Previous speakers

The University of South Wales has welcomed speakers from a wide range of backgrounds, careers and life experiences, including former UK Ambassadors to the United Nations, award-winning authors and broadcasters, polar explorers, a child Holocaust survivor and a former Prime Minister, among many more.



Principled Spying: The Ethics of Secret Intelligence

Sir David Omand, former Director, GCHQ


Sir David Omand Global Choices The issue of the extent to which a state should sanction its agents to secure and use secret intelligence is one of the big unresolved issues of public policy for democracies today. The tension between security and privacy sits at the heart of broader debates concerning the relationship between the citizen and the state.

States must answer public demands for protection in the face of significant security threats from domestic and international terrorism, from serious criminality, and to be protected in the use of cyberspace.

Secret intelligence is widely accepted to be essential to these tasks, and to be a legitimate function of the nation state, yet the historical record is that it also can pose significant ethical risks. In this lecture, Sir David Omand asks how far democratic states should permit the gathering of secret intelligence, reflecting on the ethical, human and technical parameters of this pressing public issue.

Sir David Omand is one of the widely respected figures in the British intelligence community. Among various roles, he served as the Director of GCHQ, one of the key British security agencies. He was the UK’s first Security and Intelligence Coordinator, reporting directly to the Prime Minister. He is a non-executive Director of Babcock International, and a Visiting Professor at Sciences Po, Paris and the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London.

A World in Transition

Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH, former Prime Minister

Sir John entered Parliament in 1979, and Government in 1983.  He joined the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1987, was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in July 1989 and Chancellor of the Exchequer in October 1989.  Sir John served as Prime Minister from November 1990 to May 1997.  Following the General Election of 1997, Sir John handed the incoming Labour Government the strongest economy inherited by any incoming UK Government. 

Sir John retired from the House of Commons at the UK General Election in May 2001. 

His business interests include Senior Advisor to Credit Suisse and Chairman of the Advisory Board of Global Infrastructure Management.  Sir John chairs the Campaign Board of King’s London and is also President or Patron of a number of UK and international charities. 

On New Year's Day 1999, HM The Queen appointed Sir John a Companion of Honour in recognition of his initiation of the Northern Ireland Peace Process and on St George's Day 2005, a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.  In 2012, he was awarded The Grand Cordon of The Rising Sun by The Emperor of Japan. In October 2011, Sir John was appointed Chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, a Commonwealth-wide initiative which has been established to create a lasting legacy to Her Majesty’s 60 years as Sovereign.  


From Peel to Post-Truth

Chief Constable Matt Jukes QMP, South Wales Police

Matt Jukes portrait 

Matt Jukes was appointed Chief Constable of South Wales Police in January 2018.

Matt joined South Yorkshire Police in 1995 as a police constable on the streets of Sheffield, soon after being commended for his tenacity and courage in the arrest of a suspect following a post office robbery.

Between 1997 and 2006, Matt went on to work in a number of roles, principally as a detective. In his early CID career he was involved in operations to tackle violent drugs gangs and later specialised in counter terrorism.

He worked for the forerunner of the National Counter Terrorism Policing network and represented United Kingdom policing at G8 meetings in the United States in 2004. Matt remains involved strategically in counter terrorism and has had a leading role in a number of high profile operations across England and Wales.

In 2006 Matt returned to local policing as a divisional Chief Superintendent in the former coalfields and industrial areas of South Yorkshire.

He joined South Wales Police as an Assistant Chief Constable in 2010. He led the latest phase of the force’s response to several miscarriage of justice cases from the 1980s and 90s, including the infamous ‘Cardiff 3’ case. As well as overseeing electoral fraud investigations in the National Assembly, he had command of regional organised crime and counter terrorism units.

Matt was appointed Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) in August 2013. As DCC he had the task of leading a change programme to equip the force to manage a £50 million reduction in funding, at the same time as responding to huge operational challenges including the 2014 NATO Summit, 2015 Rugby World Cup and 2017 UEFA Champions League Final. After this period of change, the force has remained focused on local policing and a rigorous programme of back-office reform has supported one of the smallest front-line reductions in the UK with South Wales Police was recently assessed as the most visible force in England and Wales.


Reflections on Changes in Policing in the UK

Rt Hon. Jack Straw, Home Secretary (1997-2001) and Secretary of State for Justice (2007-2010)

Global Choices Jack Straw

February 2019 marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of the report of the inquiry led by Sir William Macpherson into the investigation by the Metropolitan Police of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. It was a report which produced a series of major recommendations for reform of British policing, and which levelled a charge of institutional racism against the Metropolitan Police. It is widely recognised as a landmark report not only for British policing, but, in addressing the issue of societal racism, also a key moment for British society more broadly.

In December 2018, the Home Affairs Select Committee announced an inquiry into the legacy of Macpherson. To address this major anniversary, we were delighted to welcome back to Treforest to speak about the Macpherson Report and its aftermath, the Rt. Hon. Jack Straw, who, as Home Secretary, had instigated the inquiry led by Macpherson. 

Jack Straw held a series of senior Cabinet positions within the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, respectively, including Home Secretary (1997-2001), Foreign Secretary (2001-2006) and Lord Chancellor (2007-2010). 


Terrorism, Security and MI5

Jonathan Evans, former Head of MI5

Concerns about national security in the UK are at the highest points for decades. From the attacks in London in July 2007, to the bomb which killed 22 people in Manchester in May 2017, threats from domestic terrorism have increased sharply over the last decade.

A spate of attacks in 2017 led to criticisms of MI5, the British Security Services, that it is not doing enough to protect UK domestic security. Defending its role, current Head of MI5, Andrew Parker, has revealed the Security Service had thwarted at least 20 major attacks on the UK in the last four years.

Our speaker, and the previous Director of MI5, Jonathan Evans, has said this is a threat likely to run for another two decades. As Chief of the British Security Service, or MI5 as it is more commonly known, for six years, Jonathan Evans had overall responsibility for the domestic security of the UK.

After joining MI5 in 1980, he remained with the Security Service in a career which spanned over 30 years, including a leading role in counter-terrorism in Northern Ireland and, later, as head of international counter-terrorism, before being appointed in 2007 as Director General of MI5.


How dangerous is today's world?

George Robertson, former NATO Secretary General

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. 

During his lecture at USW, he surveyed 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 was 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.


Trump must unite his nation

Dyfrig John, former CEO of HSBC

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 this extract from an interview before his lecture and Q&A on Managing risk, uncertainty and crisis in a global economy, Dyfrig outlines the options available to President Elect of the United States, Donald Trump.


A life lesson in determination

Steven Frank, child Holocaust survivor

After surviving interment in a Nazi concentration camp, Steven Frank was brought to England as a POW with his mother and two brothers, aged 9.

Following a moving and inspirational contribution to the Global Choices lecture series, Steven reflected on his early experiences as a refugee in 1940's Britain, the similarities of the refugee crisis today and critical importance of resilience.