Gates Cambridge Scholars to speak at inaugural Cambridge Festival

  • March 23, 2021
Gates Cambridge Scholars to speak at inaugural Cambridge Festival

Scholars will speak on subjects ranging from the health impact of climate change to the future of democracy

Several Gates Cambridge Scholars will be taking part in the inaugural Cambridge Festival which starts on Friday.

The online Festival, which runs from 26th March to 4th April, brings together the Cambridge Science Festival and the Festival of Ideas to host an extensive programme of over 350 events that tackle many critical global challenges affecting us all. Coordinated by the University of Cambridge, the Festival features hundreds of prominent figures and experts in the world of science, current affairs and the arts, and has four key themes: health, environment, society and explore.

It features a Gates Cambridge panel event on how climate change will affect our health on 2nd April [1-2pm] as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Gates Cambridge scholarship. Kim van Daalen [2018] will talk about her research on and advocacy for climate change and health, including her contribution to The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change; environmental design consultant and lecturer Dr Nkatha Gichuyia [2011] will speak about how architecture/building design can lessen the health impact of global warming; Ramit Debnath [2018] will talk about his research on housing and energy conservation in India, Brazil and Nigeria; and Reetika Subramanian [2019] will talk about her research on climate migration in India and the knock-on effect on girls’ health. The event will be chaired by Gates Cambridge Trustee Professor Bhaskar Vira.

Leor Zmigrod [2016] will be speaking about her research on political neuroscience in a panel event entitled Democracy in an age of upheaval. She will talk about how technology disables and enables democracy and about the challenge of toxic ideologies and online extremism. Her talk will be centred around her research into the psychological cognitive processes that lend themselves to extremism and the ways that algorithms are being used to target the most vulnerable.

Other speakers include David Runciman, professor of politics at the University of Cambridge, Sharath Srinivasan, David and Elaine Potter Lecturer in Governance and Human Rights in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge and Nina Schick, broadcaster and author, who specialises in how technology and artificial intelligence are reshaping society. The event takes place on 29th March from 6-7pm.

Kamiar Mohaddes [2005], a macroeconomist at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, will be speaking in a panel discussion entitled Why has it taken so long for us to take climate change seriously? on 28th March [1-2pm]. He will be joined by author and environmental journalist Fred Pearce, dramaturg Zoë Svendsen and Rob Doubleday, Executive Director of Cambridge University’s Centre for Science and Policy.

Cameron Taylor [2009] has organised an event on how to promote peaceful dialogue. Learning New Perspectives – Healing Polarisation. Creating Hope in Dialogue features Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury; Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre; and Christian Picciolini, author of Breaking Hate: Confronting the New Culture of Extremism and founder of the Free Radicals Project, which he set up after he moved away from the world of white supremacy and racist hatred.  29th March [4-5.15pm].

Shehu Abdussalam [2005], an expert in Theoretical Physics at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran will feature in the panel  Hidden figures in Cambridge mathematics which talks to past Black Mathematics graduates from the University of Cambridge about their careers and how their work has influenced governments, shaped future leaders, created wealth and made a real difference to society. The event will be chaired by Dr Nira Chamberlain, President of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications. 3rd April [11.30-1pm].

To find out more, go to www.festival.cam.ac.uk. It is advisable to pre-book for some of the events so check individual events. All events are free and will be posted on the University of Cambridge’s Youtube channel.

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