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      Addressing current global challenges

      Virtual Academic debate and discussion

      Amidst this period of global change and uncertainty, academics at Queen’s are at the heart of local, national and international efforts to expand our knowledge of the pandemic and in helping society to comprehend a way forward.

      Vibrant academic debate and discussion continues at Queen’s, virtually. Here we share a range of recent virtual conferences, podcasts and articles.

      Seamus Heaney's poetry, its impact and aspects of his life

      In conversation with...Professor Roy Foster

      In this podcast recorded in October 2020, Prof Richard English discusses with Professor Roy Foster of Oxford University, the impact of Seamus Heaney's poetry and aspects of his life. Professor Roy Foster is one of the world's leading historians and biographers.

      McCosh Lecture 2020

      Networks, Nodes and Nuclei: Towards a New Theory of Religious Change

      This lecture was broadcast live in September 2020.  The speaker for this year's lecture is David Hempton (Dean, Harvard Divinity School). This lecture is in partnership with the British Academy and Harvard University.

      View lecture


      This podcast series looks at conflict and peace-building around the world, from Afghanistan to Ireland, Colombia and South Africa to the Middle East.

      Academics from Queen’s University, Belfast, share their experiences and reflections on how societies can transition from conflict to peace and how the traumatic political legacies of conflict can endure and continue to shape political discourse today.

      Drawing from a range of expertise, Queen’s academics discuss how factors such as education and economics affect and define conflict, why people join illegal organisations, the definition of `terrorism’ itself and the impact of the marginalisation of women in peace building.

      Listen now

      Queen's University Covid-19 Research Roundtable video series

      In the context of a global pandemic, is sharing our personal data now a societal duty – or is it an intrusion too far?

      Does COVID-19 put our food supplies at risk? Are we all in this together, or has the virus exacerbated already existing inequalities? What of those with unrelated health conditions, and what will be the long-term effect on our health service? How will the crisis affect other aspects of society, such as our arts and culture?

      In this video series, Professor Emma Flynn, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Queen's, talks to academics and practitioners from within and beyond the University, in a series of Roundtable panel discussions. Discussing the challenges facing society and addressing the future, these informal panels begin to plot a course to a post-Covid world. 

      Watch the series here

      Terrorism in the 20th and 21st Centuries

      Professor Richard English, speaks with Professor Bruce Hoffman of Georgetown University about terrorism in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

      Listen to Professor Bruce Hoffman, author of the best-selling book, Inside Terrorism, discuss more than four decades of academic research and investigation into terrorism and how it has evolved and changed over that period. Prof Hoffman shares his rich insights into how the nature and threat of terrorism has changed over the decades.

      Listen via Apple   Listen via Spotify


      In the university’s first TEDx Digital event, academics from across Queen’s have offered informed opinion pieces and reflections on the changes taking place all around us a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

      The programme of speakers included some of Queen’s University’s healthcare team who are working at the frontline of the pandemic, helping to find ways to support the fight against COVID-19. The event had been designed to offer broader reflections on society, how changes have come about and how people are adapting to lockdown. Our speakers have considered what we may learn from the current situation for beyond the crisis, and how it may influence and bring about changes in the future.

      More details

      COVID-19 and Food

      As well as being a global health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic is intricately linked with food – from the origins of the virus through to the impact on international food systems, the food industry and the wider economy.

      In this podcast series, leading figures from the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's, focus on the areas where the pandemic has caused the biggest shockwaves, from international disruption to supply and demand to agriculture and environmental sustainability.

      Along the way, we assess the impact on animals and wildlife; the opportunity for greater nutrition during lockdown; and how our local food industry is coping.

      Listen to Podcast

      A History of Pandemics

      A new podcast that sheds light on how societies and people across millennia have battled infamous pandemics and plagues - facing many of the same issues that we face today with coronavirus (COVID-19).

      Discover new insights into the battle with pandemics and plagues, and how they shape the current world. Listen to the experiences of past societies - how doctors in Ancient Greece died trying to heal patients, how the Black Death spread to Medieval Britain from Asia via northern Italy, how people were forced to self-isolate, and more.

      Featuring expert commentary from academics within Queen’s University Belfast’s Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

      View Podcast

      Conflict and Change: A Conversation with Rory Montgomery and Jonathan Powell

      Jonathan Powell and Rory Montgomery have had distinguished careers which have seen them act as key negotiators in conflict resolution from Northern Ireland to the Basque Country and Colombia.

      On May 20 2020, in a conversation-style discussion, Professor Richard English, Professor of Politics and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation and Engagement at Queen’s University Belfast probed both Rory and Jonathan on their experience of working in environments of conflict, covering topics such as the importance of dialogue and the legacies of the peace process in jurisdictions such as Northern Ireland. They also discussed the relationship between Ireland, the UK and the EU, reflecting on the new context Brexit poses; and finally, how states respond to crisis, challenges and change such as that posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

      Listen to the Podcast   Watch the video

      Shaping a Better World Podcast

      The vision of Queen's University Belfast is to be a world class international university that supports outstanding students and staff, working in world class facilities, conducting leading edge education and research, focused on the needs of society.

      In our 'Shaping a Better World' podcast series, we highlight some of the students and staff working to make that vision a reality.

      You can download audio-only versions of many of our videos, plus our collaborative series with the Pivotal thinktank, from the Spotify and Apple Podcast platforms here:

      Spotify | Apple

      For more on the first three episodes, visit these pages:

      Listen to our Podcasts

      Episode 1: COVID-19 and Older People (1 May 2020)
      Episode 2: Cancer Care in the era of COVID-19 (13 May 2020)
      Episode 3: Immunology and COVID-19 (28 May 2020)

      The History Manifesto

      A discussion on the role of history in decision making today

      This podcast features Harvard University Historian David Armitage, in conversation with Queen's University's Professor Richard English.

      It focuses on Professor Armitage's co-authored book The History Manifesto, and considers the role of History in relation to public policy, political decision-making and societal challenges. One of the world's leading historians, Professor Armitage reflects on the implications of his arguments, not least for challenges such as the Coronavirus crisis.

      Listen to Podcast

      Great Creators Podcast: The Graduate School

      Hear diverse stories of entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland.

      We’ll feature start-ups, community-led projects and established businesses, hearing them discuss different business models and approaches, the challenges and pivots of entrepreneurial journeys and contain useful and easy-to-implement advice and resources. This podcast is a project by The Graduate School at Queen’s University in partnership with Belfast Design Week.

      Listen to Podcast

      Sensing Divisions Virtual Conference - 21-22 May 2020

      The School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, and the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s recently hosted a virtual conference exploring human divisions in society.

      This digital conference sought to investigate the nature of troubling and persistent divisions in human societies, divisions that perpetuate internal strife and often keep societies from cohering as politics that might produce stable governance.

      The virtual event took place from 21-22 May 2020 and was organised by anthropologist, Dr Maru?ka Sva?ek from Queen’s, and historian, Professor John Connelly, from the University of California at Berkeley. Professor Connelly was based at Queen’s as Fulbright Fellow from January - April, 2020.

      Find out more

      Social Charter Podcast

      Our Social Charter podcast features interviews with some of the students and staff making a significant contribution to society both locally and further afield.

      To hear our experts discuss shared education, sustainability, disability rights and more, subscribe to the series on Spotify or Apple Podcasts here:

      Spotify | Apple 

      Or visit the series web page for subtitled video versions.


      ‘True’ Stories: Contesting Narratives of Violence - 25, 26 May 2020

      This year’s postgraduate-led conference, hosted by the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, is entitled ‘True’ Stories: Contesting Narratives of Violence.

      The virtual conference brought together academics, activists, and practitioners to explore how, why, and whose stories of experiences of violence are told in deeply divided societies. The conference addressed questions such as: What is a ‘true’ account of experiences of violence? Why are certain accounts privileged, while others are marginalised? What are the implications for peacebuilding and transformation?

      More information

      At the heart of supporting global efforts to understand Coronavirus (COVID-19)

      As the global health crisis has affected the world, researchers in Queen’s have worked to advance our knowledge of the global challenges presented by COVID-19.

      We are working to directly tackle the pandemic across a range of aspects. Our world class virology researchers have been working for many years on the biology of viruses. We are now harnessing this knowledge, leading numerous research projects, clinical trials and developing treatments and vaccines, to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Read more

      Brexit: Continuing Insight and Analysis

      Informed by years of internationally-recognised research excellence, Queen’s on Brexit brings together leading academics from Queen’s University who provide an authoritative voice on the Brexit process, many policy areas affected by Brexit, and the subsequent impact on Northern Ireland, the island of Ireland, the UK and the EU-27.

      Read more

      Featured past events and lectures

      The University has welcomed some of the world’s leading thinkers and figures, including our Chancellor Hillary Clinton, Michel Barnier, Senator George J. Mitchell, Dr Bill Clinton, Dr Tony Blair, Jonathan Powell, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Dr Bertie Ahern, Jeremy Corbyn MP, scholars from Oxford, Harvard, University of Chicago, and business and community leaders from across the UK and further afield.

      Featured Lectures