Citizenship debate kicks off popular London lecture series

Palace of Westminster

The first of six high-profile talks to celebrate 50th anniversary of the University of Sussex takes place today (20 October) at the Royal Institution in London.

Each discussion features a range of prominent speakers who are leading thinkers and commentators in their fields and draws on one of the Sussex research themes as its inspiration.

The series commences with the subject of Citizenship and Democratisation and will ask how a citizen's rights and responsibilities are evolving.

The speakers will look at how we can develop an idea of citizenship that is adaptive, resilient and responsive to threats to our security while protecting our liberties.

Chaired by Thomas S. Blanton, Director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington DC, it features Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty and Professor David Clary, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - both of whom are honorary graduates of Sussex - as well as Nick Witney, the first Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency.

The discussants from the University, who will respond to and develop the ideas and issues raised by the external speakers, are Dr Tarik Kochi, Senior Lecturer in Law and International Security at the Centre for Social and Political Thought; Robert Prance, Professor of Sensor Technology in the School of Engineering and Design; and Craig Barker, Professor of Law at the Law, Justice and Violence Research Centre. 

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, says: "The line-up of external and internal speakers we have for these events shows our impact and reach. Taking this interdisciplinary approach, we are demonstrating how Sussex can contribute distinctively to real-world challenges."

The series of six events is being organised by the University's Development and Alumni Office as part of a year-long celebration of the University's 50th anniversary.

Marina Pedreira-Vilarino, Director of Development, says: "These events provide a great opportunity to showcase the University. Our alumni, friends and donors can see the contribution that Sussex is making to society in the 21st century."

The Conversations, free and open to the public, are already proving highly popular, with few spaces left to book on any of the talks. Places at each event are being reserved for Sussex students, to ensure that they can benefit from engaging in high-calibre discussion.

For those that can't make the event, there will be opportunity to watch soon after, as the University's Media Technology team will be filming the event. All the Conversations will be available as hour-long programmes to be viewed online and via other media.

Notes for Editors

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune and Jacqui Bealing. Tel: 01273 678 888. Email:

View press releases online at:


Last updated: Thursday, 20 October 2011