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Lord Jonny Oates in Conversation with Milton Nkosi

Wednesday 1st December 2021, 19:00 - 20:30

You are invited to join us for this exciting event on Wednesday 1st December in which Lord Jonny Oates will share his personal experiences of working in Africa with the former BBC journalist and media thought-leader, Milton Nkosi. The event is open to everyone and we hope that it will be a source of inspiration for those Warwick students, staff and alumni who have already volunteered as part of the Warwick in Africa programme or hope to do so in the future. Lord Jonny Oates is a strong advocate for responsible and impactful international volunteering, and is a great example of the transformative experience it offers. The conversation will be followed by a Q&A session in which audience members will be able to submit their own questions.

Click here to register for this event, hosted on Microsoft Teams.

You will receive your invitation link by e-mail before the event begins.

Join us!

Recruitment for volunteering positions in school in Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa will open on Monday 10th January 2022. Student placements are fully funded and will take place during the summer vacation period of 2022.

Warwick in Africa Community events, including voluntary opportunities for students and staff are advertised year round.

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About the speakers

Lord Jonny Oates was born in 1969 and educated at Marlborough College. He was the director of communications for the Liberal Democrats for the 2010 general election and chief of staff to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg through the coalition government of 2010–15. Inspired by Michael Buerk’s world-famous broadcast from the Ethiopian famine, he ran away from home to Addis Ababa in 1985, hoping to help victims of the Ethiopian famine – an endeavour that, unsurprisingly, proved unsuccessful. He subsequently worked as a teacher in a rural school in Zimbabwe and as a political adviser in South Africa’s first post-apartheid parliament. He has been a member of the House of Lords since October 2015, where he focuses on climate change, international development and mental health.

Milton Nkosi was the BBC’s Africa Bureau Analyst and Correspondent until the end of January 2020. He joined the Corporation in the late 80s, just before the release of Nelson Mandela. He covered all of the township wars and the subsequent political negotiations that followed. Despite being an award-winning journalist, Mr Nkosi would rather people remember that he is an ordinary township boy from Orlando West in Soweto, who supports Orlando Pirates! Nkosi was born in Soweto. He is married with two children and lives in Johannesburg.

In 2020, Lord Jonny Oates published his autobiography, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden

" Aged fifteen and armed with a credit card stolen from his father, Jonny Oates ran away from home and boarded a plane to Addis Ababa. His plan? To single-handedly save the Ethiopian people from the devastating 1985 famine. Discovering on arrival that the demand for the assistance of unskilled fifteen-year-old English boys was limited, he learned the hard lesson that you can’t change the world by just force of will.

A rare political memoir from a figure whose life before politics is every bit as gripping as their time in the corridors of power, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden charts Oates’s darkest moments as an idealistic but troubled schoolboy alone in Ethiopia, struggling with his sexuality and mental health; it traces his journey onwards – to Zimbabwe, where, aged eighteen, he becomes deputy headteacher of a rural secondary school; to South Africa in the final year of Nelson Mandela’s presidency, where he works in the first post-apartheid parliament as the country seeks to shape a future from its bitterly divided past; and, ultimately, to the roller-coaster ride of Britain’s first post-war coalition government, where, as Nick Clegg’s chief of staff, he plays a key role in the struggle for his own country’s future and learns important lessons about the difference between power and duty.

Shot through with a captivating warmth and humour, this heart-stoppingly candid memoir reflects on the challenges of balancing idealism and pragmatism, reminding us that lasting change comes from working together rather than standing alone."