The Bicentenary Debate: This House Isn't What it Used to Be

As the Union welcomes back 250 former Presidents and Officers to celebrate its Bicentenary, we welcome some of the finest former Presidents in the Union’s existence to debate the highs and lows of our long and controversial history.

The audio for this event was unfortunately compromised by accidental radio interference from a nearby organisation. We are working on cleaning it, and will replace this video when we are successful.

In the Chair: Amy Gregg, President of the Union (Lent 2015)

Stephen Sondheim's Interactive Q and A at the Cambridge Union

Stephen Sondheim is one of the world's most celebrate composers and lyricists. He wrote the lyrics for West Side Story, and has since composed Sweeney Todd, Company, A Little Night Music and Into the Woods, among many other musicals. He has won an Oscar, a Pulitzer Prize, an Olivier Award, eight Grammies and eight Tony Awards; more than any other composer.

Stephen joining us by videolink for an interactive Q&A with audience members.

Stephen Sondheim Interactive Q & A at the Cambridge Union Society

Stephen Sondheim is one of the world's most celebrate composers and lyricists. He wrote the lyrics for West Side Story, and has since composed Sweeney Todd, Company, A Little Night Music and Into the Woods, among many other musicals. He has won an Oscar, a Pulitzer Prize, an Olivier Award, eight Grammies and eight Tony Awards; more than any other composer. He will be joining us by videolink for an interactive Q&A with audience members.

Germaine Greer at the Cambridge Union Society

Germaine Greer is an Australian theorist, academic and journalist. She is regarded as having been one of the major feminist voices of the mid-20th century, and her ideas and views on women's liberation have created controversy ever since her book ‘The Female Eunuch’ became an international best-seller in 1970. She received her PhD from Newnham College, Cambridge, later becoming a special lecturer and fellow of Newnham from 1989 to 1996. She identifies as a Marxist and anarchist

Buzz Aldrin at the Cambridge Union Society

Buzz Aldrin is an American engineer and former astronaut, and the second person to walk on the Moon. He was the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history. He is also a former U.S. Air Force officer and a Command Pilot. Aldrin, a Presbyterian, was the first person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon. After leaving NASA in July 1971, Aldrin was assigned as the Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Theo Paphitis at the Cambridge Union

Theo Paphitis is a British retail magnate of Greek Cypriot origin. He is best known for his appearances on the BBC business programme Dragons' Den and as former chairman of Millwall Football Club. He began his entrepreneurial activities by running the school tuckshop, at the age of 15, and attributes his success to his natural common sense. The majority of his fortune has been made in the retail sector. In 2006, he sold his equity stake in the lingerie brand ‘La Senza’ for a reported £100 million.

Russell Kane at the Cambridge Union Society

Russell Kane is an English writer, comedian, and actor. He was nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, winning the main prize in August 2010. He has presented a number of TV shows, including Big Brother's Big Mouth, Freak Like Me and I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! He was the host of BBC Radio 2's Out to Lunch from series 4 onwards and also presents a Sunday afternoon show on Q Radio.

Moazzamm Begg at the Cambridge Union

Moazzam Begg is an ex-Guantanamo prisoner and is presently a Spokesperson for CAGE, an organisation which campaigns for the rights of those unjustly held in the War of Terror. Begg was arrested in Pakistan in February 2002 and held by the US government in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp on claims by the Pentagon that Begg was an al-Qaeda member. Begg admitted links to militant Muslim fighters, people associated with terrorism and to purchase of weaponry, but denies the remainder of US allegations, and was released in 2005 without charge, despite US Intelligence’s objections.

Lord Hope at the Cambridge Union Society

Lord Hope of Craighead is a retired Scottish judge who served as the first Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He graduated from St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1962 and practiced at the Scottish Bar for 24 years before becoming a Queen's Counsel in 1978. In 2009 he became one of the first Justices of the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and its first Deputy President.