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Festival launch night: International diplomats, political commentators and conflict specialists travel to York to discuss world’s response to global crises

Posted on 29 May 2014

An international line-up of experts will debate whether the global response to events in the Middle East and Ukraine are appropriate or effective at the launch night of 2014’s York Festival of Ideas on 12 June.

The Crossroads of Conflict: The world’s response to global crises will include keynote speeches from James Rubin, former Assistant Secretary of State in the Clinton administration, and Sir Richard Dalton, former UK Ambassador to Iran and Libya. They will address whether the international response to global crises is working, and the USA’s role in peacekeeping and military intervention.

Following this, Mr Rubin and Sir Richard will join a panel debate which will also feature Lyse Doucet, the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent and Professor Sultan Barakat, Director of the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) at the University of York. The event will be chaired by Jonathan Derbyshire, Managing Editor at Prospect.

Joan Concannon, Director of the Festival and Director of External Relations at the University of York, said: “We are honoured that internationally respected speakers of the calibre of James Rubin, Sir Richard Dalton, Lyse Doucet and York academic Sultan Barakat have agreed to open the York Festival of Ideas and will provide a stimulating and thought provoking opening night for the Festival of Ideas.”

“The University of York, which leads on the organisation of the festival, plays a leading role in research in the areas of post-war conflict, human rights and social justice and guests will also have a chance to view an exhibition showcasing the University’s work in this area”.

Sponsored by the Holbeck Charitable Trust, the events take place from 6pm on Thursday 12 June at the University’s Ron Cooke Hub. Tickets are free and available from

Further information:

  • The fourth annual York Festival of Ideas features over 140 inspiring, varied and mostly free events taking place across the city and the University of York campus between 12 and 22 June around the theme of ‘order and chaos’. To see the full programme and to book tickets visit:

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