Stephen Fry, Sarah Palin and Jon Snow feature in Lent Union line-up

Tonicha Upham, Shilpita Mathews and Jenny Steinitz 11 January 2015

Celebrating its 200th anniversary, the Cambridge Union Society has today released its first termcard of 2015.

The major speakers confirmed so far include British comedian/presenter Stephen Fry, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, leader of the international feminist movement FEMEN Inna Shevchenko and Channel 4 News Presenter Jon Snow.

Reflecting on the varied fields of the revealed speakers, Amy Gregg, President of the Union for Lent 2015, commented: “I’m extremely pleased that we have begun our Bicentenary year with such a diverse range of prominent speakers. As ever, the Union strives to offer members the opportunity to engage with some of the world’s most significant and influential public figures.”

Renowned as an activist as well as a comedian, writer and actor, Stephen Fry will be using his humanist and atheist background to debate whether the Church of England should be disestablished.

FEMEN activist Inna Shevchenk, well-known for her ‘sextremism’ and topless demonstrations against the patriarchy, will be following in the footsteps of other prominent feminists to speak at the Union including Pussy Riot and Laura Bates. She will be opposing the motion ‘This House would legalise the sex industry’. 

Controversial American politician Sarah Palin will then speak on the 2nd of March. The first female Republican to be nominated for the Vice Presidency, during the 2008 Presidential election, Palin has more recently spent time as a political commentator for Fox News, and has starred in ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’, her own reality show. Her book, ‘Going Rogue’, has sold over two million copies.

Palin has in the past caused controversy by not knowing that Africa was a continent. Credit: Roger H. Goun via Flickr

On the 13th of March, journalist and Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow will speak. A well-renowned journalist, Snow has received numerous awards for his work including five Royal Television Society Awards. Union members can expect to hear about a range of current topics in his talk – last year, Snow’s work involved a head-to-head with Russell Brand and ground reporting from the conflict in Gaza.

Other prominent speakers include composer Stephen Sondheim, who will appear via video-link, feminist author and theorist Germaine Greer and illustrator Sir Quentin Blake.

The Union will also be celebrating its 200th anniversary with a series of bicentenary-themed events, including two debates and the Bicentenary Ball ‘A Night in History’.


This article was updated January 13th at 11:40 in light of the release of the full Lent 2015 termcard.