Image of the Oxford Union chamber
Image Credit: NATO

The Oxford Union to host British and international political figures 

The Oxford Union will host several notable political figures in Trinity Term 2024, including the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and several members of the House of Lords. 

Speakers will also include footballer Rio Ferdinand and Leah Williamson, musician Steve Aoki; American Actress J Smith-Cameron, and satirical political candidate Count Binface.

The theme of the Trinity Union Ball will be “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and the Union will also hold several events including a Eurovision watch party, Cinco de Mayo, and Holi. 

It had been revealed earlier this week that Nancy Pelosi, football coach Jose Mourinho, and Suits actor Patrick J. Adams were part of the TT24 Union Termcard.

Rio Ferdinand is a former professional footballer. He played for the English national team 81 times between 1997 and 2011 and won six Premier League titles under Manchester United. He is now a television pundit for TNT Sports. 

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is the former Prime Minister of Pakistan from August 2017 to May 2018. He is an active politician on the National Assembly of Pakistan and has been the secretary-general of the Pakistan Democratic Movement. 

This term’s debates are centred around politics, with a UK general election and US presidential election on the horizon. This will include the future of the European Union featuring the Hungarian and Dutch Ambassador to the United Kingdom, the standing purpose of the House of Lords, and whether Britain is still a fighting force to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Other debates will touch on populism, international climate policy, the role of the police, and the British Museum.

In Week 8, the Union will also host a comedy debate with Tom Rosenthal, Caspar Lee and Count Binface on the motion “This House Would Fake it ‘Till You Make It.” Count Binface recently announced he would be running for the 2024 London mayor election.

There will be a panel on judicial interference with a Pakistan Supreme Court Justice as well as the upcoming presidential rematch between Trump and Biden. 

In Week 1, Nancy Pelosi will give the Benazir Bhutto Memorial Lecture, and then debate for the proposition whether populism is a threat to democracy. Pelosi was originally set to deliver the lecture in Michaelmas Term 2023 but cancelled due to a change in congressional schedules.

Pelosi is the first female speaker of the House of Representatives and leader of the House Democrats for two decades. She has been a central figure in the major legislative accomplishments of the Obama and Biden administrations, including Obamacare, and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. 

Other notable speakers will include His Royal Highness Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, current Chief Justice of India, Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, American actor Patric J. Adams, best known for his portrayal of Mike Ross on Suits, and two-time Primetime Emmy nominated actress J. Smith-Cameron, best known for her roles in Rectify and Succession

Image Credit: NATO

Image Description: Oxford Union chamber