Sir John Major speaks during his Global Choices: Talking Points lecture at USW

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
Reflections on Culture, Leadership and the Future of Policing Matt Jukes, Chief Constable, South Wales Police 4 March 2019, 11am, B1 lecture theatre, Treforest Campus
It was a fantastic experience for our learners. Hawthorn High School


Rt Hon Jack Straw, From Home Secretary to Justice Secretary: A personal account

The Macpherson Report 20 Years On: Reflections on Changes in Policing in the UK

Speaker:  Rt Hon. Jack Straw, Home Secretary (1997-2001) and Secretary of State for Justice (2007-2010)
Location: G218 lecture theatre, Treforest Campus
Date/Time: 14 February 2019, 1pm-2pm

February 2019 marks 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 are 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). 

Book tickets here

Steven Frank

Child Holocaust Survivor

Speaker: Steven Frank
Location: Pontypridd Campus, Treforest
Date/Time: Tbc

What lessons can history teach us about how we should live today?

Seventy years ago, Allied forces liberated the Theresienstadt concentration camp in what is today in the north of the Czech Republic, one of a series of such places which the Nazis used as the sites for their genocide.

Today, as those with direct experience of one of the darkest moments of modern history are dwindling in number, this lecture looks at prejudice in the context of the Holocaust and seen through the eyes of one who lived through it.

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 - and out of 15,000 Jewish children held there, only 93 survived to be liberated by the Soviets.

His lecture reflects on his direct experiences of the Holocaust, its personal costs and the wider lessons of memory and tolerance.

Past speakers

john major

A World in Transition

Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH

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.  

Shami Chakrabarti

In conversation with...

Lady Shami Chakrabarti

Lady Shami Chakrabarti is an internationally recognised campaigner for civil liberties. After graduating from the London School of Economics, she trained as a barrister and was appointed to work as a lawyer for the Home Office. In 2003, she was appointed as the Director of Liberty, the UK’s best known civil liberties campaign organisation, and, over the next decade, established a reputation as the country’s most public critic of she saw as the erosion of civil liberties.

In 2007, she was awarded the CBE for her services to human rights. She was made a Life Peer as Baroness Chakrabarti of Kennington in 2016. She currently serves as Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales. Among other roles, she served on the panel of the Leveson Enquiry, is a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation for the promotion of international relations and Chancellor of the University of Essex.

Peter Hain

A Perfect Storm: New Threats to Global Security

Lord Peter Hain

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. He was made a Life Peer as Baron Hain of Neath in 2015.

Leigh Lewis

Mandarins and Ministers

Sir Leigh Lewis, political advisor

'After a time', Winston Churchill once remarked, 'civil servants tend to become no longer servants, and no longer civil'. The relationship between civil servants and ministers, and even Prime Ministers, is at the heart of the British system of government. It is a relationship, however, which is characterised as riven by conflict, as both sides struggle for control over the business of government.

We are delighted to welcome to the University of South Wales, Sir Leigh Lewis, one of the most experienced and respected senior civil servants in the UK. With a career spanning nearly forty years of working at the highest levels of government, he is advised a succession of leading politicians, including Prime Ministers. During his career in the Civil Service, among roles, Sir Leigh served as Permanent Secretary at the Home Office (2003-2005), responsible for policing and counter terrorism, and Permanent Secretary (2005-2011) at the Department for Work and Pensions. He drew on this wealth of personal knowledge for his highly regarded book, How to be a Minister (2013).

In this lecture, Sir Leigh will talk about lessons of public service leadership and set out his recommendations on what Ministers need to grasp to achieve their goal of delivering policies, which can make a difference to the country.

The lecture will deal with subjects, which will be of direct relevance to A Level Politics and Government students and BTEC Public Services students. 


Brexit: How will it end?

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, former British Ambassador to the EU 

At a pivotal moment in the negotiations on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, we welcome to Cardiff one of the country’s leading and most experienced diplomats, Lord Kerr of Kinlochard. Lord Kerr was Ambassador to the EU and the US, and Foreign Office Permanent-under-Secretary. He became an Independent member of the House of Lords in 2004, and has served on its EU and Economic Select Committees. As Secretary-General of the EU Convention in 2002-2003, Lord Kerr drafted Article 50, the legal provision which now underpins Brexit. 

Following Lord Kerr’s assessment of the challenges of facing UK negotiators, and of the broader impact of exit from the EU on the UK, a panel of senior figures from the private, public and third sectors in Wales will examine the more particular consequences of Brexit on Wales. Panellists include Ian Price, Director CBI Wales, Ellen Jones, President of NUS Wales, Chris Nott, Senior Partner at Capital Law and Chair of Welsh Government’s Financial and Professional Services Sector Panel and Steve Thomas, Chief Executive of the Wales Local Government Association.  

Peter Hain

Israel, Palestine - the end of the Two State Solution?

Lord Peter Hain, former UK Cabinet Minister

We are marking a century since the 1917 Balfour Declaration pledged British support for a ‘national home for the Jewish people’, with the proviso that such an entity must not ‘prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine’.

2018 will also mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. In this lecture, Lord Hain will argue that we are still no nearer to accomplishing, through separate Israeli and Palestinian states, a peaceful co-existence in the region. Successive peace agreements have failed, and the potential for conflict remains ever-present.

Instead, Lord Hain will argue for the creation of a ‘confederal’ single state with common civil rights and guarantees of religious freedom for Jews and Muslims. 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 and, later, as Minister for the Middle east while attached to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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 Life Peer in 2015. He is currently a Visiting Professor of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2013. 

Jonathan Evans MI5

Terrorism, Security and MI5

Lord Jonathan Evans, former Director of the Security Service (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 have 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.

Listen to more of Lord Jonathan Evans' thoughts

George Robertson

How dangerous is today's World?

George Robertson, former Secretary General of NATO

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’). 

> Listen to more of Lord Robertson's thoughts

Dyfrig John CBE, Global Choices

Seismic shocks in the Global Economy

Dyfrig John CBE, former CEO of HSBC

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?

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

Bindi Karia

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'.

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.


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).