Past events

22nd April 2021

2:30pm – Talk by Professor Mark Allen (talk was held on Zoom at

It was indeed a pleasure to welcome back Visiting Professor Mr Mark Allen* to the University in celebration of the publication of his novel, Life Term. The book was published in March 2021 by Colenso Books. During this event Mark talked about his journey as an author and read sections of his book.
Further details on the book appear below:
‘Life Term is a psychological thriller about a six-year-old boy who is sexually assaulted by a man on a riverbank. Many years later, whilst working as a psychiatric nurse, he seeks his revenge. However, despite a successful subsequent career in journalism and publishing, the shame and guilt lives with him until there is some resolution. On one level, Life Term is a page turner, which tells an absorbing story with twists and turns till the end. On another, it is about crime and punishment, revenge and redemption and about the borderline between good and evil.’
*Mark Allen is Executive Chairman of the Mark Allen Group, one of the most successful, if not the most successful, family-owned publishing companies in the UK.

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16th February 2021

1:30pm – Talk by Professor Peter Grant on MS Teams on this link: –

What is the UK doing to tackle modern slavery?

In this talk Peter outlined the conclusions of a major review he led recently of the UK’s work to reduce modern slavery thorough its international aid programme. As well as reflecting on the content of his report, (which you can read here:

Peter drew on examples and case studies drawn from visits undertaken for the review to Nigeria and Bangladesh. At the end of his talk Peter invited questions and also discussed the differing roles of governments, businesses and private citizens in ending the horrific abuses of modern slavery.

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18th November 2020

10:30am – Talk by Professor Paul Fisher – link on MS Teams:

Central bank responses to Covid-19

“Many central banks have been active with policies since the onslaught of Covid-19 caused macroeconomic mayhem.  As usual, different countries have put different measures in place.  But what can central banks really do and what are they hoping to achieve?  Paul will set out the policy options that central banks have, how that menu is being drawn on to address the pandemic and what they might hope to achieve.”

Professor Fisher spoke for about 40 minutes took a variety of questions from an enthusuastic audience.

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Regretably the event immediately below, and several others that were in the pipeline, had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank all our speakers who have committed to our events and hope to welcome them at a later date.

2nd June 2020

The migration and refugee crisis

Our 2020 flagship event features 3 papers tackling a range of topics to do with displacement of people. Migration and the refugee crisis have become critical themes for the 21st century and this seminar intends to explore some of the complexities and the responses to them.

The event is structured as follows:

1000       Arrival and coffee

1030       Opening comments – Sabine Spangenberg

1035      “Displaced people and the politics of fear – Gendered and Racialised processes of Othering“, Dr Maja Korac (University of East London) – Chair: Nicola Mann.

1120       “How well are Syrian refugees being treated in Jordan and Lebanon?”, Professor Peter Grant (Agulhas Applied Knowledge) – Chair: David Munyinyi.

1205       Break

1215       “Syrian Refugees, the Labour Market and the Migration Dynamics of Natives – Evidence from Jordan“, Professor Jackie Wahba (University of Southampton) – Chair: Nastaran Norouzi.

1300       Thanks and closing comments – Adrian Wilkins.

This event will be held at the Kensington campus of the University and all are welcome.

(programme subject to change, for any updates contact [email protected])

19th February 2020

Experiments in Economics

At 1:30 pm on 19th February the WRC welcomed Ana Correa to offer an informal talk on the topic of ‘Experimental economics‘. Here she is in full flow and with some of the members of her audience.

Ana described her talk as follows:

“When a scientist wants to test a hypothesis, they conduct an experiment. Economists cannot conduct experiments with people and their resources. How do they test their hypotheses? In this talk, I will present a variety of methods that economists use to test hypotheses, to find causes of economic changes, and to evaluate policies.”


Ana, a Richmond University alumni,  is completing her Ph.D. at University College, London.  In her talk she covered the 4 main approaches used by researchers engaged with empirical work within the field of development economics, including natural experiments and RCTs.

The venue for this event was Seminar 1 @ 17 Young Street on the Kensington campus.

6th November 2019

Bullion: the story of gold as money and how the markets are changing to reflect modern values

At 3pm on November 6th the WRC welcomed Professor Paul Fisher, Chair of the London Bullion Market Association, and Visiting Professor of Finance and Economics at Richmond University to talk about gold. To start off Paul noted Keynes’ comment as follows:

‘Gold may be a shiny yellow metal and the gold standard was a ‘barbarous relic’ by 1923, according to John Maynard Keynes.’

The presentation offered an economist’s-eye view of the gold market, past and present. In this effort Paul addressed the following questions:

“Do you know when and why gold was first used as money? What are the three forms of ‘gold standard’ which have existed? How is gold traded and regulated? How much gold is there and where is it? Did you know that $40bn is the value of daily gold traing in London alone?”

Amongst his other positions Paul was Executive Director of the Bank of England’s Markets Directorate, and appointed to the Bank of England’s interest rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee from March 2009 to July 2014.

Venue for this session was Briggs Hall 216, on the University’s Kensington campus.

September 2019

Brexit – a story of the challenges facing the U.K. economy

On Monday 23rd September Sanjay Raja of Deutsche Bank offered an analysis of the UK economy based upon the the above topic. In his talk the many different aspects of the UK economy’s positioning within a future European context were explored. Discussion covered future trade,

passporting rights for financial services, impact of Brexit on housing and consumption, increasing reliance on fiscal policy, as well as many other issues. Sanjay’s role at the Bank offers him a unique perspective to discuss these issues as his department is UK Economics.

More than 40 students, staff and faculty attended Sanjay’s talk.

June 2019

Successful entrepreneurship

On June 6th the WRC held a seminar on ‘successful entrepreneurship’. The seminar explored a variety of issues all predicated on the understanding that entrepreneurs are the ones that provide the economy with its engine for innovation and growth. So, the seminar explored the following questions, plus many others:

Can we assume that successful entrepreneurship is a prerequisite for an economy that has innovated and grown? If so, can we teach entrepreneurship and can entrepreneurship be seen as a formula for success? What do successful entrepreneurs have to say on this? Can we learn from their experience?

To address these points, and others relevant to them, a small group of talented academics, entrepreneurs and practitioners gathered to discuss with an attentive and enthusiastic audience.

The session commenced at 09:50 within the Upper Dining Hall / Atlantic House / Kensington campus, with a welcome from Professor Lawrence Abeln, the University’s President.

Each presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session lasting around 20 minutes (some of the presentations were supported with slides, see links below).

09:50 – 10:00 Professor Lawrence Abeln – Introductions and welcome

President Abeln opened the seminar with a warm welcome and brief introduction of our first speaker, Mr Mark Allen.

10:00 – 10:30 Mr Mark Allen, ‘An entrepreneur’s journey(session Chair: Parviz Dabir-Alai)

Mark is Founder and Chairman of the Mark Allen Group of companies, which he founded in 1985, having initially bought two medical magazines in a management buyout. Today the group has more than 70 brands in different sectors – healthcare, education, B2B, music and leisure – and is actively involved in exhibitions and conferences.

Mark is a Visiting Professor and Trustee at Richmond University. He is also an ‘ambassador’ for the homeless charity, Alabaré.

10:50 – 11:20 Mr Hamad Khan,‘Teaching Entrepreneurship(session Chair: David Munyinyi)

Hamad is an Associate Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship at Richmond University. Before joining UK Hamad was in the Marketing Communications sector for 14 years and worked at JWT, Lowe, McCann Ericsson and then the client side Mashreq Bank in Dubai.

He joined Richmond University in September 2013 and since then has taught courses in Advertising, Sales and Entrepreneurship at UG and MBA Level.

11:40 – 11:45 Coffee break

11:45 – 12:15 Mr Michael Mueller, The challenges of entrepreneurial growth(session Chair: Sabine Spangenberg)

Michael is CEO of Form3. He set up Form3 after spending more than 25 years in management positions with Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays. Most recently, he was Global Head of Cash Management and a Member of the Corporate Banking Executive at Barclays, where he had responsibility for the product management and distribution of the bank’s payment, corporate deposit and customer access products.

For many years Michael has been passionate about driving digital change and innovation in global banks and has sponsored many key initiatives in this area, including white-labelling, biometric security, mobile payments (Pingit) and portal and mobile banking technology. More recently he has been actively involved in industry-level discussions about central bank digital currencies and the application of distributed ledger technology in financial services. Michael holds a degree in Organizational Psychology and a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD.

12:35 – 13:05 Ms Nastaran Norouzi, ‘Bored of masstige? Are we running out of ideas for luxury products?’(session Chair: Nicola Mann)

Nastaran is Associate Professor of Marketing and Programme Director of MA Luxury Brand Management at Richmond’s Business School. Her first degree is in Computer and Electronic Engineering. She holds an executive MBA degree gained from International Business School, University Technology of Malaysia (UTM), with a concentration in Strategic Management.

Additionally, Nastaran has more than ten years of management practice with local and international experience, specifically in Computer, Telecom, Creative and textile Industries. Nastaran’s broader research interests include subjects such as Labour, wages and working conditions in Clusters, Inter-firm relations and collaboration in Clusters and, the relationship between creative industries and Cluster survival and dynamics. Nastaran’s research interests also include fashion and luxury marketing.

Session closed at just after 13:00 (closing remarks: Adrian Wilkins)

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October 2018

Central Banks and their balance sheets (in the light of QE)

On October 10th the WRC was delighted to welcome back Professor Paul Fisher, a recent member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, to discuss the latest thinking on the challenges involved in withdrawing QE in the light of regulatory and fiscal requirements.  In discussing these issues Professor Fisher focused on the UK and other experiences. The presentation was accompanied by a series of PowerPoint slides which may be found under ‘The future of balance sheets.’

The audience of students and faculty engaged Professor Fisher in discussions during the session and more informally afterwards.

Professor Fisher has offered to return in 2019 and talk about several aspects of the world’s commodity markets.

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May 2018

‘State engagement – assessing capacity’ A seminar on Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA)

On Wednesday May 17th, the WRC held a well attended seminar with the above theme. The presenters were drawn from a diverse group of practitioners, consultants and academics. Collectively their aim was to explain what is normally understood by state engagement and our ability to assess its impact and influence.

The 5 papers explored a variety of interlinked themes such as: why the traditional approach to capacity building has been discredited, and what has replaced it; examples of the application of PDIA in different developing countries by drawing on both experience and literature; the role of Outcome Mapping (OM), as developed by the International Development Research Centre, to help make sense of how policy may be influenced. The use of OM was seen within the context of the ODI’s Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme. Another paper attempted to make sense of the Cambiemos government in Argentina through the lens of the PDIA; the final paper focused on assessing the value of the PDIA approach in assessing the adoption of conditional cash transfers in Turkey.

The seminar was aimed at those interested in advocacy, evaluation and policy influence from a variety of perspectives as outlined above. Seminar room 106 at Briggs Hall was packed with a lively audience made up of the 5 speakers, several faculty, one visiting scholar and a number of students.

The program for the seminar had the following structure:

0930-1000  Registration, Introductions and Welcome

1000-1025  Keynote paper by Dr. Marcus Cox (Agulhas, Applied Knowledge)
Bringing Politics into Technical Assistance – How far have we come

1030-1055  Peter Grant (Agulhas, Applied Knowledge/Restored/Richmond University Visiting Professor)
Putting PDIA into practice – lessons from country case studies

1055-1120 Discussion (and coffee)

1125-1150  Simon Hearn (Overseas Development Institute)
Outcome Mapping for planning and monitoring policy engagement and influence

1155-1220  Dr. Christopher Wylde (Richmond University)
“Making sense of the Cambiemos government in Argentina through PDIA?”

1225-1250  Dr. Gokce Baykal (King’s College)
Testing PDIA Approach – Principles towards Adoption of Conditional Cash Transfers in Turkey”

1250-1315 Discussion and close of seminar

1315 Lunch

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April 2018

Positive Women – Heartache, hope and living with HIV

On Monday April 16th, at 1030 am, at the Lecture Hall within 17 Young Street, there was a showing of a short documentary film of ‘Positive Women …’. Here is a link to a trailer:

The film offered a glimpse into the lives of 6 women living within the Nakulabye slum which is within a mile of the central business districts of Kampala, Uganda. The documentary captured the reality of the poverty and helplessness and the mistreatment endured by the women and their families. The women were all mothers to several children each and all were HIV positive; yet their stories were full of hope and aspiration.

Those in attendance at the showing were left in a state of awe and tremendous respect for the women portrayed within the documentary. The documentary’s associate producer, Anne Lotter, who is a Richmond professor, was at hand to offer context and answer questions from the audience of students, staff and faculty.

Thanks to Anne Lotter for sharing this.

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March 14th, 2018

BREXIT is coming … 12 months to go

Bad news has a habit of arriving with relentless frequency. Is BREXIT, and all that goes with it, an example of bad news? Some would say the UK is heading for a cliff-edge type disaster of unprecedented magnitude; others maintain that the future could not be brighter and that all will be well. Can the issues be put as starkly as this, or can we find some compromises that will keep all happy and content with the onrushing future that awaits us? Hard information on the UK’s position is difficult to come by but the government has promised to come clean soon.

In order to explore some of the above issues the Wellbeing Research Centre organised a thematic Panel Discussion which started at 16:45 on March 14th 2018, on the University’s Kensington campus (Upper Dining Hall/Atlantic House). The session wasbe introduced by Dr. Dabir-Alai and chaired by Professor Spangenberg.

Speakers and their themes:

  • “Financial Consequences: The Impact of BREXIT on The City” – Dr. Ivan Cohen (Richmond University)
    Under this heading Dr Cohen explored some of the likely scenarios that could emerge post-March 2019 and offer an assessment of their consequences.
  • “Should I stay or should I go? – An insight into the dilemmas that UK businesses face” – Professor Inma Ramos (Richmond University)
    Professor Ramos explored and commented on some of the opportunities available to UK businesses faced with the decision to either maintain their operations within the UK or to relocate to mainland EU.
  • “BREXIT and the Arts: The importance of a Creative Society” – Professor Charlotte Bonham-Carter
    (Central Saint Martins)
    Professor Bonham-Carter maintains that the arts are aligned to tolerance, liberal values and increasingly, to wellbeing. The impact of BREXIT on the cultural life of the UK will undoubtedly be profound. This presentation looked at the impact of BREXIT on the arts, but also, the possible impact of the arts on BREXIT.

This event had standing room only!

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January 31st, 2018

Recent activity by Dr Paul Fisher

In January 2018, at the Centre, we were pleased to acknowledge Dr Paul Fisher’s significant involvement as a member of the European Commission High-Level Experts Group on Sustainable Finance.

The full Report may be accessed via:

Dr Fisher, who is both a Visiting Professor at Richmond University (in Economics and Finance) and a member of its Wellbeing Research Centre, was interviewed by the Financial Times on the above Report. That interview appears here: (kindly note that you will need to set up an account with the FT to review this link). The press release that accompanied the publication of the full Report can be seen here:

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September 2017

The Wellbeing Research Centre’s very own Dr Nicola Mann has just recently published a co-edited book. Please see details of the launch in the following link:

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June 16th, 2017

Round-table discussion on the environment

In June 2017 the Wellbeing Research Centre, hosted a roundtable discussion on a number of themes linked to some of the core environmental challenges of our time. The timely importance of this discussion is unbderlined by the fact that October 2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. One of our panelists spoke directly to this, whilst others were encouraged to review this work and take stock of its conclusions and assess these more generally.

Professor Paul Fisher provided the keynote address. The full details of all presentations made appears below:

  • 10:00-10:30, Keynote Speaker – Dr Paul Fisher(Visiting Professor at Richmond and formerly Deputy Head of the Prudential Regulation Authority at the Bank of England) opened the session with his talk on the relationship between climate change and risks to the financial sector. In this talk he discussed the state of play of policy making to address these risks.
  • 10:30-10:50 – Dr John Curran(Independent academic and recently Principal Lecturer at London Metropolitan University) explored some of the implications of Professor Nick Stern’s 2006 report on the economics of climate change and asked whether the report was still important 10 years after its publication; facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai.
  • 10:55-11:15 – Jialiang Zhang(Senior Consultant at Ecofys) discussed carbon pricing and some of the recent global developments impacting this (for example, the Paris Agreement of 2015); facilitated by Nastaran Norouzi.
  • 12:00-13:00 – LUNCH
  • 13:10-13:30 – Dr Wayne Clark(Associate Professor of Science, at Richmond) looked at several aspects of the physical environment. In this regard his talk was entitled “What is ‘natural’, what is ‘rare’? The ethics of alien species, upland farming, conservation, and re-wilding”; facilitated by David Munyinyi.
  • 13:35-13:55 – Hilary Jennings (Director of the Happy Museum Project) discussed her work as the part-time Director of the Happy Museum Project (HMP) which works with museums to develop their role in civil society, and working with communities to build resilience through well-being and environmental sustainability. The title of her presentation was “How can museums help foster wellbeing that doesn’t cost the Earth“. The HMP works with a community of museums across the UK and has recently launched a new Affiliate Scheme; facilitated by Nicola Mann.
  • 14:00-14:20 – Dr Mike Keating(Professor of International Political Economy, at Richmond)  discusses the role of appropriate technology in the context of a low-carbon energy transition; facilitated by Sabine Spangenberg.
  • 14:25-15:00 – Discussion and Close

Venue: Room 106 Briggs Hall, Richmond University, Ansdell Street, London W8 5BN (a 5 minute walk from High Street Kensington).

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February 27th, 2017

The success of unconditional cash transfers as a development strategy

The Wellbeing Research Centre at Richmond University welcomed Ana Correa. at the time of the presentation Ana worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, where she obtained an MSc (with Distinction) in Economics. Prior to that she graduated with a First Class degree in Economics from Richmond University. She has published widely in her own right and has a rich research agenda in front of her in relation to programs in health, development and related areas.

The slides linked to the presentation may be found here: Unconditional cash transfers.

For further questions please contact Dr. Parviz Dabir-Alai ([email protected])

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December 8th, 2016

‘How do young people see the World?’ – a talk by Yemi Babington-Ashaye on a recent WEF large scale survey

At the time of his presentation Yemi Babington-Ashaye worked as the Head of the Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. Yemi presented a talk on December 8th at 10:45am at the Lecture Theatre, Taylor Building, Richmond University, Queens Road, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6JP.

The presentation discussed the thinking and the shape of the survey carried out by Yemi and his team at the WEF.

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October 12th, 2016

Economic Policy: The UK economy and selected topics in economic policy

On October 12th Mr Sanjay Raja presented a detailed discussion on the performance of the UK economy since around the time of the 2007-8 financial crisis. The presentation was policy focused and generated a considerable amount of discussion amongst the audience.

Click economic-policy-sanjay-raja for access to the slides accompanying the presentation.

At the time of the presentation Sanjay Raja worked as an economist with KPMG in London and prior to that was with the National Audit Office also in London. Sanjay earnt his MSc in Economics from the LSE and left Richmond University in 2011 with a First Class Honors degree in Economics.

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October 5th, 2016

‘What should we (not) expect of central banks?’ – a Public Lecture by Professor Paul Fisher, October 5th 2016

On October 5th 2016 Professor Paul Fisher delivered a lecture on the theme of central banking capabilities to a group of around 30 students and faculty at the Richmond Business School in Kensington, London. During the talk Paul focused on 3 inter-linked issues:
  1. what can central banks achieve (and not achieve) in policy terms?
  2. expectations of what central banks can use their balance sheet for.
  3. expectations on economic forecasts.

The talk was followed by a lively question and answer session. Please click this link to access the slides used for this talk:What-not-to-expect-from-central-banks. Full papers may be requested by contacting Dr. Dabir-Alai at the Centre.

Paul Fisher is a Visiting Professor of Finance and Economics at Richmond University. He is also a recent member of the Bank of England’s influential Monetary Policy Committee. Paul’s other affiliations include:

Chair, London Bullion Market Association
Chair, London Institute of Banking and Finance
Senior Associate, Cambridge University Institute for Sustainability Leadership

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June 24th, 2016

Workshop on education and wellbeing – June 2016

This workshop provided the opportunity for members and guests to explore the role education plays in promoting wellbeing around the world. The relationship between education and wellbeing is relevant to both developing nations (especially within the context of the newly formulated Sustainable Development Goals) and advanced economics (for example in terms of social mobility). Participants explored a range of issues including sociocultural, economic, technological, gender-related, political and other issues. Topics included the effects of education on wellbeing in general through an investigation of the impact of education on health, social welfare, race and gender equality, social networks, employment and other relevant considerations.

The day started with a keynote address by Peter Grant and ended with a presentation by Parviz Dabir-Alai (based on joint work with Ana Oliveira). Full program on the day was as below:

Keynote Speaker: Peter Grant, co-founder of Restored Relationships (title: Wellbeing and Education – gender and related angles) 10:30 – 11:00, facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai.

Anne Lotter, Founder and CEO of Project Le Monde (title: The Impact of Structural Violence on Education in Uganda) 11:15 – 11:45, facilitated by Peter Grant.

Sabine Spangenberg, Professor of Economics, Richmond Business School (title: The English Bipartite Secondary School System: Behavioural Considerations) 12:00 – 12:30, facilitated by Anne Lotter.

Lunch 12:45 – 13:30

Jake Barber, Assistant Professor of General Education, (title: Project articulation and utility, local capacity and sustainability – the case of a post crisis Sri Lankan university) 13:30 – 14:00, facilitated by David Munyinyi.

Nastaran Norouzi, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Richmond Business School (title: Education in the 21st Century – technology in the classroom: a blessing or a curse?) 14:15 14:45, facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai.

Ana Oliveira* and Parviz Dabir-Alai**,                                                                                                   *Associate Dean, School of General Education;                                                                                     **Professor of Economics, both at Richmond Business School (title: Adding value by degree: a case study) 15:00 – 15:30, facilitated by Nicola Mann.

Workshop ended at 15:45.

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June 15th, 2016

BREXIT referendum debate: to REMAIN or to LEAVE

The Wellbeing Research Centre organised a debate on the BREXIT referendum held in the UK on June 23rd, 2016.

The debate participants included Ivan Cohen and Inma Ramos, who spoke for REMAIN, and Nick Wilkinson and Parviz Dabir-Alai who, on this occasion, supported the LEAVE campaign. The debate was chaired by Sabine Spangenberg.

This lively session played out to a packed audience on June 15th, 2016 at 5pm (Upper Dining Hall, Atlantic House, Richmond University, 1 St. Alban’s Grove, Kensington, London W8 5PN, nearest tube station: High Street Kensington).

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June 6th, 2014

Seminar on Development and Wellbeing

This all day event held on the Richmond Hill campus of the University had Professor Peter Grant (former Head of the International Department at DFID) giving the keynote address.

Other papers were presented by: Robert Read (Lancaster), Nick Wilkinson (Richmond), Mike Keating (Richmond), Ali Shamsavari (Kingston), Sabine Spangenberg (Richmond), and Tamara Trafton (Quest).