indeed, the global economy. Throughout his long association with the Midland Bank and, later with its successor, HSBC, he has acquired extensive experience of banking across Asia and Europe, and he will speak about his role in managing the transformation of HSBC in Malaysia’s emerging market. He will talk, too, about his role in the management of the fallout from the global financial crisis in 2008, when the UK financial system was on the brink of total collapse, and his views on the state of the global financial system.

Dyfrig John CBE is a graduate of the University of South Wales whos contribution to banking was described by HSBC Chairman Stephen Green as "immeasurable".

North Korea Exposed: Propaganda in the Hermit Kingdom

Jeremy Hunter, award winning photographer and journalist

> Reviews:

"Incredible insight, a wonderful presentation. Absolutely fascinating material from a fascinating man."  Anonymous BOS Online 2016

"A candid and shocking insight into North Korea. The students laughed and gasped at the stories from Jeremy Hunter."  Ebbw Vale Learning Zone, Coleg Gwent

Jeremy Hunter - the celebrated photographer - entered North Korea just before the death of Kim Jong-Il, to photograph "ARIRANG" - an extraordinary, epic, propagandist spectacle staged outdoors in Pyongyang in the world's largest stadium every August and September for the previous ten years, featuring a meticulously choreographed military and gymnastic display before vast backdrops created out of thousands of hand-held flip charts.

In this talk, Jeremy Hunter illustrates and reveals the cultural and political significance of many of these backdrops, and in the first half of his lecture gives an extraordinary account of daily life in what Robert Gates, former CIA director, described as "the toughest intelligence target in the world".

Defeating ISIS

Lord Hain of Neath, former cabinet minister


"Very well delivered and thought provoking talk with truly valuable insights into the complexity of the problem." Anon. Online Survey

"Extremely interesting. We were also able to meet with Lord Hain and gained an excellent understanding of the topic. An honour to meet such an interesting man."  Y Pant Comprehensive School

The first two major talks on current international affairs, in this opening lecture the Lord Hain will explore the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and analyse how the international community should respond to the challenges posed by the rapid rise to power of an organisation which, a little over a year ago, would have been known only to regional specialists and security consultants but which now headlines our national news.

Peter Hain is one of the best known figures in British politics and a respected commentator on international affairs. In government, he served as Minister for Africa while attached to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, during which time he was one of the main drivers behind a major international treaty to bring about an end to the 'blood diamond' trade.

During his time in government, he also held numerous Cabinet posts, including Secretary of State for Wales, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He retired from frontbench politics in 2008. He was made a Visiting Professor of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2013.

>> Download the full lecture notes

We so enjoyed Peter Hain’s last lecture, and I am enjoying reading his book now. Thank you. St Clares School

Child Holocaust Survivor

Steven Frank, Holocaust Survivor

>> Reviews

"Priceless! Students need to see it, they need to experience it, not just read about it in a book." Gemma Jenkins, St Teilo's Comprehensive School

Seventy years ago, Allied forces liberated the Theresienstadt concentration camp in what is today in the north of the Czech Republic, .

Born in Amsterdam in 1935, when World War 2 ended Steven Frank was a nine year old interred in the Theresienstadt ghetto in what was then Czechoslovakia, one of a series of such places which the Nazis used as the sites for their genocide. Out of 15,000 Jewish children held there, only 93 survived to be liberated by the Soviets.

Today, as those with direct experience of one of the darkest moments of modern history are dwindling in number, Steven Frank's powerful story looks at prejudice in the context of the Holocaust as seen through the eyes of one who lived through it, its personal costs and the wider lessons of memory and tolerance. 

> Listen to the Podcast In Conversation with Steven Frank

Thank you for all the work your team did which helped make this into a really great event. I am still thinking about so many of the things that were talked about tonight, really excellent. Federation of Small Businesses
David-Hempleman-Adams, explorer

Coming in from the Cold: A lifetime's experience of Global Warming

Speaker: Sir David Hempleman-Adams OBE explorer and adventurer
Location: Pontypridd Campus, Treforest
Date/Time: TBA

Sir David Hempleman-Adams is one of the world’s leading explorers and adventurers. In 1996, he became the first Briton to walk solo and unsupported to the South Pole. Two years later, following a solo expedition to the North Pole, he was the first person to reach both the Geographic and Magnetic North and South Poles and climb the highest mountains in all seven continents. In total, he has made over thirty Arctic expeditions, reaching the Poles a record 14 times.

David has recently returned from leading Polar Ocean Challenge, the first crossing of the Arctic Ocean in a single summer season and an expedition conceived to highlight the impact of progressive recession of sea ice as a result of climate change.

In this talk, David Hempleman-Adams will look back on his career as a polar explorer at how climate change is dramatically changing our world in ways we have barely yet begun to comprehend.

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Will China Dominate the 21st Century?

Speaker: Jonathan Fenby CBE, award-winning journalist and broadcaster
Location: Pontypridd Campus, Treforest
Date/Time: TBA

The global balance of power, we are often told, is shifting from west to east. China is a country with ambition – and a history – to match its geographic and demographic scale. Though its rapid economic growth is slowing, China’s bearing on the fortunes of the global economy is significant, and with the growth of its domestic market what happens in the country will affect producers across the globe.

What, however, of the strategic political objectives of its political leadership, its foreign policy, its ‘soft power’? For this talk, we are delighted to welcome Jonathan Fenby CBE, a leading China-specialist, to examine the role this giant of the global economy is likely to play in coming decades and what it will mean for the UK.

A former editor of both The Observer and the South China Morning Post, Jonathan Fenby is the author of a dozen books, including Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China Today, How it Got There and Where it is Heading (2012).

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