Culture in all its forms has always been at risk in time of war. In past ages and in the modern world, works of art have been looted, buildings deliberately destroyed and invaluable artefacts lost. How can such damage be prevented and what can be done to preserve and restore key sites of architectural and archaeological interest? The Symposium will focus on the current situation in the Middle East and involve experts with recent experience of the region.
An honorary life fellow of Gresham College, Professor Tim Connell is an Emeritus Foundation professor from City University, where he sat on Senate for many years. He is a graduate of Oxford, Liverpool and London universities, and has studied in Spain and Mexico. He also holds the degree of Doctor of Letters from City, University of London.
His particular interest is in the field of professional training for translators and interpreters, where he works closely with the Chartered Institute of Linguists, of which he is a Fellow and a Vice-President, and is a regular contributor to the professional journal The Linguist. He is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Languages Group, which he addresses with some regularity.
International education is another area of key concern. Tim is deputy chair of the international course board for ESCP Europe, (the French grande école based in Paris) which also covers London, Berlin, Madrid and Turin. He has had professional links with Latin America for many years, which has provided ample material for his classes on cultural communication and awareness.
He writes and broadcasts regularly on a wide range of themes relating to London, languages in the modern world and diverse cultural topics. He sits on an editorial board for Cambridge Scholars Publishing and has dealings with various publishers. In the past three years he has published chapters on livery companies in the City of London, languages and Brexit and was the lead writer for Get Smart About Scandals, a report on past lessons for future finance. He has just completed a revision of the history of Canning House, home to the Luso-Hispanic Brazilian Society, with which he has had an association for nearly forty years.
Tim has developed particular links in the Square Mile as a Freeman of the City of London and sits on the Court of the Stationers' Company where he is currently developing a policy on public access as part of the new Hall charity.
As a Fellow of Gresham College he sits on the Academic Board and has organised cycles of lectures in the Mondays at One series for 24 years, looking at topics of mainly current interest and speaks on a variety of subjects himself. He has devised half-day symposia on a wide range of themes with an invited panel of experts and is currently looking at the development of webinars. Since 2006 he has been Chairman of the Gresham Society, which supports Gresham College.
Sir Derek Plumbly is currently a Visiting Professor at Kings College, London.
Sir Derek has long experience as a diplomat and international official, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. From 2012 to 2015 he was the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, resident in Beirut and reporting regularly to the Security Council. From 2008 to 2011 he chaired the international commission which oversaw the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan prior to the independence of South Sudan. He had previously served as British ambassador to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and was the Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the FCO from 1997 to 2000. His earlier career in the FCO included postings to the UK mission to the UN in New York and as Deputy Head of Mission in Riyadh during the Gulf War.
He is fluent in Arabic, which he studied in Lebanon and Jordan in the 1970s after graduating in politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford and teaching in Pakistan. He was appointed CMG in the Gulf War honours list in 1991 and KCMG in 2000. He has an honorary doctorate from Loughborough University.
Elisabeth Kendall is Senior Research Fellow in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Pembroke College, Oxford University. Her current work examines connections between militant jihadist/political movements and cultural production in Arabic.
She spends significant time in the field and is the author or editor of several books, including ReClaiming Islamic Tradition (with Ahmad Khan, in press 2016), Twenty-First Century Jihad (with Ewan Stein, 2015) and Literature, Journalism and the Avant-Garde: Intersection in Egypt (2006, paperback 2010). She also conceived of and edits the “Modern Middle Eastern Vocabularies” series, which includes the titles Security Arabic, Intelligence Arabic and Media Arabic. Previously, she held tenured lectureships or fellowships at the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford and Harvard. Before returning to Oxford in 2010, she served as Director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World, a UK government sponsored initiative aimed at building Arabic language-based research expertise, with a research focus on jihad and martyrdom.
For the last four years, she has acted as international advisor (pro-bono) to a cross-tribal council in eastern Yemen that promotes social and political cohesion as a counterweight to AQAP and Islamic State expansion. In her spare time, Elisabeth sits on a number of national and international Advisory Boards and works on a variety of consultancy and pro bono projects in the Middle East. She is a regular contributor to the international media.