2015 Celebrations

The Union today

Founded in 1815, the Cambridge Union is the oldest continuously running debating society in the world, and the largest and most famous society at the University of Cambridge. In 2015, the Union will celebrate 200 years of free speech and the art of debating – having played host to some of the most interesting figures of the last two centuries: Prime Ministers from Stanley Baldwin and Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher and John Major; US Presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan; civil rights campaigners from James Baldwin to the Rev. Jesse Jackson; inspirational figures including the Dalai Lama and Prof. Stephen Hawking; and household names such as Dame Judi Dench, Reginald D. Hunter, Sir Ian McKellen, and Russell Brand.

Former Presidents of the Union have included John Maynard Keynes, Arianna Huffington, Michael Howard, two Speakers of the House of Commons, an Archbishop of Canterbury, three members of David Cameron’s Cabinet, two winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, an Olympic medallist, and the director of Mary Poppins.

2015 Plans

In 2015, the Union will mark its 200th Anniversary with a series of high profile events, featuring speakers from the Union’s history, and continuing to debate the issues that shape our world, and we want Union members across the world to be a part of it.

The 2015 Steering Committee, comprised of former officers, is organizing the bicentenary celebrations. 2015 will be a chance for members of the Union from across different generations to come together and celebrate 200 years of free speech and the art of debating, and we want as many members to be a part of it as possible.

CUS Live will also be launching in time for the 2015 Anniversary, continuing the Union's modernisation project. You can find out more details by clicking here


The Bi-Centenary Debate (February 7th, Cambridge Union)

Following a celebratory dinner for CUS Officers past and present, the Union will play host to a series of high profile speakers to debate a motion pertinent to the Cambridge Union's long history. This will be a chance for members resident and non-resident to celebrate the Union's history, as it plays host to those that have gone on to do great things. This event will be for members of the Cambridge Union only.

If you are an ex-officer of the Union and would like to attend the dinner, please contact the Chair of the 2015 Committee by clicking here

The speakers and honoured guests at this debate will be announced via press release at the beginning of January, and in the Lent 2015 termcard. 


The Bicentenary Ball (February 20th, Cambridge Union)

Come and see the Union as you have never seen it before. On February 20th, for one night only, the Union will be transformed for a night celebrating 200 years of our history with a Ball, starting at 9pm and going on to the small hours of the morning. Tickets will go on sale in the middle of the Michaelmas term.

This event will be open to all those currently studying at Cambridge, with a discount for Union members. 

Click here to be redirected to the Bicentenary Ball website. 


The 2015 Garden Party (June, Sidney Sussex Gardens)

The Union Garden Party – like you’ve never seen it before. The 2015 Garden Party will take over the entirety of the Sidney Sussex Gardens, and will bring together members resident and non-resident on a summer afternoon to celebrate our long history. This event is open to members of the Cambridge Union and all current students at the University of Cambridge.


The 200th Anniversary Debate (25th September, London)

The 2015 Program will culminate in a unique event in central London in September 2015. For the first time in the Union’s history we will be hosting a debate outside of Cambridge to enable greater access for non-resident members. Following the result of the 2015 General Election, the Union will host speakers to debate an issue of national importance.

The speakers for this debate, and motion itself, will be announced at the 2015 Garden Party. 


CUS Live

As part of the 2015 Celebrations, the Union is launching its new permanent live streaming service for Members. 

Launching in Michaelmas 2014; this service will be available full-time to Union members, including those who have left Cambridge. By going to www.cus.org/CUSLive, and logging in with your online Union membership details, you can access all Union events (including 2015 events) wherever in the world you are.

If you have lost your Union online log in, please email info@cus.org or call the office on 01223 566 421. For questions regarding CUS Live, please email audiovisual@cus.org.

Press and Publicity

Press is being managed by Oliver Mosley and Georgia Kandunias. Press releases will be uploaded to the Union's press page as and when they become available. 

If you are a member of the press and wish to attend or cover our anniversary, or to obtain any imagery, please email Oliver at press@2015.cus.org

Get involved

If you require more information, wish to attend any of these events or have any questions concerning the 200th Anniversary please feel free to contact Alessandro Forzani (Chair, 2015 Steering Committee).