Dicey Conference 2016: 'Is Britain's Democracy Ripe for Reform?'


The 2016 Dicey Conference WAS at Trinity College, Oxford on Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th March:

Inspiring young people to debate topical issues and to think about their future role in society


With previous speakers including Shami Chakrabarti, Sir Richard Dearlove and Sir Roger Bannister, 'Dicey' provides a unique, and sometimes life-changing, educational opportunity for bright sixth formers from both state and independent schools.  Small syndicate groups follow each of the four talks and 'Dicey' culminates in a ‘Question Time’ plenary session.

The McWhirter Foundation and its supporters host 'Dicey' at Trinity College Oxford, with no cost to those attending. The conference encourages students to think about their own role in society and to think about how they might get involved with shaping Britain's future. Since 1975, more than 2,500 sixth formers have attended a Dicey Conference.

Dicey 2016 Speakers

   Conference Chairman: Graham Durgan - Entrepreneur, mentor, publisher, Chairman of Emile Woolf (Holdings) Ltd., Chairman and founder of Non-Executive Directors Association, Young Presidents Organisation

Graham Durgan trained as a Chartered Accountant and has spent the last 30 plus years creating businesses in a number of sectors including ski holidays and car dealerships. He has also turned companies around in areas such as training and publishing.

 He has run public companies but prefers smaller, more entrepreneurial entities. Today he is Chairman at Emile Woolf International, International Financial Publishing, Thomas Murray and Durgan Monstein. He has offices in locations as diverse as London, Beijing and Lahore.

 He is a Fellow at the International Capital Markets Association, an advisor to Mazars, a Council Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and Chairman of the Non-Executive Directors’ Association.

Conference Chairman: Entrepreneur, mentor, publisher, Chairman of Emile Woolf (Holdings) Ltd., Chairman and founder of Non-Executive Directors Association, Young Presidents Organisation


Katie Ghose is an English campaigner and lawyer, and currently Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society. She was National Chair of the ‘YES! to Fairer Votes’ campaign in the 2011 UK Alternative Vote referendum. She is a past director of the British Institute of Human Rights.

Katie read Law at Somerville College, Oxford, where she edited the student newspaper Cherwell, before studying for a Masters in Political Science at the University of California, Riverside. She has practiced as a barrister from 1999, specialising in immigration, family and Human Rights law. She has also worked as a parliamentary researcher; for the Citizens Advice Bureau; for Child Accident Prevention Trust; and Age Concern. She served as a Commissioner on the Independent Asylum Commission from 2006-2008. She has chaired Asylum Aid (1997-1999), and Bail for Immigration Detainees (2002-2004), and was a trustee of Stonewall (2005-2011).

She has also sought selection in several parliamentary seats for the Labour Party.

Sir Anthony Seldon.jpg

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham, is a leading contemporary historian, educationalist, commentator and political author. 

He was Master of Wellington College, one of Britain's leading independent schools, until 2015. He is author or editor of over 40 books on contemporary history, politics and education, was the co-founder and first director of the Centre for Contemporary British History, is co-founder of Action for Happiness, and is honorary historical adviser to 10 Downing Street. 

His many other activities include being Chair of the National Comment Awards, a member of the First World War Centenary Culture Committee, and a governor of The Royal Shakespeare Company.

Les Green is the Professor of the Philosophy of Law and Fellow of Balliol College.  He also holds a part-time appointment as Professor of Law and Distinguished University Fellow at Queen's University in Canada.  After beginning his teaching career as a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, he moved to Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.  He has also been a visiting professor at many other law faculties, including Berkeley, NYU, Chicago and, for some years, at the University of Texas at Austin.  Professor Green writes and teaches in the areas of jurisprudence, constitutional theory, and moral and political philosophy.  He serves on the board of several journals and is co-editor of the annual Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law and of the book series Oxford Legal Philosophy.


Areeq Chowdhury is the Chief Executive of WebRoots Democracy, a pressure group which campaigns for greater voter participation and the introduction of online voting.  Alongside this, he works full-time in public sector audit for a big four accountancy firm in Canary Wharf, where he is also training for the ICAEW Associate Chartered Accountant qualification.

Areeq was born and brought up in Manchester and read Economics and Political Science at the University of Birmingham where he began researching the relationship between the internet and political participation.  After graduating in 2013, he moved to London and has worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the London Assembly, and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport.

At the age of 21, he founded WebRoots Democracy which has been working with politicians, charities, thinktanks, and technology companies on researching the benefits and challenges of introducing online voting in elections.

After Dinner Speaker

Born in the far north to parents who loved travel, good food, and experiencing new things: raised to relentless curiosity. Fell in love with the future via Asimov and Clarke at age 8, buttressed by my Dad's Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines. Read McLuhan and Mumford and Roszak as an undergrad, and the impact cascades rippling out from innovation became as interesting as the inventions themselves. Discovered an emerging academic discipline: futures studies. Discovered my love of images of our futures - whether in art, science fiction, design, movies, utopian literature - could be a tax write-off if 'futurist' were my profession. Became a changehunter, trendspotter, and emergentista to identify, track, and map the evolving changes from which our infinite futures will arise. Have been helping people articulate and explore their futures ever since: I teach people to daydream effectively.

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