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OUR SPEAKERS

Over the years, VM has welcomed accomplished speakers to share their thoughts and ideas with us on our platform. This includes politicians, authors, journalists, business leaders, and activists. Here are some examples of speakers who have participated in our recent past events.

Shashi Tharoor

Gad Saad

Makarand Paranjape

Abhijit Iyer Mitra

Sachin Nandha

Navalkant Prinja

Amy Fitta

George Thomson

Joanne McCormack

Sugata Mitra

Professor Eugenio Proto

 

Steve Tsang

Suhag Shukla

Aniruddha Rajput

Drishti Mae

Anil Asthana

Pippa Malmgren

Laura Lee

Ravi Sidhoo

Tracey Robbins

Virendra Arora

Acharya Vidyabhaskar

Lou Marinoff

Rev. Peter Groves

Manoj Ladwa

Mathew McManus

Rishi Handa

BoB Blackman, MP

Ravi Ladva

Tushar Shah

Prashaanta Singh

Jamie Whyte

Eric Lonergan

Amish Tripathi

Andy Bayley

Aditya Gurtu

Divya Prabha

Vandana Saxena Poria, OBE

Guillermo Guzman Dumont

 

Ram Madhav

Eimear Burke

Harsh Gupta

Kushal Mehra

Jonathan Woolley

Geoff Hoon

Paul Gately

 

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Shashi Tharoor

Author,  Politician and Senior Diplomat with the United Nations

An author, politician and former senior diplomat with the United Nations, living in India. During his nearly three-decade long prior career at the United Nations, he served as a peacekeeper, refugee worker, and administrator at the highest levels, serving as Under-Secretary General during Kofi Annan's leadership of the organisation. Dr. Tharoor is also an award-winning author of works of both fiction as well as non-fiction. He has written twenty books.

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Acharya Vidyabhaskar

Head of Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy at the Omkarananda Ashram

He completed his Masters in Comparative Religion and has a Postgraduate in Organisational Psychology from the University of Freiburg. He is currently working on several translation projects, including the Ten Upanishads of the Vedas, the Yoga sutras of Pantanjali and the Essence of the Rigveda.

Jamie Whyte

Liberal Economist, and Former Director of Research at the Institute for Economic Affairs, a London-based think-tank

He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge. He has taught philosophy at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He is the winner of the prestigious Bastiat Prize for journalism for his columns in the Financial Times. His books include Bad Thoughts: A Guide to Clear Thinking in the UK; 2003), A Load of Blair (2005), Free Thoughts (2012) and Quack Policy (2013).

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Steve Tsang

Director of the SOAS China Institute, London

He is an Emeritus Fellow of St Antony’s College at Oxford, and an Associate Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).

Gad Saad

Author and Professor of Evolutionary Psychology

He is a professor of evolutionary psychology at Concordia University and is the research chair in evolutionary behavioural sciences and Darwinian consumption. He is an author of three books including his latest called The Parasitic Mind.

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Ram Madhav

Founder and Director of India Foundation, a Policy Institute based in Delhi

He is the General Secretary of the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) of India. He is the author of “Uneasy Neighbours: India and China after fifty years of the war”. He is widely known as the strategist behind the rise of the BJP in India’s elections and advocating for a more active foriegn policy in South-east Asia.

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Suhag Shukla

Executive Director of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF)

A lawyer by training, she has helped steer the foundation towards being recognised as a leading voice for civil rights, human rights, and religious freedom. 

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Lou Marinoff

Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York

He is the founder of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association, and is an international best-selling author. He is a world authority on applying philosophical traditions to problems of everyday life. His books include Plato: not Prozac (1999), The Middle Way (2007), On Human Conflict (2019).

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Eric Lonergan

Author, Macro-Hedge Fund Manager and Economist

His recent book called Angrynomics (2020) co-authored with Mark Blyth explores how increasingly economic models no longer relate to what real people experience. He has written widely for Financial Times, Foriegn Affairs and the Economist. 

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Eimear Burke

Head of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids

She is a psychologist by training, and a story-teller of ancient Irish tales. She works with a growing number of OBOD members from across the United Kingdom organising camps and retreats to resurrect Pagan culture.

Makarand Paranjape

Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla

He has obtained his PhD from the University of Illinois and has been a Professor of English at Jawaharlal Nehru University for over twenty years. His latest books include Swami Vivekananda: Hinduism and India’s Road to Modernity (HarperCollins 2020), New Perspectives in Indian Science and Civilization (Routledge 2020).

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Aniruddha Rajput

Member of the United Nations International Law Commission (2017-21)

He was the Chairperson of the Drafting Committee at the 69th Session of the ILC. His areas of expertise include dispute resolution, boundary disputes, law of the sea, international investment law and international trade law. He has taught international law at the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi and National Law University, Delhi. He is an advocate at the Supreme Court of India.

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Rev. Peter Groves

Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford

He is an ordained Church of England priest, and has a doctorate in Theology. He is an academic and teaches the history of doctrine at Oxford.

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Amish Tripathi

Founder and Director of India Foundation, a Policy Institute based in Delhi

He is an Eisenhower Fellow and Director of London’s Nehru Centre. He was listed amongst the 50 most influential Indians by India Today magazine in 2019 having sold millions of copies of his books - The Shiva Trilogy and Ram Chandra series.

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Harsh Gupta

Chief Investment Officer at the Ashika Group, India

He is an economist, who has a MBA from INSEAD and is a Dartmouth alumnus. He is a published author - Modinomics (2014), and has written extensively on economics. He is widely published and has spoken across the world about an emerging India.

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Abhijit Iyer Mitra

Senior Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies

He specialises in defence economics & has been a visiting fellow at Sandia National Laboratories and the Stimson Centre, and regularly publishes on Defence and Foreign Policy.

Drishti Mae

President of the National Hindu Students' Forum (UK)

She is the President of the National Hindu Students Forum (NHSF) which is the largest Hindu student organisation outside of India with over 3,500 members. She was born into a typical Muslim family in the United Kingdom. She left Islam at the age of 19, and had to leave home. Today she is an Enterprise Architect at Unilever.

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Manoj Ladwa

Founder of India Inc, a London based Media House

He has interests in India focused advisory services, angel investing, government affairs, and publishing.  For 15 years Manoj practised as a corporate lawyer running his own firm with offices in Westminster & Mumbai before turning his attention to business, charitable, and political interests in the UK & India.

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Andy Bayley

Associate Lecturer at Loughborough University’s Centre for Information Management

He has over 30 years experience in leading operations and logistics functions in the global Aerospace sector. He lectures on both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes with special interest in Change management, strategic change, and creative problem solving.

Kushal Mehra

Host of the Cārvāka Podcast

He is an upcoming podcaster from Mumbai, India. His podcast called Carvaka is growing in popularity and most of his well wishers are Indians who live in the United States. He is a student of Philosophy, and is attempting to resurrect the serious study of the Carvaka school of Philosophy.

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Sachin Nandha

CEO of PillboxCapital, Public philosopher

He sits as an Executive and Non-Exec in several scale-up businesses.He has a doctorate in Political Philosophy, and has a keen interest in the study of Liberty and Liberalism. He has a Postgraduate in Christian and Islamic Theology, and wrote his thesis on the incompatibility of Islamic doctrine and Liberty. He is also the International Coordinator for Vichaar Manthan.

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Anil Asthana

Medical Director, Founding trustee of Rashtram

He is a specialist Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist and has a special interest in the study of religion

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Matthew McManus

Professor of Politics at Whitman College, Washington

He is a Professor of Politics at Whitman College, Washington State. He has authored several books, notably “The Rise of Postmodern Conservatism”. He has written extensively on a range of topics from “Liberalism and Socialism, mortal enemies or estranged kin?” to “Making Human Dignity Central to International Human Rights Law.

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Aditya Gurtu

Sanskrit Scholar

Aditya Gurtu teaches Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy in London. He spent four years studying classical texts and Sanskrit grammar in India. He has also completed an Engineering degree from Cambridge University. He spoke about Hindu identity.

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Jonathan Woolley

Social Anthropologist

Dr Jonathan Woolley is a Mount Haemus Scholar of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, he has published widely on English folklore and nature spirituality. He completed his PhD from Cambridge University.

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Navalkant Prinja

Technical Director at Clean Energy

Professor Prinja questioned what purpose marriage serves. He explored the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects and asked whether the current generation has lost its roots. 

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Pippa Malmgren

Economist

Dr Pippa Malmgren is an ex-economic advisor to the Bush (Jnr) White House in the USA and was recently ranked as one of the most influential economists in the world. She spoke about the economic repercussions of Pandemics.

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Rishi Handa

Head of Sanskrit at St James Senior Boys’ School, London

Dr Rishi Handa holds a PhD in Hindu and Sikh Studies focusing on the construction of religious identities. He spoke on the emerging Hindu identity in modern Britain.

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Minister-in-Charge of Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre

Swami Sarvasthananda argued for why Swami Vivekananda is more than a brand in contemporary modern Britain.

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Founding member of the Jammu and Kashmir Study centre

Vinod Tikoo joined the VM platform after Article 370 was revoked. He spoke from the perspective of the Kashmir people, having lived there and faced much of the trouble first hand.

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Founder-CEO Illumine Knowledge Resources

Srinivas spoke on Vivekananda's ideas and how they can be applied in corporate settings, in a tried and successful manner.

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Lecturer at University of Oxford; Trustee of Chinmaya Mission UK

Dr Pattni explored the psychology of Yoga as a model of well-being and flow for positive psychology.

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Sanskrit scholar and pracharak for the HSS

Dr Vaidya illustrated how the principles of Hindu philosophy are put to practice in order to lead a fulfilled life. He stressed the importance of service (Karma Yoga) and the organic society that develops when people are kind to one other.

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GP, with experience in Global Health and Humanities

Dr Chandegra examined the role of the stories we tell ourselves and how they're critical to our well being, in the context of a VM on loneliness and social isolation.

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Journalist and Founder Abhedya Voluntary Organisation

Amitabh Soni reflected on the ideas and philosophy of Vivekananda and explored the Hindu contribution to Big Society. 

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Yoga teacher

Amy Fitta spoke about the benefits and psychological aspects of yoga as a lifestyle that brings harmony and well being into our lives.

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Director General at Fabian Society

Andrew Harrop argued on the side of the political left in our discussion about the role of Integral Humanism as a 'third way' in the debate between socialism vs. capitalism. 

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Member of Parliament for Harrow East

Bob Blackman questioned whether we can rethink the Welfare State. During this discussion, we explored capitalism, communism and a possible 'third way'. 

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Vice Chairman of the World Organisation of Students and Youths

Divya Prabha explains Dharma and gave the Dharmic perspective of what a Hindu wedding ought to be in Modern Britain.

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Geoff Hoon

Former Defence Secretary, United Kingdom

Geoff Hoon was a British Labour Party politician who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashfield from 1992 to 2010. He is a former Defence Secretary, Transport Secretary, Leader of the House of Commons and Government Chief Whip. He spoke about the ethical implications of War. 

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George Thomson

Professor, Consultant Endocrinologist

George Thomson has occupied several leadership roles within the UK's healthcare system, serving as a Medical Director. He spoke on the impacts of pandemics on healthcare systems.

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Chevening Scholar at the University of Oxford, Journalist, Author

Hindol Sengupta spoke on Hindu identity where he explored the emerging confidence of modern Hindus globally and emphasised the need to engage in open dialogue with other traditions.  

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Acharya for Chinmaya Mission UK

Brahmacharini Shripriya spoke on the need for clarifying terms when teaching and discussing Hindu philosophy. 

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Teacher of South Asian history and educationist of multicultural education

Burjor Avari explored the integration between Hindus and Muslims since 700AD, when Arab traders first began to arrive in India.

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Sah-Sarakaryavah (Joint General Secretary) of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)

Dattatreya Hosabale appeared on the VM platform to have a dialogue with the audience, giving an opportunity to critically analyse the RSS and its work.

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Futurist, Catalyst, Innovator, Author

David Wood spoke about how technology will alter humanity, and how our political and social institutions will be made redundant and ineffective in regulating our world unless we can seriously re-think what it means to be human.David Wood spoke about how technology will alter humanity, and how our political and social institutions will be made redundant and ineffective in regulating our world unless we can seriously re-think what it means to be human.

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Animal Rights Advocate

Dina Aherne explored why the current animal welfare law might not be enough and how we can support the animal rights campaign by taking small steps in changing our behaviour. 

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Member of Parliament for the UK Independence Party, representing Clacton

Douglas Carswell joined us in the lead up to the Brexit vote, to debate whether we should leave or stay in the EU.

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Research Fellow at the School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies in Manchester

Dr James Duggan spoke about his most recent project, Loneliness Connects Us, a youth co-research project funded by the Co-op Foundation and developed in partnership with 42nd Street Manchester.

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Jay Jina

European IT Director and a part time university academic

Dr Jina examined the Hindu psyche during our event on the Hindu Inferiority Complex. He attempted to explain some of the general attitudes of how Hindus see themselves in relation to others.

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Best-selling author and founder of VASA – Vedic Academy of Sciences & Arts

Jeffrey Armstrong discussed the key differences between the philosophies of the East and the West, particularly Hinduism compared with prevalent Western theological world-view.

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Joanne McCormack

General Practitioner (GP)

Dr. Joanne McCormack is a Medical General Practitioner in the UK. She is the founder of the charity www.PHCuk.org. She spoke on the limitations of veganism.

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Award-winning sex workers' rights campaigner and speaker

Laura Lee argued for the de-criminalising prostitution and the legal rights of sex workers.

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H.M. King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan Fellow for the Study of Love in Religion at Regent’s Park College, Oxford

Dr Dallh offered his perspective on what the suffering in the world tells us about God.

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President of INSA and Doctorate of Quantum Entanglement at University of Cambridge

Mruttinjoy Majumadar explored the modern relationship between India and Britain and debated whether an emerging India can save a declining Britain.

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Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 until 1999

Lord Ashdown joined us in the lead up to the Brexit vote, to debate whether we should leave or stay in the EU.

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Reader in Culture & Law, Queen Mary, University of London

Dr Shah came on to the VM platform when parliament was due to debate the Caste provision of the Equality Act. We explored the history and implications for the Caste system. 

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Indian–American researcher and writer

Rajiv Malhotra presented the context in which Indian history is written and interpreted in the Western world.

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Ravi Ladwa

Public Historian

Historian and Writer, specialisation in Indian history between 1500 and 1947 especially the Maratha Empire. He spoke about history of pandemics and how nations managed the impacts.

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Managing Director of Cynergy Bank

Ravi Sidhoo explored the modern relationship between India and Britain and debated whether an emerging India can save a declining Britain.

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Professor at the Ghent University in Belgium

Professor Balagangadhara argued against the popular translation of itihaas as 'history'. He explored the historical roots of this misinterpretation and its consequences.

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Indian author, Professor of Strategy and former Chairman of the Aeronautical Society of India

Professor Modh questioned whether we can rethink the Welfare State. During this discussion, we explored capitalism, communism and a possible 'third way'. 

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Current Chairman and co-founder of Castewatch UK

Satpal Mumon came on to the VM platform when parliament was due to debate the Caste provision of the Equality Act. We explored the history and implications for the Caste system. 

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Writes and lectures on aspects of Indian and European thought

Dr Cross explained the influence of Hindu thought on western scholars in the past, during the renaissance and in the present world. He highlighted the growing embrace of 'alternative' lifestyles as people begin to combat the forces of crude materialism and its effects such as environmental damage.

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Best-selling author and psychologist, specialised in parenting and boys' education

Professor Biddulph highlighted the differences between raising boys and girls, which followed on to a discussion of the challenges we face in raising children with Hindu values in Britain today.

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Investor in Disruptive Technologies

Subhash Jogia explored the pros and cons of moving into the technological age, where it has become increasingly faster to create and destroy our world, and his emphasis lay on the need for a 'Dharma centred' technology.

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Professor of Educational Technology

Professor Mitra explained his research, which demonstrates how children teach themselves, and each other, in the absence of formal teaching and supervision. He put forward ideas on how should we educate the next generation to be prepared for a world that is rapidly changing. 

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UK Delivery Manager for the Eden Project Communities team

Tracey Robbins leads the work on loneliness, delivering initiatives that bring people together encouraging connection, engagement and participation. She explored what causes and reduces loneliness.

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Entrepreneur with a social conscience

Tushar Shah chaired the event exploring Swami Vivekananda's influence in modern Britain. 

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Director at UK India Business Council

Vandana Saxena Poria spoke on 'A Path Less Trodden' about her move to India where she works with the UK government to support British companies starting business in India.

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Ved Nandha

Professor of Law

Prof. Ved Nanda has been teaching law for over thirty years and is the Director at the International Legal Studies Program at the University of Denver, USAHe spoke on International Law in relation to India's global aspirations.

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Historian and author of the most comprehensive biography on Bhagat Singh

Virendra Arora spoke about the life and philosophy of Bhagat Singh; who he was and the underlying motivation behind his actions.

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Prashaanta Singh

Sportswoman

Prashaanta Singh, a sportswoman from Trinidad and Tobago and currently studying to be a dentist. She is an active member of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Prachar Kendra. Prashaanta is a two-time under 18 National Champion in archery, has won a medal for Trinidad and Tobago in the Pan American Karate Championship and was awarded most outstanding Karateka.