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Westminster Talks: What do the Arabs Really Want?

University of Westminster

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 from 18:00 to 19:00 (GMT)

Westminster Talks: What do the Arabs Really Want?

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Type End Quantity
STAFF 15 Feb 2017 Free  
ALUMNI 15 Feb 2017 Free  
EXTERNAL/GUEST 15 Feb 2017 Free  

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The University of Westminster's Lecture Series 'Westminster Talks 2016-2017

Westminster Talks is proud to continue the  series with a talk by Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles


What do the Arabs really want?

"Reading Aristotle at university, I was often struck how the Oxford Classical Text would give alternative readings of a difficult passage in Arabic almost as often as in Ancient Greek.  This was a reminder of how, after the decline of Athens and Rome, the torch of learning passed to the West via the great universities of the ancient Middle East: Alexandria, Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus, to name just a few of the centres of the Arab academy.  As we grieve for the agonies of the modern Middle East, I am quite sure that the only real way in which we in the West can, and should, and must, repay our debt to Arabia is through education.  Education for everyone, for children above all, for women, for those with a practical cast of mind rather than an academic one.  In doing so, we help correct the great educational deficit identified by the extraordinary Arab Human Development Report of 2002 - written by Arabs, about Arabs, for Arabs.   The University of Westminster knows better than anyone, supporting the lost generations of today's Arab world is about education, education, education!"


Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO, Group Head of Government Affairs, HSBC Holdings plc

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles joined HSBC Holdings in October 2013 as Senior Adviser to the Group Chairman and Group Chief Executive. In May 2015, he was appointed to a new post as Group Head of Government Affairs. He is also a Director of HSBC Bank Egypt SAE.

Before HSBC Sherard worked for two and a half years as Business Development Director, International, at BAE Systems plc. Earlier he spent over 30 years in the British Diplomatic Service, which he joined straight from reading Classics at Oxford. He served in Cairo, Washington and Paris. He was also Principal Private Secretary to the UK Foreign Secretary, the late Robin Cook, and was Head of the Foreign Office Hong Kong Department from 1994 up to the handover to China in 1997. His final diplomatic jobs were as Ambassador to Israel (2001–2003), Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (2003–2007), Ambassador to Afghanistan (2007-2009), and the UK Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (2009–2010).

Sherard is also Chairman of the UK Financial Inclusion Commission; an Ambassador for the Money Advice Trust; member of the Board of the China-Britain Business Council, the Egyptian British Business Council, and the Saudi British Joint Business Council; UK Chairman of the Omani-British Friendship Association (business council); a Committee Member of The Hong Kong Association; and a Board Member of Asia House. He is President of the Algeria British Business Council, Chairman of the UK Advisory Council, LSE Confucius Institute for Business London, and of Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery Trust. He sits on the International Engagement Committee of the British Academy. He is an Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford, and President of the Jane Austen Society. He has an honorary D. Litt. from the University of Westminster and is a Liveryman of The Skinners’ Company.

Sherard is the author of two books about his diplomatic experiences: Cables from Kabul and Ever the Diplomat. He speaks French and Arabic, some Hebrew and rudimentary Pashtu.



For more information on Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles and the other talks in the series please visit:


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When & Where

The University of Westminster, Fyvie Hall
309 Regent St
W1B 2HW London
United Kingdom

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 from 18:00 to 19:00 (GMT)

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University of Westminster

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations. We offer highly attractive practice-based courses which are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition.

Our distinguished 175-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences. Additionally, our position in the heart of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the world of business, information technology, and law.

The Westminster Talks series features a diverse mix of speakers who are proud to have a shared history and an exciting future with us. The series aims to connect our audiences – students, alumni, staff, supporters and friends, offering a chance to find out about important research and practice underway at Westminster and the difference the work of our alumni, staff and honorary members have made in their fields.

Many of our speakers come from the University’s global community of over 170,000 alumni spread across 180 countries. Our alumni reflect the diversity and international outlook of our former students, who come from all backgrounds and cultures to study in London, and go on to have a huge impact and make great contributions to the world we live in.

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