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Exclusive: Tom Hanks, Nancy Pelosi, and Aitch to speak at the Oxford Union this term

Cherwell can exclusively reveal what’s planned in the final term of the Oxford Union’s bicentenary anniversary. The line-up of notable speakers includes actor Tom Hanks, American politician Nancy Pelosi, and rapper Aitch. 

Nancy Pelosi, the former Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, will be delivering the Union’s annual Benazir Bhutto Memorial Lecture, honouring the previous Union President who went on to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. 

Alongside these speakers, the South African double-olympic champion Caster Semenya, and Geri Halliwell-Horner – also known as Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls – will be speaking at the Union. Halliwell-Horner recently said that she would like to go to Oxford to study History and English. 

As customary, the term will begin with a No-Confidence debate. In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s passing, a debate on the use of violent protest will also be held, featuring Saths Cooper, an anti-Apartheid activist who shared a cell-block with Mandela. An Artificial Intelligence debate is also scheduled for Michaelmas. 

Notable debate speakers include the current Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, and Love Island Winner, Ekin-Su. The cosmologist and physicist, Max Tegmark, and the former Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Sir Vince Cable, will also be debating in the chamber. 

Additionally, the Union will be hosting a Black History Month Panel in collaboration with the Oxford African and Caribbean Society, which will be followed by an Afrobeats Night at Plush with DJ Cuppy. A panel on feminism is also set to take place, which will feature Dr Helen Pankhurst. 

Socials for the term include the “Regency Era” Bicentenary ball, a Varsity Boat Party with the Cambridge Union, and a Diwali “Sparklers and Celebrations” event. 

The President of the Oxford Union, Disha Hegde, told Cherwell: “As the final term of the Oxford Union’s first 200 years, this is an incredibly historic moment and I am honoured to present the Michaelmas 2023 termcard. 

“This term is about celebrating our history, while looking forward to the future. We will be hearing from a range of celebrities, activists and world leaders and discussing some of the most pressing issues of our time.

“Members will have the opportunity to meet, challenge and be inspired by speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds, fields and viewpoints. My committee and I have worked extremely hard on this and I am very proud of the exciting lineup of events we have been able to put together.”

The Union’s Open Period will run until the 18th October – during this time, Oxford students will be able to attend the events without membership. Discounted membership, which now also includes a new tiered Access Membership, will also be offered during this time.

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