First speakers and contributors confirmed for UK Policy Forum

Pooja Sharma
6 Min Read

The Business of Events is pleased to announce the first confirmed speakers and contributors ahead of the UK Policy Forum, taking place on 8 November at IET London: Savoy Place.

The strong line-up includes BBC Newsnight Political Editor Nicholas Watt, major events producer Martin Green CBE, Identity’s Michael Gietzen, Theresa Villiers MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events, and Shonali Devereaux, who will moderate the event.

The forum is an official participatory event as part of International Trade Week, taking place from 6 – 10 November 2023, and is run by the Department for Business & Trade.

The UK Policy Forum will bring together government officials and political experts from outside the events sector with the aim of improving communication between the industry and Westminster and developing a policy agenda.

Sessions at the Forum will focus on the export and inbound value of trade shows, exporting the creativity and soft power potential of events, and the importance of ambassador programs to drive innovation and change.

The first speakers to be confirmed are:

Nicholas Watt, Political Editor, BBC Newsnight

Nick Watt has worked in national journalism for more than thirty years, reporting on British and European politics. Since joining BBC Newsnight as political editor in 2016, Nick has become a well-known figure on BBC television and radio, covering the rollercoaster of British politics since the Brexit referendum. This has seen five prime ministers come and go. Nick also regularly appears on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, World at One, PM and World Tonight. He can also be heard on Sunday evenings as presenter of the Westminster Hour on Radio 4 on the vet about the political world.

Before joining the BBC, Nick worked as the Guardian’s chief political correspondent and European editor based in Brussels. He started his career at The Times, where he worked as a political correspondent and, between 1993 and 1997, as an Ireland correspondent based in Belfast. Nick has since returned to Northern Ireland regularly for The Guardian and the BBC.

Theresa Villiers, MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events

Theresa Villiers has been the MP for Chipping Barnet since 2005. She has held many positions during that time, including Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Secretary of State in the Foreign Office. Transport and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

She is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events and will share the vision from Westminster with the forum.

Martin Green CBE, producer

Martin has created some of Britain’s most important cultural events including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Hull UK City of Culture 2017, Unboxed; Creativity in Great Britain and most recently the ceremonies and cultural programs for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022. In 2023 he led the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool on behalf of Ukraine.

Due to this success, Martin has built an international reputation. He was an advisor to the Japan 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Dubai Expo 2020. In 2018 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hull and was made CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honors List.

Michael Gietzen, CEO, Identity

Identity has hosted some of the biggest events worldwide, including COP26 and COP28, the 2021 G7 Summit and events such as the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London. Michael will sit on a panel discussing Britain’s leading role in exporting creativity around the world and how major events are a great form of soft power, providing positive appeal and persuasion to achieve policy objectives.

Shonali Devereaux – moderator

The UK Policy Forum will be moderated by Shonali Devereaux. After 25 years in the events industry, Shonali now spends her time helping people find their voice. Through her company Profeshonali she coaches and guides in confidence and public speaking. She elevates the voices of others through her work as a presenter and facilitator at and co-founded the Diverse Speaker Bureau to bring more and diverse voices to debates. She also inspires new generations of events professionals by lecturing on events and tourism at the University of Hertfordshire.

Her earlier career included working on international mega-events (ranging from the Olympic Games to political party conferences) and fundraising (for the British Heart Foundation and Pride). She has run her own business, completed an award-winning master’s degree with distinction as a mature student, led a team that raised £10 million for charity and delivered a TEDx talk on the principles of improvisational theatre, covering all aspects applies. of her work and life.

Further speaker announcements will be made soon.

The event is by invitation only. You can register your interest here.

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