About the Legacy Lecture Series

In collaboration with the US-UK Fulbright Commission, the Fulbright Association presents the annual Fulbright Legacy Lecture Series featuring prominent speakers in international relations.

The Fulbright Association has a long-standing collaboration with the US-UK Educational Commission (The Fulbright Commission) to support an annual lecture series held in the UK called the Fulbright Legacy Lectures. The lectures are given by prominent speakers on timely issues in international relations and delivered at three universities in the UK. The series functions as an ongoing memorial to Senator William J. Fulbright, founder of the Fulbright Program. Past speakers chosen to give the Fulbright Legacy Lectures have included economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, historian Emma Rothschild, former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Nobel Prize Laureate Harold Varmus and former Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department Anne-Marie Slaughter. The series is also supported by the Lois Roth Endowment.

Fulbright Legacy Lectures

David Miliband, 2019

The ninth annual Fulbright Legacy Lectures were given by David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. He spoke at the University of Edinburgh, King’s College London and Pembroke College, University of Oxford, from June 19-21, 2019.

In his lecture titled “The New Arrogance of Power: Global Politics in an Age of Impunity,” Mr. Miliband examined the shift today in international relations away from checks and balances on the use of power, and towards an age of impunity. His explanation of how the rules-based international order forged after World War II is being undermined serves as an urgent call to preserve the rule of law and protect the most vulnerable. A video of the lecture delivered at Pembroke College, University of Oxford, is available on their website.

Lord Nicholas Stern, 2018

The eighth annual Fulbright Legacy Lectures were given by Lord Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government at the London School of Economics and the Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. He spoke at King’s College London on June 4, followed by Edinburgh University on June 6, and Pembroke College Oxford on June 8, 2018. The theme of his lectures was “The best of centuries or the worst of centuries? Leadership, governance and cohesion in an interdependent world.” He argued that the international economic order, which J. William Fulbright helped to build after WWII, served fairly well for much of the second half of the twentieth century. If we are to avoid the grave we currently face, however—including climate change, pandemics and conflict—it must be re-cast for our increasingly interdependent world. Our success in doing this will determine whether the twenty-first century becomes the best or worst of centuries.

Lord Stern’s lecture was live streamed and has now been published on the website of Pembroke’ College.

Louise Richardson, 2017

The seventh annual Fulbright Legacy Lectures were given by Professor Louise Richardson, Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford. Through lectures at King’s College London on June 12, at Edinburgh University on June 14, and at Pembroke College, Oxford on June 16, 2017, Richardson addressed the roles of and challenges faced by universities in an age of increasing populism. Read her lecture online on the University of Oxford’s website. 

Richardson completed her BA in History at Trinity College Dublin before coming to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies in political science at UCLA and Harvard University. As an award-winning professor, she has promoted interdisciplinary studies an the combination academic and creative pursuits. Her research focuses primarily on international security and counter-terrorism, and she has published numerous books addressing both issues, including Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Past (2007), What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat(2006), The Roots of Terrorism (2006), and When Allies Differ (1996).

Michael Ignatieff, 2016

The sixth annual Fulbright Legacy Lectures were given by Michael Ignatieff, the former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and the current Edward R. Murrow Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He spoke at Edinburgh University on June 6, at King’s College London on June 8 and at Pembroke College, Oxford on June 10, 2016.

Through his lectures on the European refugee crisis, Professor Ignatieff addressed the rise of a new political narrative that influences European attitudes and policies towards migrants and refugees. Since the end of the Cold War, an optimistic narrative built upon beliefs in an united Europe and the possibility for partnerships between the developing and developed worlds has reigned. However, recent developments in Europe have seen the rise of a new narrative, in which the nation is valued above international cooperation and which stresses the potential danger of outsiders. Throughout his three lecture series, Professor Ignatieff delved into this shift in narratives and explored more optimistic approaches to refugee crisis.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2014

Economist Joseph E. Stiglitz (Columbia University) gave the fourth annual Fulbright Legacy Lecture on International Relations. His topic was the “Causes and Consequences of Growing Inequality—and what can be done about it” at Pembroke College, Oxford, and Kings College London. Stiglitz is a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979) and a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank.

Emma Rothschild, 2014

Historian Emma Rothschild spoke on the mid-twentieth century history of internationalism at the University of Edinburgh. Rothschild is the Jeremy and Jane Knowles Professor of History at Harvard and the director of the Joint Center for History and Economics at Harvard and Magdalene College, Cambridge. Her lecture took place on 21 May 2014 at Edinburgh University, where she received an honorary doctorate in 2013.

Harold Varmus, 2013

In the third annual Fulbright Legacy Lectures, Harold Varmus spoke on “International Relations in Science and Medicine” at Kings College London, Edinburgh University and Pembroke College Oxford, where Senator J. William Fulbright studied from 1924-48. His talks expanded and elaborated upon themes discussed in his book, The Art and Politics of Science. Dr. Varmus is Director of the National Cancer Institute and a Nobel prize laureate.

Thomas Pickering, 2012

Distinguished American senior statesman Ambassador Pickering spoke on the future of U.S. Middle East diplomacy at Pembroke College Oxford, Kings College London and Edinburgh University, in a talk entitled “From the Pillars of Hercules to the Hindu Kush.”

Anne‐Marie Slaughter, 2011

Dr. Slaughter spoke at Pembroke College Oxford on “The Turn: American Foreign Policy 2009‐ 2011.” At the time, she was the Kerstetter Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and the former Director of Policy Planning and the U.S. State Department—the first woman ever to hold that position.

About the US-UK Educational Commission

The US-UK Educational Commission (The Fulbright Commission) was created by treaty on September 22, 1948, to foster mutual understanding through educational exchange between both nations. The US-UK Fulbright Commission is one of the oldest bilateral Fulbright partnerships globally. The Fulbright Commission fulfills its mission in two ways: administering the US-UK Fulbright Awards Program and EducationUSA Advisory Service.