Beyond the Culture Wars

Rt Hon Rory Stewart

Gemma Mortensen

Alex Smith

Dame Sara Khan

Ian Leslie (Chair)

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Can we restore a shared set of values?

Panel session

Tuesday 24th May, London: 10.05 – 11.00

How practically do we prevent further fracturing of national values? What are the risks and key fissures? How can we disagree better?


  • Rt Hon Rory Stewart: Rory Stewart is a Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute, Yale University, and author of several books including Places in Between and Can Intervention Work?. Between 2010 and 2019, he was MP for Penrith and The Border, the largest geographical constituency in England. He has recently started a politics podcast with Alastair Campbell, The Rest is Politics.

  • Gemma Mortensen: Gemma Mortensen is an award-winning social entrepreneur and a thinker and practitioner in how to bring about transformative, systemic change. Gemma is currently working on New Constellations; a new initiative to help communities imagine and create a future of human and planetary flourishing. She sits on the global advisory boards of Yale University’s International Leadership Centre and the Apolitical Foundation.

  • Alex Smith: Alex Smith is the Founder and CEO of The Cares Family, a group of charities bringing older and younger neighbours together to reduce loneliness, generational divides and polarisation. In 2018, Alex was appointed one of 20 inaugural Obama Foundation Fellows, selected from 21,000 applicants from around the world. Alex was formerly an adviser to Ed Miliband when he was Leader of the Labour Party, and editor of one of the biggest political websites in the UK, LabourList.

  • Dame Sara Khan: Former Lead Commissioner for the Commission for Countering Extremism (2018-2021).  In March 2021, Sara was appointed by the Prime Minister as the government’s Independent Adviser for Social Cohesion and Resilience.

  • Chair: Ian Leslie: Ian Leslie is a writer and author of acclaimed books on human behaviour, including his latest book Conflicted, which explores how we can disagree better. He writes for the New Statesman, the Economist, the Guardian and the Financial Times, and advises CEOS and CMOs on communication and workplace culture.

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