Oxford Union Michaelmas Termcard: 3rd Release


Sporting stars feature in our final release of the Oxford Union’s Michaelmas Termcard. Newlyweds and multiple-Olympic-medallists Laura Trott and Jason Kenny will come to Oxford in 6th Week, as well as Olympic swimmer Mark Foster.

Political highlights include Rt Hon Jon Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, the former President of Finland, and the leader of the Israeli Opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu.

Corruption in sport was thrust into the limelight once again recently following Sam Allardyce’s truncated stint as England manager – this, off the back of an Olympic summer plagued by worldwide allegations of doping. A panel will discuss the issues in 8th Week – speakers will include the first female sports editor of a national UK newspaper.

British actor Jeremy Irons heads up the cultural speakers, in a line-up that includes Example, and Ava Vidal – the comedienne who will be speaking in opposition to the 3rd Week motion, “This House Believes There’s No Such Thing as a Cheap Laugh”.

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This House Believes There’s No Such Thing as a Cheap Laugh – Thursday 27th October (3rd Week), 8.30pm.


Simon Evans – Known for his plummy accent, he is a huge fan favourite on the UK stand-up circuit, as well as being a regular performer on television and radio.

Jon Holmes – Regularly mocked for his short stature, he is a two time BAFTA award winner and prolific comedy writer and radio presenter.


Ava Vidal – A former prison guard, she is best known for appearances on Mock the Week and Michael McIntrye’s Comedy Roadshow.

Barry Cryer OBE – A national treasure, he is a regular panelist on I’m Sorry I Haven’t Got a Clue and has written extensively for many notable performers, including Morecambe & Wise.

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This House Believes The UN is a Failing Instiution – Thursday 17th November (6th Week), 8.30pm.


Ambassador Riyad Mansour – With a career in Palestinian diplomatic service that stretches back to 1983, he was appointed Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN in 2005.

Miranda Brown – Former Chief of the East and Southern Africa section of the UN’s OHCHR, she is a UN whistleblower, having testified in 2015 about sexual abuse in the field by peacekeepers.


Mogens Lykketoft – President of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, he has held several ministerial positions in the Danish parliament.

Dr Edward Mortimer – Distinguished Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. He is the former Chief Speechwriter and Director of Communications for the Executive Office of SecretaryGeneral, Kofi Annan.

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This House Believes The Class System is Static Irrespective of Wealth Acquisition – Thursday 24th November (7th Week), 8.30pm.


Kate Fox – A social anthropologist, she is Co-Director of the Social Issues Research Centre. Her book, Watching the English, sold half a million copies.

Dr Lisa McKenzie – A research fellow at LSE, she specialises in class inequality. In 2015 she published Getting By: Estates, Class, and Culture in Austerity Britain.


Lord Norman Tebbit – From a working class family, he was Chairman of the Conservative Party and Employment Secretary. He implemented Thatcher’s tough approach to the unions.

Tim Lott – A Whitbread Award winning author, journalist and broadcaster, he is a weekly columnist for The Guardian’s ‘Family’ section and has written extensively on social mobility in modern Britain.

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Institutional Corruption in Sport: What Happened to Fair Play? – Tuesday 29th November (8th Week), 8pm.

In the last few years, we have witnessed state sponsored doping at the Olympics, indictments and rife malpractice at FIFA, spot fixing in cricket, and rigged construction tenders. The more inextricably linked money and sport become, the harder it is to root out these problems. Where will it all end?

Debbie Evans CBE – Director of Sports for London 2012, and CEO of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Ed Warner – Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of UK Athletics.

Alison Kervin – Sports Editor of The Mail on Sunday.

Sir Hugh Robertson – Vice Chairman of The British Olympic Association and former Conservative MP.

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Example – Tuesday 11th October (1st Week), 8pm.


British singer, rapper, and music producer, Example has enjoyed a number of hits during his career. From ‘Kickstarts’ to ‘Changed The Way You Kissed Me’, his work has consistently topped international charts; he has recently spoken about giving up on music and going into filmmaking and directing.

This event falls inside the Oxford Union’s open period during which new students who are not yet members may attend.

Jon Smith – Friday 14th October (1st Week), 5pm.

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Having managed some of the biggest stars in football, including Diego Maradona, Jon Smith is one of the most influential agents in the world. He is credited with football’s huge commercial success, pioneering product placement in the game as well as the England team brand. He is also responsible for bringing the Premier League to 180 countries, one fifth of the world’s population.

This event falls inside the Oxford Union’s open period during which new students who are not yet members may attend.

Alexis Ohanian –Wednesday 26th October (3rd Week), 5pm.

Alexis Ohanian

Armenian-American entrepreneur, activist and investor, Alexis Ohanian is famous for co-founding the social news website Reddit, the 25th most visited website in the world. He currently sits as the Executive Chairman of the company, and recenty began dating tennis superstar Serena Williams.

Jeremy Irons – Wednesday 26th October (3rd Week), 8pm.


Classically trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Jeremy Irons is one of the most iconic British actors. He shot to fame in Brideshead Revisited, considered by many to be one of the best TV shows of all time, in which he played the enigmatic protagonist Charles Ryder. His career has spanned the stage and screen, from the eponymous role in the Barbican Theatre’s 1987 production of Richard II, to Alfred in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman; many will recognise him as the voice of Scar in Disney’s The Lion King.

H. E. Martti Ahtisaari – Former President of Finland –Thursday 27th October (3rd Week), 1pm.


Following the end of his Presidency in 2000, Martti Ahtisaari became the UN Special Envoy for Kosovo. The 10th President of Finland (1994 to 2000), he is a United Nations diplomat and mediator. In October 2008, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize ‘for his efforts on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts’, particularly in Namibia, Indonesia, Kosovo, and Iraq.

Stephen Schwarzman – Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of Blackstone Group –Tuesday 1st November (4th Week), 5pm.


American businessman and financier, Stephen Schwarzman is the largest alternative investment group in the world. He consistently features on lists of the most influencial figures in the global market, and his personal fortune has been estimated by Forbes to be worth $12.9 billion.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt – The Refugee Crisis: Do We Care As Much As We Say? – Wednesday 2nd November (4th Week), 5pm.

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As the first female Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt presided over the successful conclusion of the Danish contribution to NATO’s strike missions in Libya. During her tenure, she relaxed anti-immigration legislation and implemented tax reform. Her career is fictionally represented by Birgitte Nyborg in the critically acclaimed TV series Borgen. She left the Danish Parliament in 2016, and is now the CEO of the international NGO, Save the Children.

Director-General Irina Bokova – UNESCO Director-General – Thursday November 3rd (4th Week), 5pm.

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Current Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova is both the first female and the first Eastern European to lead the organisation. Throughout her tenure she has spoken out against anti-Semitism, and has led UNESCO’s activities on Holocaust remembrance and awareness. She is also a champion for gender equality. In June 2014 the Bulgarian government nominated her for the role of Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Mark Foster – Wednesday 9th November (5th Week), 8pm.

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One of the most successful British swimmers of all time, Mark Foster accumulated six World Championship titles, two Commonwealth titles and 11 European titles. In 2008, he carried the flag for Great Britain during the Parade of Nations at the Beijing Olympics. He is now an ambassador for the UK charity SportsAid, which helps talented young sportspeople achieve their ambitions.

Laura Trott OBE & Jason Kenny OBE –Tuesday 15th November (6th Week), 5pm.

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The famous track cycling couple, Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, who got engaged in 2014 have won a total of ten Olympic Gold medals over three Olympic Games. Trott is Britain’s most successful female Olympian and Kenny is the joint holder of the highest number of Olympic Gold Medals for a British athlete with a total of six golds. They are both current individual world champions in each of their individual racing disciplines.

Rt Hon John Bercow MP – Thursday 24th November (7th Week), 5pm.

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First elected as a Conservative MP in 1997, John Bercow held the positions of Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development before taking up his current position in 2009. During his election, he received an unprecedented amount of support from a cross section of parties, and his political leaning is often considered centre or centre-right. The Bercow Review of families affected by speech, language, and communication needs, prompted the Labour government at the time to pledge £52 million into addressing such issues. He is famed for keeping order in the Commons with his signature cry of “order!”. In 2010 he won the Stonewall award for Politician of the Year.

Isaac Herzog – Leader of the Israeli Opposition to Netanyahu – Wednesday 30th November (8th Week), 8pm.

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Having pledged his support for the two-state solution, Isaac Herzog is the leader of the opposition and has criticised Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to present a proposal for peace with Palestinians, or work effectively with Barack Obama. In April 2016 he wrote to Jeremy Corbyn to say he was appalled and outraged at the alleged anti-Semitism in the British Labour Party.

Lord Robert Skidelsky – Wednesday 30th November (8th Week), 5pm.

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A graduate of Jesus and Nuffield Colleges, Oxford, Lord Robert Skideslsky is an award-winning economic historian. In 1992, his three-volume biography of John Maynard Keynes won the Wolfson History Prize. He is a fellow of the British Academy, and is currently writing a book on globalisation. He was previously the Chairman of the Social Market Foundation, one of the top think-tanks in Britain.

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