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The Cambridge Union releases its Easter term card



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The Cambridge Union, the world's oldest debating society, has announced its line-up for Easter 2021.

The exterior of the Cambridge Union showing the new restaurant unit on the ground floor and student accommodation above, which Trinity College has leased. Picture: Keith Heppell
The exterior of the Cambridge Union showing the new restaurant unit on the ground floor and student accommodation above, which Trinity College has leased. Picture: Keith Heppell

With its longest term card to date, the Union, which was founded in 1815, will host both virtual and in-person events. Union president for Easter 2021, Joel Rosen, says: “We are enormously proud to be releasing our busy and varied term card. From Theresa May to Love Islanders, the Union will host conversations you simply can’t find elsewhere.

"Our students will have the opportunity to hear from AJ Tracey live, as well as Lord Sugar, Stormy Daniels and Earl Spencer.”

Joel adds: “We are incredibly proud of the strides the institution has made to include more voices in our conversations. In lively and topical events, we will speak to refugee poets, activists for the Uyghurs and those impacted by the Windrush Scandal.”

The Union will host a blended set of events, beginning virtually – and accessible to all through its YouTube channel – until May 17. From then onwards, it will embrace all opportunities to open its doors for in-person events, with social distancing and mask wearing in place to keep the venue Covid-secure.

The Cambridge Union
The Cambridge Union

In the interests of improving access, all virtual events and an increased number of in-person events will be open to non-members.

Speaker events planned for this term include Love Islander Megan Barton-Hanson (virtual) and Lord Norman Lamont, the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, while in politics, the Union will host the Rt Hon Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Trump impeachment manager congressman Jamie Raskin, former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, and Theresa May.

In the world of sport, the Union will welcome former professional boxer Chris Eubank, cricketers Monty Panesar and Darren Gough, speed skater Elise Christie, and Gymshark founder Ben Francis. In the field of music, the Union will hear from British rappers AJ Tracey and Shygirl.

For those interested in law, there will be an opportunity to hear from Alan Dershowitz, lawyer in the OJ Simpson Trial, and Lord John Dyson, a previous justice of the Supreme Court.

Singer Dua Lipa at the Cambridge Union, October 21, 2019
Singer Dua Lipa at the Cambridge Union, October 21, 2019

Other speakers include mayoral candidate and YouTuber Max Fosh, Coca Cola CEO James Quincey, and Steven Bartlett, founder of the social media marketing agency Social Chain.

This term will also see the introduction of Great Conversations – conversations providing an open space for discussion on a range of cultural and political issues.

Placing KGB spy Jack Barsky in conversation with best-selling thriller author Ben MacIntyre, the Union will learn details of espionage, while a conversation between the father of modern linguistics Noam Chomsky and the economist Mariana Mazzucato should be equally fascinating.

The Union will also set President Lawrence Bacow of Harvard University in conversation with Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope, bringing two Cambridge worlds into dialogue.

Aside from speaker events, debates will continue to take place every Thursday night. Front lining the term will be a virtual debate on fascism, featuring Professor Sir Richard Evans and Putin critic Masha Gessen, on the motion ‘THB that We are Witnessing a Global Fascist Resurgence’.

The inside of the newly refurbished bar area of the Cambridge Union. Picture: Keith Heppell
The inside of the newly refurbished bar area of the Cambridge Union. Picture: Keith Heppell

Other debate topics include big tech (featuring Nicky Morgan), abortion (featuring Ann Widdecombe) and religion.

The term will witness the launch of head-to-head debates, including a Marxism head-to head featuring political activist Slavoj Žižek alongside former Conservative politician Lord Daniel Hannan. This will be followed by head-to heads on race relations and veganism.

Joel Rosen concludes: "We are enormously proud to be releasing our busy and varied term card. Free speech is alive and well at Cambridge and you’re welcome to join the debate with us."

The Union is also set to open its new bar and brasserie, The Orator, on May 24.

Find out more at cus.org.

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