Past Events


The Annual Lecture has become a landmark event in the charity’s calendar and previous keynote speeches have been delivered by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Clare Short (Secretary of State for International Development 1997-2003), Prof. Gwen Adshead (Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist), Simon Baron-Cohen (Professor of Developmental Psychopathology), Karen Armstrong (TED Prize winning author), and Lemn Sissay (author and broadcaster).

In 2017 we welcomed award winning author and broadcaster, Richard Holloway as the keynote speaker of our 7th Annual Lecture.

Scroll down to watch videos of past Annual Lectures.


Forgiveness and Compassion: Is there a difference?

Our 5th Annual Lecture was given by Karen Armstrong, who lent her perspectives on religion to the topic, ‘Forgiveness and Compassion: Is there a difference?’.

The lecture was chaired by journalist, broadcaster and author Sarfraz Manzoor, who carefully brought together Karen’s lecture with the perspectives of our other two speakers – Yasmin Yar Mulbocus and Bjørn Magnus Jacobsen Ihler.

Zero Degrees of Empathy: Exploring explanations of human cruelty and kindness

Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge delivered the keynote speech at our 4th Annual Lecture.

This was followed by a panel discussion with Mary Foley, Peter Woolf and Marina Cantacuzino, chaired by Simon Fanshawe.

The Line Dividing Good and Evil

Dr Gwen Adshead, forensic psychiatrist at Broadmoor High Security Hospital, delivered our 3rd Annual Lecture, supported on stage by three contributors who shared some of their own personal narratives.

These were: Marian Partington whose sister was murdered by Fred and Rosemary West; Erwin James, the Guardian columnist and former prisoner who has served a life sentence for murder; and Kemal Pervanic, survivor of the notorious Ormaska concentration camp in Bosnia.

Is Violence Ever Justified?

On 12th May 2010 more than 800 people piled into St John’s Smith Square, London, to hear Archbishop Desmond Tutu, founding patron of The Forgiveness Project, deliver our inaugural Annual Lecture.

Archbishop Tutu was joined on stage by Mary Blewitt who lost 50 members of her family in the Rwandan genocide; Jo Berry whose father was killed in the 1984 Brighton bombing; and Patrick Magee, the former IRA activist who planted the bomb. The event was chaired by BBC broadcaster Edward Stourton.