Our Speakers

We have an exciting line-up of speakers for our Leaders' Summit and Big Tent Ideas Festival 2021: Healthier, Cleaner, Creative Growth to Build Back Better from across political and non-political divides. We will be updating this page as more speakers are confirmed.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The Rt Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng MP

Kwasi is the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and has been the Conservative Member of Parliament for Spelthorne since 2010.

Kwasi Kwarteng was appointed Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 8 January 2021.

He was previously Minister of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Kwasi was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Exiting the European Union from 16 November 2018 to 24 July 2019.

Kwasi read classics and history at Trinity College, Cambridge, and then attended Harvard University on a Kennedy Scholarship. He earned a PhD in economic history from the University of Cambridge in 2000.

Before becoming a Member of Parliament, Kwasi worked as an analyst in financial services.

Kwasi was elected the Conservative MP for Spelthorne in 2010. From 2010 until 2013 he was a member of the Transport Select Committee, and in 2013 he joined the Work and Pensions Select Committee where he was a member until 2015.

In October 2016 Kwasi joined the Public Accounts Committee, where he was a member until May 2017.

In 2015 Kwasi was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the House of Lords, and in 2017 he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Shadow Minister, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Stephen Kinnock MP

Stephen Kinnock is the Labour MP for Aberavon, and has been an MP continuously since 7 May 2015. He currently undertakes the role of Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs).

Stephen Kinnock is the Labour MP for Aberavon. He was born in Tredegar in 1970, and has kept strong and continuing links to South Wales throughout his life. He joined the Labour Party when he was 15 and is a proud member of Community trade union and the Co-operative Party.

Following comprehensive school he went to Cambridge University to study modern languages, and then he won a scholarship to the College of Europe in Bruges, where he did an MA in European Studies.

As Director of the British Council in Brussels, Russia and Sierra Leone, Stephen worked to develop opportunities for education and access to British values and culture, and at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, as Director for Europe and Central Asia, he campaigned to make sure that the big companies understood their responsibilities to working people. Immediately before becoming an MP Stephen was a Managing Director at the UK office of Xynteo, helping major multi-national companies to improve their energy performance, efficiency and to deliver on their obligations to the community.

Stephen speaks five languages fluently, and is highly experienced as a senior executive in motivating and mobilising teams in negotiation and representation. Throughout his career he’s worked to secure progressive economic, social and environmental objectives.

West Midlands Mayor

Andy Street

Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands on May 4 2017. The primary function of the role is to chair the West Midlands Combined Authority and brings with it significant powers over transport, housing, skills and jobs.

Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands on May 4 2017. The primary function of the role is to chair the West Midlands Combined Authority and brings with it significant powers over transport, housing, skills and jobs.

Before becoming Mayor, Andy combined a career with John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with a host of high-profile economic development roles, working with local and national government.

Starting on the John Lewis graduate scheme, Andy rose through the ranks to become Managing Director, overseeing one of the most successful periods in the company’s history.

He was the Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership between 2011 and 2016, helping to build the relationships that have underpinned the economic growth of the region. Additionally, he has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.

Outside of work, Andy is passionate about the arts, particularly in the West Midlands, having previously served as Vice Chairman of Performances Birmingham Limited, which is responsible for running the City’s Symphony and Town Halls.

In June 2015, Andy was awarded the CBE for services to the national economy. He was named the ‘Most Admired Leader’ of the year by business magazine, Management Today in 2014. He received the ‘President’s award’ from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in for his work in the region. He holds three honorary degrees, from Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Birmingham.

Starting on the John Lewis graduate scheme, Andy rose through the ranks to become managing director, overseeing one of the most successful periods in the company’s history.

He was also chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) between 2011 and 2016, helping to build the relationships that have underpinned the economic growth of the region.

Additionally, he has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.

Outside of work, Andy is passionate about the arts, particularly in the West Midlands, having previously served as vice chairman of Performances Birmingham Limited, which is responsible for running the city’s Symphony and Town Halls.

In June 2015, Andy was awarded the CBE for services to the national economy. He was named ‘Most Admired Leader’ by business magazine, Management Today in 2014 and received the ‘President’s award’ from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce for his work in the region. He holds three honorary degrees from Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Birmingham.

Chief Operating Officer, Invest Africa

Veronica Bolton Smith

Veronica has 17 years of Africa-focused trade and investment experience. She brings extensive knowledge of UK-Africa trade relations, developing off-grid and renewable energy solutions and international development advisory experience.

Veronica has 17 years of Africa-focused trade and investment experience. She brings extensive knowledge of UK-Africa trade relations, developing off-grid and renewable energy solutions and international development advisory experience. Veronica is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Invest Africa, a global membership platform connecting investors in investment opportunities on the continent. Veronica is responsible for building and strengthening relationships among high-level government representatives in order to create and broaden opportunities for investment in Africa.

Previous roles Veronica has held include United Nations, the Department of International Development, the Houses of Parliament, a silver circle law firm and Ministry of Defence, Kenya among others.

Veronica’s passion is to foster growth through trade and investment in Sub-Saharan African nations and was recently recognised by the United Nations as a Top 100 Most Influential Person of African Descent in Business. Veronica is an advisory board member of Akojo Market.

Senior Policy & Advocacy Advisor, The HALO Trust

Chris Loughran

Chris is Senior Policy & Advocacy Advisor for The HALO Trust, where he leads HALO’s UK and global policy and political engagement strategy. Chris has 20 years’ experience in the not-for profit and public sectors, including at senior leadership level.

Chris is Senior Policy & Advocacy Advisor for The HALO Trust, where he leads HALO’s UK and global policy and political engagement strategy. Chris has 20 years’ experience in the not-for profit and public sectors, including at senior leadership level. He has previously worked in Whitehall and in the Middle East, South/South East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Chris is an Honorary Fellow at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute in the University of Manchester. He is also a Trustee of Platfform, Wales’s leading mental health and system change charity and the Association of British Orchestras.

Chief Executive, Outdoor Industries Association

Andrew Denton

Andrew Denton has been working in Outdoor Recreation since 1984, starting in outdoor education then moving to a series of senior management and business ownership roles with brands such as Rohan, Mountain Equipment, Sprayway, Ronhill and many more. He is best known as the founder and co-owner of the modern Mountain Equipment brand where he worked for 17 years.

Andrew Denton has been working in Outdoor Recreation since 1984, starting in outdoor education then moving to a series of senior management and business ownership roles with brands such as Rohan, Mountain Equipment, Sprayway, Ronhill and many more.

He is best known as the founder and co-owner of the modern Mountain Equipment brand where he worked for 17 years.

Today he is CEO of the Outdoor Industries Association the non-profit body that represents the UK Outdoor Recreation sector to government and across the world. He is Secretary General of the European Outdoor Group Coalition ‘Its Great Out There’ - based in Brussels to increase Outdoor activity in Europe. He is the Chair of the Sheffield Outdoor City project, sits on The Wild Network council, the OutDoor by ISPO Advisory Board and is the Outdoor Representative on the UK Active Membership Council.
In 2015 Andrew was appointed by the Sports Minister to co-chair a committee to contribute a national outdoor recreation strategy to the government’s sport strategy paper Sporting Future.

He sits on steering groups & committees, both government and NGO on outdoor recreation, working with DCMS, PHE, Sport England and others.

As well as the non-profit sector Andrew works as an independent commercial business consultant & coach and co-owns several climbing walls.

He is an accomplished ski mountaineer, mountain biker and GB Ironman triathlete, with first ascents in Patagonia, the Arctic & Antarctica and a broad background of outdoor adventures across the world.

Chief Executive, Radix

Ben Rich

Ben Rich is the Chief Executive of Radix, the think tank of the radical centre, which focusses on challenging conventional thinking, promoting innovative ideas and delivering systemic change.

Ben Rich is the Chief Executive of Radix, the think tank of the radical centre, which focusses on challenging conventional thinking, promoting innovative ideas and delivering systemic change.
He served as Chief of Staff to then Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Farron MP, Chief Executive of the Movement for Reform Judaism and was previously a partner at public relations firm Luther Pendragon, where he was an adviser to the Home Office and the Cabinet Office, to blue chip companies such as British Gas, and to successful campaigns such as the one to introduce televised Prime Ministerial debates in 2010 and, more recently, to establish civil partnerships for all across England and Wales.
Partner & Joint Head of Birmingham Office, Shoosmiths

Beth McArdle

Beth is a real estate partner and joint head of Shoosmiths’ Birmingham office. Beth specialises in providing strategic, commercial real estate advice to occupiers and has a keen interest in developing new, customised ways of working that offer complete transparency and enhance the client experience.

Beth is a real estate partner and joint head of Shoosmiths’ Birmingham office. Beth specialises in providing strategic, commercial real estate advice to occupiers and has a keen interest in developing new, customised ways of working that offer complete transparency and enhance the client experience. Beth has a particular focus on retail, having acted for national retailers on the full spectrum of real estate requirements for over 17 years, in a range of locations and concepts.
CEO, Restitution

Katherine Mulhern

Katherine is the CEO of Restitution, a first-in-market global litigation impact funder that funds asset recovery and support for emerging, transparency-focused governments in their fight against corruption. Katherine is a senior lawyer with significant experience in transparency, accountability and governance.

Katherine is the CEO of Restitution, a first-in-market global litigation impact funder that funds asset recovery and support for emerging, transparency-focused governments in their fight against corruption. Katherine is a senior lawyer with significant experience in transparency, accountability and governance. A former investigator for an African truth and reconciliation commission, Katherine was a senior law firm partner in private practice, the chief executive officer of three leading development organizations based in West Africa, the UK and the United States, and a consultant for governments (including donor governments) on transparency, anti-bribery and anti-corruption and governance. In her role as chief executive officer and as a consultant, Katherine has provided legal advice and support to the ministries of justice and finance, and the office of the president of emerging democratic governments (including Iraq, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, The Gambia, Guyana, Kenya and others) on a variety of technical legal issues, including in relation to anti-bribery and anti-corruption, asset tracing and enforcement.
Co-Chair of Bite Back 2030's Youth Board

Dev Sharma

Dev Sharma is Co-Chair of Bite Back 2030's Youth Board, he is 16 and from Leicester. He believes child health should be prioritised by the food system and that change is needed to make it fairer and healthier if we are to end the child obesity crisis.

He is 16 and from Leicester. He believes child health should be prioritised by the food system and that change is needed to make it fairer and healthier if we are to end the child obesity crisis. Dev is also MYP for Leicester and in 2020 was given a Diana Award for his campaigning activity.
Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding

Jess Phillips MP

Jess Phillips is a Labour Party politician who became the MP for the constituency of Birmingham Yardley at the 2015 general election.

Jess Phillips is a Labour Party politician who became the MP for the constituency of Birmingham Yardley at the 2015 general election.
Jess has committed her life to improving the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable. Before becoming an MP, Jess worked for Women’s Aid in the West Midlands developing services for victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence, human trafficking and exploitation. She became a councillor in 2012, in this role she worked tirelessly to support residents, with her work being recognised when she became Birmingham's first ever Victims Champion.
Since becoming an MP, Jess has continued her fight to support those who need it the most and has earned a reputation for plain speaking since being elected, unfazed by threats and calling out sexist attitudes as she promotes women’s rights.
Jess has written two bestselling books ‘Everywoman One Woman’s Truth About Speaking The Truth’ and ‘Truth to Power: 7 Ways to Call Time on BS’. Both books reflect her commitment to speaking up and having the courage to have your voice heard and make a difference.
MP for Birmingham, Hodge Hill

The Rt Hon. Liam Byrne MP

The Rt Hon. Liam Byrne MP is the Shadow Mayor for the West Midlands, MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, Chair of the Global Parliamentary Network of the IMF & World Bank, and Gwilym Gibbon Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.

The Rt Hon. Liam Byrne MP is the Shadow Mayor for the West Midlands, MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, Chair of the Global Parliamentary Network of the IMF & World Bank, and Gwilym Gibbon Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.

A former Cabinet minister, Liam undertook some of the toughest jobs in the last Labour Government at the Home Office, in 10 Downing Street where as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, he coordinated cross-government programmes to combat the Great Financial Crisis, and in Her Majesty’s Treasury where, as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, he designed Labour’s fiscal consolidation strategy. In Opposition, Liam served in a number of frontbench positions, chaired Labour’s Policy Review, founded and chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth, and served on the Council of Europe.

A former Fulbright scholar at the Harvard Business School, Liam has written twenty books, chapters and pamphlets about economic history, development and foreign affairs. His history of British capitalism Dragons: Ten Entrepreneurs Who Built Britain was published in 2016. He is also the author of Black Flag Down: Counter Extremism, Defeating ISIS and Winning the Battle of Ideas; and Turning to Face the East: How Britain Prospers in the Asian Century. Liam is one of Westminster’s leading authorities on China. He helped kickstart the Economic & Finance Dialogue, co-founded the UK-China Young Leader’s Roundtable, and helps anchor the UK-China Leadership for the Future Forum.

Member of Parliament for Stratford on Avon, Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment / Minister for Business & Industry

Nadhim Zahawi MP

In January 2018 Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Nadhim as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families at the Department for Education. He held this position until July 2019 when he was appointed by Boris Johnson as Minister for Business and Industry at BEIS. In November 2020, Nadhim was also made Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment.

Nadhim was born in Baghdad to Kurdish parents in 1967. Under threat of persecution from Saddam Hussein’s regime, his family immigrated to the UK when he was 9. He grew up in Sussex and was educated at King’s College School in West London and University College London where he studied Chemical Engineering.

In 2000 he founded YouGov, a leading market research company which has since become famous for the accuracy of its political polling. Having started life in an office in Nadhim’s garden shed, YouGov now employs over 400 people on three continents. He floated the company on the London Stock Exchange in 2005 and was named Entrepreneur of the year by Ernst & Young in 2008.

In January 2010 he stood down from YouGov to run for election as Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon. Upon winning the seat, Nadhim was elected to the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, which scrutinises the impact of government policy on business.

In 2011 he co-authored Masters of Nothing with fellow MP Matt Hancock. The book is an account of the human behaviour behind the banking crash and ends with policy recommendations designed to prevent a future crisis. Several of these recommendations were adopted by the Coalition Government.

In 2013 he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Policy Board with special responsibility for business and the economy, and then in November 2015 he was appointed by David Cameron as the Prime Minister’s Apprenticeship Adviser. In June 2014 he was elected to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, which examines the Government's foreign policy. Nadhim was re-elected to this select committee in 2015 and 2017.

In January 2018 Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Nadhim as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families at the Department for Education. He held this position until July 2019 when he was appointed by Boris Johnson as Minister for Business and Industry at BEIS. In November 2020, Nadhim was also made Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment.

Head of Green Renewal, Green Alliance

Sam Alvis

Sam is head of Green Renewal at Green Alliance, leading their work on a sustainable economy. He is also a member of Chatham House’s Panel of Young Advisors, advising on youth strategy and climate.

Sam is head of Green Renewal at Green Alliance, leading their work on a sustainable economy. He is also a member of Chatham House’s Panel of Young Advisors, advising on youth strategy and climate. Before joining Green Alliance Sam was a Senior Advisor to Tony Blair, as well as lead on Brexit and Industrial Strategy for the Wellcome Trust. Prior to this, he worked for the Shadow Treasury team in Parliament. Outside of work Sam is a school governor, charity trustee and mentor with the Social Mobility Foundation. He holds a MSc in Climate Change.

In 2000 he founded YouGov, a leading market research company which has since become famous for the accuracy of its political polling. Having started life in an office in Nadhim’s garden shed, YouGov now employs over 400 people on three continents. He floated the company on the London Stock Exchange in 2005 and was named Entrepreneur of the year by Ernst & Young in 2008.

In January 2010 he stood down from YouGov to run for election as Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon. Upon winning the seat, Nadhim was elected to the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, which scrutinises the impact of government policy on business.

In 2011 he co-authored Masters of Nothing with fellow MP Matt Hancock. The book is an account of the human behaviour behind the banking crash and ends with policy recommendations designed to prevent a future crisis. Several of these recommendations were adopted by the Coalition Government.

In 2013 he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Policy Board with special responsibility for business and the economy, and then in November 2015 he was appointed by David Cameron as the Prime Minister’s Apprenticeship Adviser. In June 2014 he was elected to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, which examines the Government's foreign policy. Nadhim was re-elected to this select committee in 2015 and 2017.

In January 2018 Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Nadhim as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families at the Department for Education. He held this position until July 2019 when he was appointed by Boris Johnson as Minister for Business and Industry at BEIS. In November 2020, Nadhim was also made Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment.

Director of Strategy, The HALO Trust

Camille Wallen

Camille leads HALO’s work on innovative finance, looking at applying different financing models to clearing landmines and linking post-conflict economic recovery work with trade, environment and economic diversification to support the resilience and prosperity of communities affected by conflict.

Camille leads HALO’s work on innovative finance, looking at applying different financing models to clearing landmines and linking post-conflict economic recovery work with trade, environment and economic diversification to support the resilience and prosperity of communities affected by conflict. Following ten years in mine action and development, as Director of Strategy, Camille currently oversees HALO’s strategic planning, government engagement, partnerships, monitoring and evaluation.
Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Coventry University

Dr Geoff Willcocks

Dr Geoff Willcocks is Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage at Coventry University. He is currently responsible for the development of the university’s cultural assets, external cultural profile, student cultural engagement and external partnership liaison with regional and national cultural and artistic bodies and organisations.

Dr Geoff Willcocks is Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage at Coventry University. He is currently responsible for the development of the university’s cultural assets, external cultural profile, student cultural engagement and external partnership liaison with regional and national cultural and artistic bodies and organisations. He was recently seconded to the Executive Committee of The Coventry City of Culture Trust as part of the successful 2021 bid team. During this time, he co-authored the city’s Ten-Year Cultural Strategy. His external positions include, Chair of Midlands Higher Education Culture Forum, Vice Chair of Historic Coventry Trust, Chair of Coventry’s Music Education Hub and Chair of the Cathedral Quarter Alliance. He founded both Coventry Dance and Coventry Music Trust. He has advised Art Council England on the role of Higher Education in UK Culture and is a board member for Ludic Rooms, Coventry’s Heritage Action Zone and Coventry’s Culture Compact.
Creative Director, Coventry UK City of Culture Trust

Chenine Bhathena

Chenine is the Creative Director the UK City of Culture in Coventry 2021.
She has overall responsibility for developing programmes, co-creation and community engagement and the development of national and international partnerships.

Chenine is the Creative Director the UK City of Culture in Coventry 2021.
She has overall responsibility for developing programmes, co-creation and community engagement and the development of national and international partnerships. Through the City of Culture programme she has shed a light on both local and global issues, utilising the power of culture to make change happen and ensure ‘culture for all’ is a core priority in the years to come.

Chenine is committed to building a cultural movement, harnessing community activism and creating initiatives that are joyful and celebratory, but with a strong social conscience and that can make change happen. She brings her own mixed heritage (British/Pakistani) background into all her work, to ensure that inclusion and difference are centre stage as we celebrate our rich wealth of cultures and perspectives.

Chenine comes to the Trust from the Greater London Authority where she led the Mayor’s Cultural Placemaking Team and conceived, designed and delivered the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture competition. As London 2012 Creative Programmer for the Olympics/Paralympics she led London’s biggest ever outdoor festival and at Arts Council England (London and national offices) she led strategic programmes for Outdoor Arts, producers, local authorities, young people and disability arts. Over the last five years she has made the case for embedding culture across city policy and invited artists and arts to go beyond their sphere and collaborate on major high street, housing and transport development schemes, including the Thames Estuary and The Royal Docks Enterprise Zone. She also initiated and led a range of high profile arts initiatives for the Mayor including Lumiere London 2016 and the Illuminated River.

Director of the Institute of Health Equity (UCL Department of Epidemiology & Public Health)

Professor Sir Michael G. Marmot MBBS, MPH, PhD, FRCP, FFPHM, FMedSci, FBA

Sir Michael Marmot has been Professor of Epidemiology at University College London since 1985. He is the author of The Health Gap: the challenge of an unequal world (Bloomsbury: 2015), and Status Syndrome: how your place on the social gradient directly affects your health (Bloomsbury: 2004).

Sir Michael Marmot has been Professor of Epidemiology at University College London since 1985. He is the author of The Health Gap: the challenge of an unequal world (Bloomsbury: 2015), and Status Syndrome: how your place on the social gradient directly affects your health (Bloomsbury: 2004). Professor Marmot is the Advisor to the WHO Director-General, on social determinants of health, in the new WHO Division of Healthier Populations; Distinguished Visiting Professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong (2019-), and co-Director of the of the CUHK Institute of Health Equity. He is the recipient of the WHO Global Hero Award; the Harvard Lown Professorship (2014-2017); the Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health (2015), and 19 honorary doctorates. Marmot has led research groups on health inequalities for nearly 50 years. He chaired the Commission on Equity and Health Inequalities in the Americas, set up in 2015 by the World Health Organization’s Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO/ WHO) and chaired the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), which was set up by the World Health Organization in 2005, and produced the report entitled: ‘Closing the Gap in a Generation’ in August 2008. At the request of the British Government, he conducted the Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010, which published its report 'Fair Society, Healthy Lives' in February 2010. This was followed by the European Review of Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide, for WHO EURO in 2014; Health Equity in England: Marmot Review 10 Years On, in 2020; Build Back Fairer: the COVID-19 Marmot Review in 2021; and the Report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, for WHO EMRO, also in 2021.

Professor Marmot also chaired the Expert Panel for the WCRF/AICR 2007 Second Expert Report on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective; the Breast Screening Review for the NHS National Cancer Action Team, and was a member of The Lancet-University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health. Early in his career, he set up and led a number of longitudinal cohort studies on the social gradient in health in the UCL Department of Epidemiology & Public Health (where he was head of department for 25 years): the Whitehall II Studies of British Civil Servants, investigating explanations for the striking inverse social gradient in morbidity and mortality; the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), and several international research efforts on the social determinants of health. He served as President of the British Medical Association (BMA) in 2010-2011, and as President of the World Medical Association in 2015. He is President of the British Lung Foundation. He is an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology; a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences; an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians. He was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution for six years and in 2000 he was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen, for services to epidemiology and the understanding of health inequalities. Professor Marmot is a Member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Co-Chair of Bite Back 2030's Youth Board

Christina Adane

Having grown up in a food desert, an area flooded with junk and with little access to healthy nutritious food, Christina campaigns for a fairer food system that meets the needs of every child no matter where they live.

Christina Adane is Co-Chair of Bite Back 2030's Youth Board, she is 17 and from Lambeth in London. Having grown up in a food desert, an area flooded with junk and with little access to healthy nutritious food, Christina campaigns for a fairer food system that meets the needs of every child no matter where they live. In 2020 she began the campaign to see Free School Meal support extended through the lockdown holidays. Her work saw her names as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Women of 2020 by the BBC.
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson, International Development

Layla Moran MP

Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs & International Development. MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.

Layla has been the Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon since 2017, when she defeated Nicola Blackwood (Conservative) by just 816 votes. She was re-elected two years later with an increased majority of 8,943.

She is the Liberal Democrats’ Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson, an issue that she is deeply passionate about having grown up around the world. She was previously, as an ex-teacher, the party’s education spokesperson.

Layla is also Chair of the All-Party Group on Coronavirus. She works cross-party with her APPG colleagues to hold the Government to account. The APPG's interim report was published in December 2020.
Once elected to Parliament, Layla got to work campaigning to tackle climate change, make our education system world-class and protecting and promoting internationalism.

Executive Chair, WMG

Margot James

Margot James has had a wide ranging career which has spanned working for the UK Government and as a business woman. Both in business and government Margot has championed the need to expand opportunities for diverse groups of young people.

Margot James has had a wide ranging career which has spanned working for the UK Government and as a business woman. Both in business and government Margot has championed the need to expand opportunities for diverse groups of young people.

Margot served as Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with responsibility for Digital, Telecoms and the Creative Industries, piloting the Data Protection Bill through Parliament, incorporating GDPR into UK law. Previously she served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with responsibility for small businesses, consumers and corporate governance, including labour markets.

Margot co-founded Shire Health Group and led its growth to over 100 staff, having created a market for industry sponsored public health campaigns. She led the successful transitioning of Shire Health Group to the multinational WPP in 2000.

She served on the Europe, Middle East and Africa Board of Ogilvy Mather, leading European healthcare programmes.

Founder, Big Tent Foundation

George Freeman MP

Founder of the civic renewal campaigns MindTheGap! (2002) and PositivePolitics (2004), before his election to Parliament in 2010 after a 15 year career helping launch, finance & manage high growth start-ups in in technology venture capital, George founded Big Tent in 2017 as an antidote to the divisive partisan politics.

Founder of the civic renewal campaigns MindTheGap! (2002) and PositivePolitics (2004), before his election to Parliament in 2010 after a 15 year career helping launch, finance & manage high growth start-ups in in technology venture capital, George founded Big Tent in 2017 as an antidote to the divisive partisan politics.

Former Minister of State for Decarbonisation and Digitisation at DfT, Former Minister for Life Science and Chair of the Prime Ministers Policy Board.

After leaving the front bench in 2020 George has been focussed on the politics of regeneration & renewal.

Professor of Systems Security, Director of Research, Institute for Future Transport and Cities (IFTC)

Siraj Ahmed Shaikh

Siraj Shaikh is a Professor of Systems Security at Coventry University, where he is also the Director of Research for the Institute for Future Transport and Cities (IFTC). He is interested in transport security and the narrative of risk.

Siraj Shaikh is a Professor of Systems Security at Coventry University, where he is also the Director of Research for the Institute for Future Transport and Cities (IFTC). He is interested in transport security and the narrative of risk. Siraj is also an entrepreneur, having co-founded CyberOwl that provides threat monitoring for the maritime sector across the world. Having been embedded in West Midlands for over a decade now, he is very interested in Coventry’s identity and heritage.
Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament and Member of Parliament for Leeds North East

Fabian Hamilton MP

Fabian Hamilton is the Labour Party’s Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament and Member of Parliament for Leeds North East. Since his election to the UK Parliament in 1997, Fabian has championed multilateral disarmament and international peacebuilding.

Fabian Hamilton is the Labour Party’s Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament and Member of Parliament for Leeds North East. Since his election to the UK Parliament in 1997, Fabian has championed multilateral disarmament and international peacebuilding.

Fabian is responsible for Labour Party policy on arms control, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and international peace agreements, such as those implemented in Cyprus and Colombia. He is married with three children and two grandchildren and is a keen cyclist and amateur photographer.

Co Founder, Gamewagon

John Lilley

John Lilley, Co Founder of Gamewagon and creator of the Junior Game Creators workshops and CEO of meetspaceVR will be leading a session that both demonstrates JGC’s unique approach to creative learning whilst passing on many of his experiences from class rooms all over the country where many traditional attempts at teaching children about coding and technology are just not in his view “fit for purpose”.

John Lilley, Co Founder of Gamewagon and creator of the Junior Game Creators workshops and CEO of meetspaceVR will be leading a session that both demonstrates JGC’s unique approach to creative learning whilst passing on many of his experiences from class rooms all over the country where many traditional attempts at teaching children about coding and technology are just not in his view “fit for purpose”. Junior Game Creators have ran 1000’s of session in schools mainly in the South East that help children develop so many other skills and talents not just the basics of coding. By tapping into children’s natural passion for video games, John and the team can show how kids can go from a blank sheet of paper to a fully functional game in around 10-12 hours of fun filled sessions, all of which are now fully available on line. These scratch based sessions teach so much more though that just the basics of computational thinking; they learn to plan, some basic physics, how to communicate and work with others, problem solving, elementary graphic design and audio. Not all of us are built to be coders but the workforce of tomorrow will need to understand how the creative process works and which bit of it they enjoy the most.

John will also talk about how he created a bursary at his current firm meetspaceVR that will pay for over 100 hours of free coaching we will be donating to a Coventry school to help teach children on free school meals and ask the employers of Coventry if they might be interested in creating similar bursaries to ensure Coventry’s workforce of tomorrow is ready for the undoubted creative challenges that lie ahead.

UK Advocacy Director, Eleanor Crook Foundation

Eleanor Hevey

Eleanor Hevey joined the Eleanor Crook Foundation in February 2021 as the UK Advocacy Director. Eleanor has more than 15 years’ experience as a senior advocate and strategist for leading multilateral and non-profit organizations.

Eleanor Hevey joined the Eleanor Crook Foundation in February 2021 as the UK Advocacy Director. Eleanor has more than 15 years’ experience as a senior advocate and strategist for leading multilateral and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining ECF, she served as the Head of Humanitarian Policy at the British Red Cross, leading policy, research and advocacy on international issues including food insecurity and famine prevention. She also served as the Head of Health and Resilience, leading domestic policy and thought-leadership on public health and major emergencies. Eleanor led international policy for UNICEF Canada and managed stakeholder relations for the Sick Kids Centre for Global Health, working on issues including global child health and nutrition, child protection and financing for global education. She is an accomplished advocate in multilateral processes and negotiations, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Compact for Safe Migration, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, among others. She has played an instrumental role in building coalitions and leading successful G7 and UNGA campaigns. She is passionate about multi stakeholder initiatives and has led a range of innovative finance and private-sector partnerships. Eleanor holds a BA in International Development Economics from UEA (Norwich, UK), and a Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Innovation from Harvard. She is currently completing an Executive MBA at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School and is the recipient of the 30% Club Oxford Women’s Scholarship.
Chief Executive Officer, NHSA

Séamus O’Neill

Dr Séamus O’Neill is the Chief Executive Officer of the NHSA. He is a highly experienced leader in the health sciences field with an impressive track record.

Dr Séamus O’Neill is the Chief Executive Officer of the NHSA. He is a highly experienced leader in the health sciences field with an impressive track record. He previously worked for the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for the North East and North Cumbria which he joined as founder CEO in 2012, recruiting its team and transforming cross-organisational working in the care system between the NHS, academia and industry. From November 2018 to August 2019, Seamus was the Chair of the AHSN Network, the group which convenes the work of the 15 AHSNs across England.

Prior to this he was a senior manager at the Northumberland Tyne and Wear NIHR Comprehensive Local Research Network and Research Manager at the University of Newcastle. He has a PhD in Genetics from Queen’s University, Belfast and has worked both as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Newcastle and as a clinical scientist in the NHS.

Executive Director of the Conservative Friends of Afghanistan

Shabnam Nasimi

Shabnam Nasimi is a British Afghan social and political activist and writer. She is the Executive Director of the Conservative Friends of Afghanistan.

Shabnam Nasimi is a British Afghan social and political activist and writer. She is the Executive Director of the Conservative Friends of Afghanistan. She has been instrumental in raising awareness of the humanitarian and development situation in Afghanistan and conflict zones.

Her professional experience has included working in Afghanistan to deliver a UKAid funded project of getting more girls into education, working for counter-terrorism within the Home Office and supporting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. She is also a leading commentator in international media on Afghanistan and international development – particularly surrounding women's rights and related issues.

PhD Student, University of Cambridge and former Board member, Big Tent Ideas Festival

Dolly Theis

Dolly Theis is completing her PhD in evidence-based policy at the MRC Epidemiology Unit in the University of Cambridge. Prior to her PhD, Dolly led the childhood obesity and grassroots sport research at the Centre for Social Justice think tank and was a parliamentary researcher in the House of Lords.

Dolly Theis is completing her PhD in evidence-based policy at the MRC Epidemiology Unit in the University of Cambridge. Prior to her PhD, Dolly led the childhood obesity and grassroots sport research at the Centre for Social Justice think tank and was a parliamentary researcher in the House of Lords. Dolly co-founded 50:50 Parliament's cross-party #AskHerToStand campaign which helps women get selected and elected. She is an ambassador of military veterans charity Forward Assist and ex-offenders employment charity Tempus Novo. Between 2018 and 2020 Dolly ran the programme for and was a board member of the cross-party Big Tent Ideas Festival.

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Coventry UK City of Culture 2021

Coventry is UK City of Culture 2021. This is the city where movement began, from innovation in the transport industry to a history of activism. The city has moved people for centuries. For a whole year, the city will be celebrated with events, music, dance, theatre, and large-scale spectacle.

Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 is co-created with the people of Coventry and brings about long-term social, economic and cultural benefits.

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