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 Time In Person or Online
Levison Wood 5 Oct 5:00 PM In Person
Dr Arthur Laffer 6 Oct 5:00 PM Online
Beatrice Fihn 11 Oct 5:00 PM In Person
Mark Cavendish MBE 13 Oct 8:00 PM In Person
Joe Lonsdale 17 Oct 5:00 PM In Person
Professor David Gergen 12 Oct 5:00 PM Online
Jerry Yang 12 Oct 8:00 PM Online
Bryan Cranston 20 Oct 8:00 PM In Person
Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett 22 Oct 8:00 PM In Person
Dr Kai-Fu Lee 18 Oct 9:00 AM Online
Dr Carol Queen 19 Oct 5:00 PM Online
Carole Baskin 19 Oct 8:00 PM Online
Azra Jafari 22 Oct 5:00 PM Online
Dr Edwin Catmull 26 Oct 8:00 PM Online
Jameela Jamil 27 Oct 8:00 PM Online
Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell 2 Nov 5:00 PM In Person
Michael Eavis CBE 3 Nov 8:00 PM In Person
Brian Cox CBE 5 Nov 5:00 PM In Person
Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya 1 Nov 5:00 PM Online
Dr Nadine Burke Harris 8 Nov 8:00 PM In Person
Lord Rowan Williams PC 10 Nov 5:00 PM In Person
Ambassador Paula Dobriansky 11 Nov 5:00 PM In Person
Julian Casablancas 13 Nov 8:00 PM In Person
Danny Sriskandarajah 15 Nov 5:00 PM In Person
George Takei 16 Nov 5:00 PM In Person
Chris Wallace 16 Nov 8:00 PM In Person
Daniel ‘Lemony Snicket’ Handler 17 Nov 5:00 PM In Person
Michael Hooper 17 Nov 8:00 PM In Person
Julie Brown 19 Nov 5:00 PM Online
Kevin Bacon 20 Nov 5:00 PM Online
Professor Louise Richardson 22 Nov 8:00 PM In Person
Jenny Packham 23 Nov 5:00 PM In Person
Lord Jeffrey Archer 23 Nov 8:00 PM In Person
H.E. Paula-Mae Weekes 24 Nov 5:00 PM In Person
Dr Husam Zomlot 24 Nov 8:00 PM In Person
Professor Jordan Peterson 25 Nov 5:00 PM In Person
Dame Olivia Newton-John 22 Nov 5:00 PM Online
Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh OBE 29 Nov 8:00 PM In Person
Elise Christie 30 Nov 8:00 PM In Person
Marco Bertacca 1 Dec 5:00 PM In Person
Eddie Hearn 1 Dec 8:00 PM In 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:

Debate Week Planned Speakers
No Confidence Debate 1st Nick Thomas-Symonds MP

Layla Moran MP

Sir Geoffrey Cox QC MP

Robert Buckland QC MP

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

Liberty vs Safety Debate 2nd  Adam Wagner

Allyson Pollock

Sir David Nicholson

Karol Sikora

Luke Johnson

US Global Leadership Debate 3rd Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Robert Spalding

Jane Harman 

Ambassador Andrey Kelin

Amitav Acharya

Social Justice Debate 4th Nazir Afzal 

Lord Hoffmann

Helen Mountfield

Jolyon Maugham QC

Jeffrey Dudgeon

Yasmine Ahmed

Big Tech Debate 5th  William Kovacic

Steve Fuller

Damian Collins

Tom Fletcher

Sue Black

Reshma Saujani

Meritocracy Debate 6th Daniel Markovits

Adam Boulton

Sarah Atkinson

Adrian Wooldridge

Helen Goulden 

Bim Afolami

Meat Debate 7th Heather Mills

Professor Jeff McMahan

Carol Adams

Mikhaila Peterson

Peter Stevenson

Louise Gray

PPE Debate 8th James 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