Following an active day on Saturday, Sunday promised to be intellectually stimulating for students at Queen’s. Everyone was up early to prepare themselves for the excitement of the Great Debate in the afternoon, especially given the high profile of our guest speaker.
After a good lunch, the Queen’s cohort headed to the Sheldonian Theatre where the Great Debate was to be held. As students entered the theatre, they were certainly impressed by the majesty of the building and this was sure to encourage a few nerves. However, once the group had settled into their chairs, those nerves were soon converted into excitement.
To begin the proceedings, students received an incredibly informative talk from the ex-director general of MI5, Baroness Manningham-Buller. It was truly inspiring to hear her insights into the importance of leadership, and how she feels that offering feedback in the workplace is the most effective way to develop professionally. It was also a chance for her to dispel some of the ‘James Bond myths ‘surrounding the British Intelligence Service, as she gave a little more information about what it means to work as an Intelligence Officer – speaking about the hard work and bravery required for this role.
Then it was time to start the Debate, in which students from Queen’s were arguing in favour of the motion, ‘this house believes that climate change is the single most immediate threat to national securities.’ With rebuttals and questions, the afternoon got a little heated, however, as Maria and Elizabeth offered great points about how climate change effects geopolitics, they ended up coming out on top and winning the debate! Baroness Manningham-Buller then closed the afternoon with a few words, before everyone returned to their respective colleges.
We are very proud of our students’ performance as well as their display of confidence – well done to both Maria and Elizabeth! Once they were back at college, the students enjoyed a fun talent show which was a great way to unwind after such a focused afternoon.