Exclusive: More Union Speakers Revealed

Image Description: the inside of the Chamber of the Oxford Union. 

The Oxford student has obtained an exclusive preview of the Oxford Union’s planned Michaelmas 2021 term card including guest speakers, debates, and other events.

There will be a mixture of in-person and online events, giving members access to a variety of speakers, from the worlds of sport, politics, film and TV, and music. There is also a possibility that the popular Union Beer Garden, which was open to members in the first weeks of Trinity, might return for the open period at the beginning of term. 

The list of planned speakers is for term is:  

Speaker Date and TimeIn Person or Online
Levison Wood5 Oct 5:00 PMIn Person
Dr Arthur Laffer6 Oct 5:00 PMOnline
Beatrice Fihn11 Oct 5:00 PMIn Person
Mark Cavendish MBE13 Oct 8:00 PMIn Person
Joe Lonsdale17 Oct 5:00 PMIn Person
Professor David Gergen12 Oct 5:00 PMOnline
Jerry Yang12 Oct 8:00 PMOnline
Bryan Cranston20 Oct 8:00 PMIn Person
Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett22 Oct 8:00 PMIn Person
Dr Kai-Fu Lee18 Oct 9:00 AMOnline
Dr Carol Queen19 Oct 5:00 PMOnline
Carole Baskin19 Oct 8:00 PMOnline
Azra Jafari22 Oct 5:00 PMOnline
Dr Edwin Catmull26 Oct 8:00 PMOnline
Jameela Jamil27 Oct 8:00 PMOnline
Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell2 Nov 5:00 PMIn Person
Michael Eavis CBE3 Nov 8:00 PMIn Person
Brian Cox CBE5 Nov 5:00 PMIn Person
Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya1 Nov 5:00 PMOnline
Dr Nadine Burke Harris8 Nov 8:00 PMIn Person
Lord Rowan Williams PC10 Nov 5:00 PMIn Person
Ambassador Paula Dobriansky11 Nov 5:00 PMIn Person
Julian Casablancas13 Nov 8:00 PMIn Person
Danny Sriskandarajah15 Nov 5:00 PMIn Person
George Takei16 Nov 5:00 PMIn Person
Chris Wallace16 Nov 8:00 PMIn Person
Daniel ‘Lemony Snicket’ Handler17 Nov 5:00 PMIn Person
Michael Hooper17 Nov 8:00 PMIn Person
Julie Brown19 Nov 5:00 PMOnline
Kevin Bacon20 Nov 5:00 PMOnline
Professor Louise Richardson22 Nov 8:00 PMIn Person
Jenny Packham23 Nov 5:00 PMIn Person
Lord Jeffrey Archer23 Nov 8:00 PMIn Person
H.E. Paula-Mae Weekes24 Nov 5:00 PMIn Person
Dr Husam Zomlot24 Nov 8:00 PMIn Person
Professor Jordan Peterson25 Nov 5:00 PMIn Person
Dame Olivia Newton-John22 Nov 5:00 PMOnline
Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh OBE29 Nov 8:00 PMIn Person
Elise Christie30 Nov 8:00 PMIn Person
Marco Bertacca1 Dec 5:00 PMIn Person
Eddie Hearn1 Dec 8:00 PMIn Person

Other potential speakers include political commentator and Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, Mad Men, Chernobyl, and The Crown actor Jared Harris, and journalist John Simpson. The term card could also include American politician Joe Kennedy III, The Secret Barrister, and General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the current Chief of the General Staff and professional head of the armed forces. 

Panels include a Law Panel with Lord Carnwath, Sir Jeffrey Jowell, and Lord Faulks, a Holocaust Matters Event with Noemie Lopian and Derek Niemann, and a Number 10 Panel with Sir Anthony Seldon and Baroness Fall. For fans of international relations, a China Head to Head with Sir Vince Cable and Michael Pilsbury and a Human Security Panel with Jane Goodall and Jonathan Granoff have been organised. A planned Sport Special Event with Vicky Gosling and Ebony Rainford-Brent has not yet been scheduled.

The traditional Union debates are also expected to be well attended by speakers, including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Layla Moran, who are expected to debate at the traditional No Confidence debate in first week. The traditional Thursday debates take place in the famous Union Chamber every week throughout term. 

The planned debates and their attendees are:

DebateWeekPlanned Speakers
No Confidence Debate1stNick Thomas-Symonds MP

Layla Moran MP

Sir Geoffrey Cox QC MP

Robert Buckland QC MP

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

Liberty vs Safety Debate2nd Adam Wagner

Allyson Pollock

Sir David Nicholson

Karol Sikora

Luke Johnson

US Global Leadership Debate3rdSir Malcolm Rifkind

Robert Spalding

Jane Harman 

Ambassador Andrey Kelin

Amitav Acharya

Social Justice Debate4thNazir Afzal 

Lord Hoffmann

Helen Mountfield

Jolyon Maugham QC

Jeffrey Dudgeon

Yasmine Ahmed

Big Tech Debate5th William Kovacic

Steve Fuller

Damian Collins

Tom Fletcher

Sue Black

Reshma Saujani

Meritocracy Debate6thDaniel Markovits

Adam Boulton

Sarah Atkinson

Adrian Wooldridge

Helen Goulden 

Bim Afolami

Meat Debate7thHeather Mills

Professor Jeff McMahan

Carol Adams

Mikhaila Peterson

Peter Stevenson

Louise Gray

PPE Debate8thJames Ball 


Planned debate motions include “This House Believes there is no Merit in Meritocracy”, “This House Believes that a Citizen of the World is a Citizen of Nowhere”, and “This House Would Still Look to the US for Global Leadership”. Other topics include debating “moving beyond meat” and having had enough of PPE. 

After it was reported yesterday that some of the speakers for the upcoming Michaelmas Term had been leaked, the President of the Oxford Union, Chengkai Xie commented:

“I am looking forward to sharing our Michaelmas Term 2021 Term Card with incoming freshers and our existing members later this week. My committee has worked hard over the summer to put together an exciting term card, featuring a diverse range of individual speakers, an interesting series of debates and special events as well as some great social events to ensure there is something for everyone at the Union.”

The full term card for Michaelmas Term is set to be released on Thursday, and is subject to change.

Image Credit: NATO