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Events: Leading thinkers speak at Harvey Grammar School's evening of public debate

Contributed by editor on Mar 31, 2010 - 08:40 AM


Leading thinkers, politicians, academics and media commentators offered sixth-formers and members of the public a chance to build their knowledge and understanding of contemporary issues and ask questions on a range of topics.

The debate at the Harvey Grammar School, Folkestone on Monday (29 March) was organised by the Global Uncertainties Schools Network and covered a wide range of subjects including: the war on terror, cyber-security, free speech on the internet, religion, the elections and contemporary politics and the environment and climate change.

The lively debate was chaired by Tony Gilland, science and society director of the Institute of Ideas.

Audience members asked questions of Sean Lang, Senior Lecturer in History, Anglia Ruskin University; Jo Phillips, journalist; author of Why Vote – a guide for those who can’t be bothered; Rob Killick, CEO cScape; blogger, UK After the Recession; Clifford Longley, journalist, author and broadcaster; panellist, BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze and David Petch, retired commissioner, Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Richard Swan, vice-principal of Harvey Grammar School said: ‘It was a brilliant evening - it was fantastic to have such a tremendous panel come down to a school on a wet night in Folkestone and have a really thoughtful discussion around everything from religion and terrorism to cyber-security’.

Journalist, Jo Phillips said: ‘I thought it was terrific - any event like tonight which engages people, young or otherwise, in serious intellectual conversation and debate in this climate is fantastic’.

John Brasington, a student at Harvey Grammar School found the frank exchanges of views form the panellists refreshing, ‘it was really good that the panel weren’t following party lines but were really engaging with the issues’.

The Global Uncertainties Schools Network has been set up by the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition and is supported by the Research Councils UK programme ‘Global Uncertainties: Security for all in a Changing World’..

John Wand, theme leader of the Research Councils UK Global Uncertainties Programme, organisers of the event, said: ‘We very much welcome this chance to work with students and the local community to help to raise awareness of the issues around this important area. We hope not only that participants will find this an informative and enjoyable experience, but that some of the outcomes might inform how the Research Councils UK programme moves forward.’

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