Festival of Politics: second day of ‘seeing the world differently’


 The second day of debate at the Festival of Politics starts with Muslim Women – Freedom, Femininity and Faith (10.30 - 12.00), where a panel discuss freedom, femininity and faith for Muslim Women. Chair and Editor of Holyrood Magazine Mandy Rhodes will be joined by journalist and author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who advocates and reclaims female human rights and freedoms in her book Refusing the Veil; and Smina Akhtar, Director of Amina, the Muslim Women’s Resource Centre


Who Will Win America? (11.00 - 12.30) will analyse the current state of the Democrat and Republican campaigns and the likely outcomes of the U.S.elections in 2016. The Chair will be Sarah Smith, presenter of Scotland 2015 on BBC2 Scotland and former Washington Correspondent for Channel 4 News. Panellists include Jason Boxt, U.S. pollster and communications and political strategist; Robert Moran, U.S. pollster and political strategist; and Glenn Thrush, Senior Staff Writer for Politico and White House correspondent.

Building a Peaceful Future after Genocide (13.30 - 15.00) will ask how do we build peace, unity and reconciliation in a region when genocide has taken place? Chair Mark Muller Stuart QC, human rights lawyer and founder of Beyond Borders, will be joined by a panel exploring impacts of genocide through their experiences and examine the paths towards forgiveness, restoration and a new peaceful future. Panellists: Allan Little, former BBC special correspondent; Dr Marko Hoare, Associate Professor, Kingston University, London, author and former war crimes investigator; and Professor Alan Miller, Scottish Human Rights Commissioner.

Privacy or National Security - have Spy Agencies gone too far? (11:30 - 13:00)
Is terrorism being used as an excuse to curtail our personal liberties? Are we content that our intelligence services are operating within laws that are fit for purpose? Join Chair Professor Alex Danchev, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews, to discuss these issues with panellists Luke Harding, Guardian journalist and author of The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man; Nigel Inkster, The International Institute for Strategic Studies; and Professor Alan Miller, Scottish Human Rights Commissioner.

What are the Public Service Challenges for Scotland? (13:00 to 14:45) When the Scottish Parliament was created 15 years ago, Scotland was given full control over key services from health to education and increased control on finance and services. Chair and BBC journalist Glenn Campbell will be joined by a panel of experts to examine the challenges faced by the public services in a post-referendum Scotland.
Panellists include microbiologist and former Principal of University of Strathclyde, Sir John Arbuthnott; scientist Professor Hugh Pennington; and General Secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Professor Alan Alexander; Professor Jo Armstrong, economist and Dr John Gillies, past Chair of Royal College of GPs (Scotland), member of the Edinburgh University Global Health Academy

Brian Cox in Conversation (13:30 - 14:30) Acclaimed Scottish actor Brian Cox CBE joins the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer in conversation as they explore his long and successful career on stage and screen.

Currently Rector at the University of Dundee, Brian Cox’s career ranges from his critically acclaimed portrayals of Titus Andronicus, Petruchio and King Lear for the Royal Shakespeare Company to television, radio and many movies including Manhunter, Braveheart, Troy and The Bourne Supremacy. Next month he will star in a new production of Waiting for Godot for the 50th Anniversary of Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre.

Brian Cox is also Patron of The University of Dundee The Peto Collection. More than 40 political portraits from The Peto Collection by the Hungarian photojournalist Michael Peto are currently on display in the Parliament until August 22.

All the President’s Men (15) (18:30 - 21:30) There will be a film screening of All the President’s Men followed by a short discussion.

Freedom of Speech (13:30 - 15:00) In the aftermath of the attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo this year which themselves triggered worldwide verbal, written and physical attacks, defenders of freedom of speech were challenged to redefine and reconsider whether that position does have its limits. Join Chair Peter MacMahon, Political Editor, ITV Border and panellists Terry Anderson, Scottish Cartoon Art Studio; Jason Boxt, U.S. pollster; and Smina Akhtar, Director of Amina.

What happened to the Arab Spring? (15:30 - 17:00) In 2011, the social and economic realities of the Middle East caught up with the static political system and led to what has come known as the Arab Spring. Four years later, how has the Arab Spring affected the social and economic realities of the region? Join our Chair, former BBC special correspondent Allan Little to discuss some of the issues. Panellists include Dr Anthony Gorman, Co-Programme Director of International Relations of the Middle East, University of Edinburgh, Kate Nevens, Head of Middle East & North Africa, Saferworld; and Dr Vida Hamd, Policy Officer for Political and Humanitarian Affairs, Embassy of Netherlands in Beirut.

Education as a Global Business (16:00 - 17:30) With Scottish universities establishing branches across the globe, students referred to as ‘customers’ and thousands of former students ready to dig deep, has education taken one step too far into the world of big business? Join Chair Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal, Robert Gordon University and panellists Robert Moran, U.S. pollster and political strategist; Professor Leslie Young, Professor of Economics, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, Beijing; and Amy McDermott, University of Stirling Students’ Union President.

Professor Michael J Sandel Public Service and the Future of Democracy (16:00 - 17:30) Hailed as the most popular political philosopher of his generation and a legend in the lecture hall who regularly draws audiences of thousands, Professor Michael J Sandel will give a keynote speech on the subject of Public Service and the Future of Democracy followed by a question and answer session chaired by the Presiding Officer.

The Harvard professor is one of the best known American public intellectuals. His Harvard lectures fascinate students eager to discuss the big questions of modern political life: bioethics, torture, rights versus responsibilities, the value we put on things. He is famed for his course Justice, which he has delivered for two decades and is now available as a 12-part TV series with companion website and book: Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? In his newest book, What Money Can’t Buy, he challenges the idea that markets are morally neutral.

His on-going series The Public Philosopher can be heard on BBC Radio 4, which also broadcast his Reith Lectures in 2009. His programme Justice: A Citizen’s Guide to the 21st Century was seen on BBC Four, and he has taken his electrifying lectures on a global tour across five continents to great acclaim. In 2010, China Newsweek named him the “most influential foreign figure of the year” in China.

“His desire to pay testament to all shades of opinion is what transforms his lectures from an intellectual presentation into a civic event. If politics often leaves us feeling bad, Sandel is a political philosopher who makes us think about what it means to be good.” The Observer

The Festival of Politics’ Youth Café opens this year with a non-stop offering of free events.

Young people aged 14+ can choose to chat and chill; enjoy the music, dance and performance poetry acts, or be inspired to book a free place on one of the bite-sized workshops. They can choose from a number of 30 minute workshops that will run throughout the afternoon. From vlogging to filmmaking, cartooning, and even top tips on being a performance poet.

Award-winning author Cathy MacPhail (14:00 - 15:00) will talk about her teen thriller Mosi’s War and the process of adapting her novel About Me into the film Panda Eyes starring Games of Thrones star Sophie Turner.

The Buzz Project bus will be parked outside the Scottish Parliament, where young people can try their hand at being the next Mark Ronson courtesy of a state-of-the-art recording studio. The bus is the place to learn how to read, write, play, record and mix music.

Running alongside the Festival of Politics sessions, the Café Bar offers a heady mix of music, comedy and poetry. Usually the preserve of MSPs and their guests, the Scottish Parliament’s Garden Lobby will once again be transformed into a vibrant space where people can relax and enjoy the Festival atmosphere. Visitors can also browse a display of political cartoons by the Edinburgh Evening News’ Frank Boyle.

Today’s line-up in the café bar is:

Cileas McMaster (12:00 - 12:45) is an 18 year old singer who has already wowed the likes of Twin Atlantic with her gorgeous vocals.
The Blueswater (13:30 - 14:15) bring the sounds of old-school Chicago rhythm and blues to the Festival Café Bar.
Mini Jackers (14:15 - 14:35) raise the roof with their vibrant hip-hop and house dance routines.
The Sikh Sanjog Dancers (15:00 - 15:10) bring their inimitable brand of fired-up Bollywood Funk to Holyrood for one day only.
Yew (15:30 - 16:00) is a young singer-songwriter who beguiled audiences at the Holyrood Rocks launch event in May.
Rally & Broad (16:30 - 17:30) have been described as “a beacon of brilliance on the live lit scene.” Expect performance, poetry and music.


Now in its eleventh year, the Festival of Politics takes place at the Scottish Parliament from Friday 15th August to Sunday 17th August. The three-day festival is looking outwards with an international theme for 2015 that will inspire you to see the world differently.

Programme availability and tickets
• Online via www.festivalofpolitics.org.uk
• A limited number of tickets are available via the Scottish Parliament in person and via telephone on 0131 348 5200.

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