Christ Church GCR Attend the Festival of Ideas at Ditchley Park

Christ Church GCR was amongst a group of Oxford college graduate common rooms invited by Balliol College's Holywell Manor Graduate Community and the Ditchley Foundation to a Festival of Ideas at Ditchley Park in Oxfordshire on Saturday 15 July.

The Festival of Ideas consisted of a day-long event featuring talks and panel discussions involving high-profile speakers from a wide range of disciplines and careers, with the aim of bringing together a group of leading academics and professionals, along with active and engaged graduate students, to exchange ideas and experiences.

The focus of the talks and panel discussions was ‘Future human: adapting to our ever-changing world’, allowing for debate on a wide range of global issues, including artificial intelligence, climate change, the future of employment, and identity politics. Alongside speakers and debates, there was also music and outdoor activities, followed by a drinks reception in the gardens of Ditchley Park.

Speakers included Mike Halsall (Singularity University), Elizabeth Linder (Founder and CEO of The Conversational Century; founder of Facebook’s Politics & Government division for Europe, Middle East and Africa; Global Communications & Public Policy for Google/YouTube), Jami Miscik (co-CEO at Kissinger Associates; served as a security advisor to President Obama), Susan Schneider (Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, with research focussing on the nature of the self and mind, especially in relation to AI, ethics and cognitive science), and Charlie Singlehurst (Founding partner of Katana Capital and former head of corporate strategy at Microsoft).

Luc Campanelli, president of Christ Church GCR, commented, “The event was a great success and an amazing example of the cultivation and exchange of ideas for which Oxford is known. It was an insightful and rewarding experience being able to interact with people from a wide range of disciplines to discuss and examine issues that are central to humanity and our social and governing structures – on both a local and a global scale.”

James Arroyo, Director of the Ditchley Foundation, stated that the event was a great success, and that they would look into turning it into a yearly initiative.

The Ditchley Foundation aims to bring together leaders and experts from around the world to discuss and form views on major international issues, helping to shape policy. The Foundation was set up by Sir David Willis in 1958, with the aims of advancing international learning and bringing together experts from both the UK and North America to discuss international issues, and in doing so to promote Anglo-American understanding. In recent years the conferences run by the Ditchley Foundation have broadened in scope, now encompassing the concerns and participation of countries around the world, and aiming to improve policy approaches and problem-solving in relation to a wide range of national issues.