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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Medical Director, Founding trustee of Rashtram
He is a specialist Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist and has a special interest in the study of religion
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.