Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has led an incredible career in diplomacy, peacebuilding and human rights. He was the UN human rights chief from 2014-2018, was awarded the Stockholm prize for human rights in 2015 and the Tulip prize in 2018.  In January 2014, he served as president of the UN Security Council. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein about human rights, the role of diplomacy in our world, and why we so urgently need the tools of diplomacy and peacebuilding in our world right now.

Thought Economics

Hailed as a “modern day musical genius” by The Line of Best Fit, internationally renowned composer, pianist, producer and collaborator, Max Richter is one of today’s most influential artists. Through his ground-breaking works, captivating recordings and innovative performances, he has forged new paths in contemporary music and culture – garnering awards, critical acclaim and surpassing a billion streams and a million album sales. Richter’s distinct melodic language has allowed him to hold a series of bold, emotive and thought-provoking musical discussions. The latest of these is Voices­ – reacting to the political and social upheaval that has rippled through many societies around the globe over the past decade – a unique musical space in which to examine, question, absorb and meditate on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Max Richter about his music, and how the power of music can help educate us, and change the world.

Thought Economics

Baroness Ruth Hunt was the Chief Executive of Stonewall; the UK’s largest charity campaigning to improve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. In her fourteen years with the organisation, she worked with more than 700 organisations in the UK and globally, as well as with schools, grassroots campaigners, and senior government Ministers, and led high profile, impactful campaigns. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Ruth Hunt about the realities of discrimination against LGBT+ communities, and what we can do to move the needle forward, towards a more equitable and just society.

Thought Economics

Peter Tatchell is one of the most significant human rights, democracy, LGBT+ freedom and global justice campaigners of our generation. For over 50 years he has been campaigning for LGBT+ and other human rights an is currently the director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.  He has been described as “…a national hero” by the Sunday Times and “…a civil rights campaigner we can all applaud” by the Sunday Telegraph. In 2009, he co-proposed a UN Global Human Rights Index, to measure and rank the human rights record of every country – with the aim of creating a human rights league table to highlight the best and worst countries and thereby incentivise governments to clean up their record and improve their human rights ranking. He has proposed an internationally-binding UN Human Rights Convention enforceable through both national courts and the International Criminal Court; a permanent rapid-reaction UN peace-keeping force with the authority to intervene to stop genocide and war crimes; and a global agreement to cut military spending by 10 percent to fund the eradication of hunger, disease, illiteracy, unemployment and homelessness in the developing world. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Peter Tatchell about the injustices faced by the LGBT+ community, why it’s important to take a human rights approach to justice, and how we can move the needle forward on LGBT+ rights.

Thought Economics

Dexter Dias QC is an award-winning international human rights lawyer who has acted in some of the most high-profile cases in recent years involving freedom of expression, murder, crimes against humanity, terrorism, FGM and genocide.  He is a prize-winning scholar of Cambridge University, where he remains a Visiting Researcher, and was recently Visiting Fellow at Harvard.  His bestselling book The Ten Types of Human is based on his research into the interface between human rights and human psychology.  He was chief author of a report to Parliament that helped change the law on FGM to better safeguard thousands of at-risk girls in the UK.  He is Special Adviser on human rights to UNICEF UK, and Chair of the Global Media Campaign to End FGM.  He is advising the UN on a global social justice project around Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality, and is co-presenter and co-creator of The 100 Types of Human podcast. Twitter: @DexterDiasQC. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Dexter about the concept of race, and the reality of racism in our society.

Thought Economics

In this exclusive series of interviews, we speak to seven experts on conflict and peace building.  Four Nobel Peace Prize Winners; Prof. Jody Williams (Chair, Nobel Women’s Initiative), Dr. Shirin Ebadi (Human Rights Lawyer and Educator), President Maarti Ahtisaari (Former President, Finland and Founder of CMI – The Crisis Management Initiative), Lech Wałęsa (Former President, Poland) alongside Marina Cantacuzino (Founder, The Forgiveness Project), Ben Ferencz (Former Prosecutor, Nuremberg War Crimes Trial) and Bertie Ahern (Former Taoiseach – Irish Prime Minister).  We discuss the causes of war and conflict, the impact of these phenomena on society, and look at what it will take to achieve a world at peace.

Thought Economics

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist, and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels, and has had her work translated into fifty languages. She is a storyteller, and social commentator – holding a PhD in political science, and frequently being called-upon to give her views on the world’s most pressing issues. I caught up with Elif to learn more about her art, her writing, and how literature can change the world

Thought Economics

It took the unconscionable horrors of two World Wars to bring the international communities together to meaningfully define the rights of all individuals that existed from birth, irrespective of any factor such as race, sex, language, religion or nationality. We may feel intuitively that these are rights that should be shared and upheld by all nations, but the reality is rather different; and everywhere in the world, we find governments, corporations, and many others who subvert these basic rights of individuals and groups with devastating consequences.  To learn more about why our rights are being subverted around the world, and how Amnesty are working to fight these abuses, I spoke to Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Thought Economics

In this exclusive series of interviews from 2015-today, I spoke with the world’s foremost experts on inequality: Kate Gilmore (United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights), The Rt. Hon. The Lord Bird MBE (Founder & Editor in Chief, The Big Issue), Harry Leslie Smith (1923-2018 Activist, Survivor of the Great Depression and WWII RAF Veteran), Professor Sir Anthony Atkinson (1944-2017, Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford), Professor David Hulme (Executive Director of the University of Manchester Global Development Institute) , Professor Sir Michael Marmot  (Director of the Institute of Health Equity, University College London),  Baroness Onora O’Neill (Former Chair of the Equality and Human rights Commission) and Prof. Richard Wilkinson (Co-Founder of the Equality Trust).  We discuss the fundamental question of why inequality exists in our society, the impact it has on our world, and what we can do to fight it

Thought Economics

The greatest humanitarian crisis in history, is also the greatest crisis of our humanity.  To learn more about our global refugee and migration crisis, we speak to Gulwali Passarlay (Afghan refugee, author & Co-Founder of My Bright Kite), Professor François Crépeau (Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants), Pierre Krähenbühl (Commissioner General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine – UNRWA), Alexander Betts (Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, University of Oxford), Catherine Woollard (Secretary General, European Council on Refugees and Exiles, ECRE), Professor Michael Lynk (United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967), Dr. Hanan Ashrawi (PLO Executive Committee Member, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council & Founder of MIFTAH), Professor Noura Erakat (Human Rights Attorney & Activist) and Professor George Rupp (Former President of the International Rescue Committee, IRC).

Thought Economics

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