The Debating Chamber looks set to lay empty during Easter TermEXECELECT

The Cambridge Union has unveiled its first week of events after moving to a virtual format for Easter Term.

The first week will include three open-to-all sessions including a debate on global governmental lockdown strategies (23/04), and an evening session with former Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (27/04).

The announcement of the move to an exclusively online format arises as faculties, colleges and the University more widely are considering how to move resources and events online, with face-to-face events seemingly unfeasible for the foreseeable future.


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Thursday’s debate, which will be live-streamed on the Union’s YouTube channel at 6pm BST, is entitled “This House Backs Global Governments’ Lockdowns”. This will feature eight speakers, including the former President of the World Medical Association Dr Leonid Eidelman, Professor of Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Dr John Edmunds OBE, and State Epidemiologist of the Swedish Public Health Agency Dr Anders Tegnell who currently leads Sweden’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former Democratic Presidential hopeful and House of Representatives member Beto O’Rourke will then address the Union on Monday 27th April, followed by a panel event on Thursday 30th entitled “Does Coronavirus Show Humanity at its Best?”, featuring former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and historian Peter Frankopan amongst others. Both will also be live-streamed at 6pm BST.

The Union has also announced several online social events for this term. Virtual pub quizzes will be held after every debate, alongside meditation sessions on Mondays and Fridays, and a ‘Bake Off’-style competition with a prize of a Cambridge punting tour when the University reopens.

Due to the current situation the Union has decided not to publish its entire term card immediately, citing an increased risk of changes or cancellations to planned events.  Events will instead be announced in weekly instalments due to the risk of the alteration of planned events.