Cyril Foster Lecture | Events

Cyril Foster Lecture

The Cyril Foster Lecture is the University's principal annual guest lecture in the field of International Relations. 

We know very little about Cyril Foster, except that he lived and died in a caravan and owned several small shops in and around London. Yet, international peace was so important to him that he left a significant bequest to the University of Oxford – though he had no known previous connection to us – which included the creation of an annual lecture series on the ‘elimination of war and the better understanding of the nations of the world’. 

2018: Professor Barbara F Walter, UC San Diego

Professor Barbara F. Walter (UC San Diego) delivered the 2018 Cyril Foster Lecture on 'The New New Civil Wars' on the 17th May 2018.

Past lectures

The Cyril Foster Lectures began in 1960 and the list of previous lecturers includes prominent personalities from the world of politics and policy, from prime ministers and foreign ministers to secretary-generals of the United Nations and heads of major international organizations, as well as prominent academics:

1960 Eugene Black, President of World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development)

The Age of Economic Development’ 

1961 Paul-Henri Spaak, Secretary-General of North Atlantic Treaty Organization

‘NATO - A Link between the Peoples of the West’

1962 Lord Fisher of Lambeth, 99th Archbishop of Canterbury

‘The Church and its particular Unities’

1963 Lord Gladwyn Jebb, former Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations

‘Peaceful Co-existence’

1964 Lord Patrick M. S. Blackett, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics

‘What are the Prospects of Disarmament?’

1965 Sir Edward Heath, MP 

‘Britain’s Place in the Modern World’

1967 Dr Gregory Pincus

‘The Effective Control of Population Growth’

1968 Sir William Slater

‘Hunger in an Angry World’

1969 Reginald Maudling, MP

‘Money and the Nations’

1970 Lord David Owen, MP

‘Lions in the Path of Economic Development’

1971 Lord Caradon, Hugh M. Foot

‘Parliamentary Diplomacy and New Opportunities at the United Nations’

1972 Lord Denis Healey, MP

‘European Security in the Seventies’

1973 Sir Brian Urquhart, Undersecretary-General of the United Nations

‘The United Nations: Responsibility without Power’

1974 Egon Bahr, Minister for Economic Co-operation for Germany

‘The Future of European Security’

1975 Elliot Richardson, US Ambassador to UK

‘The Dynamics of Stability in East-West Relations’

1976 Lord Ralf Dahrendorf, Director of London School of Economics

‘Inequality, Hope and Progress’

1977 Dr Conor Cruise O’Brien, TD

‘Liberty and Terror’

1978 Lord Roy Jenkins of Hillhead, President of the European Commission

‘Europe and the Third World: the Political Economy of Interdependence’

1979 Dr Mohamed Heikal

‘Problems of Peace-making in the Middle East’

1980 Lord Christopher Soames

‘From Rhodesia to Zimbabwe’

1981 George W. Ball, former US Ambassador to the UN

‘The View for 1981’

1982 A Series of Lectures

Hedley Bull, Stanley Hoffmann, Rosalyn Higgins, Philip Windsor, Dominique Moïsi, Edward N. Luttwak, Michael Akehurst, Richard A. Falk, and Evan Luard on ‘Intervention in World Politics’

1983 Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

‘America: the Perplexities of Power’

1984 Fernando Moran, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Spain

‘Spain and the International Order’

1985 Prof Stanley Hoffmann, Harvard University

‘Hedley Bull’s Contribution to International Relations’

1986 Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Secretary-General of the United Nations

‘The Role of the Secretary-General of the United Nations’

1986 A Series of Lectures

Michael Howard, Anthony Parsons, Tom Franck, Tom Farer, Kenneth Dadzie, Nagendra Singh, Maurice Bertrand and Evan Luard on ‘The United Nations in a Divided World’

1987 Sir Shridath Ramphal, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth

‘World Without Order’

1988 Lord Geoffrey Howe of Aberavon, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

‘Soviet Foreign Policy’

1989 His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan

‘Prospects for Peace in the Middle East’

1990 Prof Krzysztof Skubiszewski, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Poland

‘Contemporary Europe: The Dilemma of Change and Stability’

1991 Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, former US Ambassador to UN

‘Pandaemonium: Ethnicity Now’

1993 Sir Marrack Goulding, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Political Affairs

The Evolution of United Nations Peacekeeping

1994 Strobe Talbott, Deputy Secretary of State for the United States

‘Challenges and Opportunities in an increasingly interdependent World’

1995 Prof Stanley Hoffmann, Harvard University

‘Moral and Political Philosophy and International Relations’

1996 Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations

The Diplomatic Role of the United Nations Secretary-General

1997 Dr Pierre Hassner, Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales, SciencesPo

‘The Bourgeois and the Barbarian: War and Peace in the Post-Military Age’

1998 Rolf Ekéus, Swedish Ambassador to the USA

‘Controlling Weapons of Mass Destruction: The UN Experience in Iraq’

1999 Prof Geoffrey Best, University of Oxford

‘Peace Conferences and the Century of Total War - The 1899 Hague Conference and What Came After’

2000 Michel Camdessus, former Managing Director of IMF

‘The IMF in 2000: What has Been Learnt?’

2001 Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Why Democracy is an International Issue

2002 Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President of Brazil

‘Towards Democratic Global Governance - A Brazilian Perspective’

2003 Lord Chris Patten of Barnes, European Commissioner for External Relations

‘“The End of History” - The Sequel’

2004 Gareth Evans, President and CEO of International Crisis Group

‘When is it Right to Fight? Rethinking the Jurisprudence of Military Force’

2005 Dr Jessica Tuchman Mathews, President of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

‘Getting Back on the Right Path: The US Role in the World’

2006 Jack Straw, Leader of the House of Commons

‘Democracy and Identity: Building a Global Union’

2007 Dr Karen Koning AbuZayd, Commissioner-General for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

‘Palestinian Refugees in their 60th Year: Issues of Human Rights, Public Policy and International Law’

2008 Dr Javier Solana, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy

Europe in the World: Next Steps

2009 Dr William Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs for United States

‘America and the World in a New Era’

2010 Prof Harold James, Princeton University

‘International Order after the Financial Crisis’

2011 Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Human Protection and the 21st Century United Nations

2013 Prof Samuel Moyn, Columbia University

‘The Political Origins of Global Justice’

2014 Prof Loukas Tsoukalis, University of Athens

Has European Integration Reached the End of the Road?’

2016 Geir Lundestad, former director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute

'Twenty-five Years in the Search for Peace: Reflections on the Nobel Peace Prize'

2017 Sir Lawrence Freedman, King's College London

‘Fear and Loathing in International Relations’