Caitlyn Jenner, Sir Ian McKellen, and Anthony Scaramucci among this term’s Union speakers

Noella Chye 1 October 2017

The Union will play host to Anthony Scaramucci, a former member of the Trump administration, cinematic legend, Sir Ian McKellen, and icon of transgender awareness Caitlyn Jenner, amongst others, this term. As ever, the termcard is a varied one: with philanthropists and reality TV stars alike occupying the chamber.

In its characteristic political fashion, the Union will host former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, who was fired by Trump just 10 days after his appointment, in the second week of term. Days into the job, Scaramucci was fired following publication of an expletive-filled phone call with journalist Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker.

Scaramucci is expected to speak firsthand about working with Trump, and his reflections on the mishap with Lizza of the New Yorker. He was also a former investment banker with Goldman Sachs and hedge fund manager who has published three books on the subject — for example, The Little Book of Hedge Funds: What You Need to Know About Hedge Funds but the Managers Won't Tell You. In a similar vein, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, and of Australia, Kevin Rudd, will visit the Union to speak about their experiences of politics 'down under'.

Big name Caitlyn Jenner, of Keeping Up With the Kardashians fame, will join the line-up in week five. Jenner, who has identified as a trans woman since 2015, has become something of a household name. As part of the Kardashian family, her gender transition in 2015 was watched avidly by the media around the world, and sparked discussions of the experience of gender transitioning.

She published a memoir titled The Secrets of My Life, and starred in a reality television series, I Am Cait, both of which focus on her experience of transitioning. Some, like Ed Pilkington writing in The Guardian, have named her 'the most famous trans woman in the world', following her appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair. Others have accused her of being a fraud, both online and once, publicly, by a trans activist who attacked her in Los Angeles earlier this year.

Other famous faces include Sir Ian McKellen, stalwart of the stage and screen- from The Lord of the Rings to his recent King Lear onstage at the Minerva in Chichester– who will visit the Union in Week Six. Week Three will see Game of Thrones stars Dame Diana Rigg DBE, who plays Olenna Tyrell, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, or Jaime Lannister. Plus, fans of the American comedy talk show Chelsea Lately and Netflix series Chelsea will get to see Chelsea Handler in person in week one. 

Philanthropists feature prominently in this term's line-up, with Will McAskill, who founded the organisation 80,000 Hours at Oxford in 2011, speaking first about the philosophical and social effective altruism movement in Week Two. Its tagline reads, 'You've got 80000 hours in your career. How can you use them to make a difference?', and, broadly speaking, conducts research at Oxford into how graduates can make the biggest difference possible with their careers, both through overall career choice and within a given field.

Later that week, Michael Penrose, founder of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will speak about his work at what has been termed the world's leading organisation for children in danger.

The Cambridge Union has a number of free events available to non-members, marked by the Union+ logo. There are various membership options, including an Access scheme. More information is available here

The Union's full termcard can be found here.