Find out more about the panellists for our secondary schools Question Time event.
To attend the event, please email [email protected].
Journalist and broadcaster Samira Ahmed presents Front Row on Radio 4 and Newswatch on BBC1. She began her career as a BBC graduate news trainee, working as a news correspondent, reporter for BBC News, Newsnight, the Today programme and as a news anchor for BBC World and Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin. She covered the OJ Simpson civil trial while the BBC's LA Correspondent. Samira won the Stonewall broadcast of the year award during her 11 years at Channel 4 News, for a special report on so-called "corrective" rape in South Africa. Her articles and radio documentaries explore the intersection of culture, politics and social change. They have covered such topics as David Bowie, the wife of Oliver Cromwell, HG Wells and the invention of the atomic bomb and the Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Samira is a visiting professor of journalism at Kingston University.
Mehreen Baig is a presenter, activist and blogger who is on a mission to give a voice to young British Asian women. On the back of her appearance in BBC 2’s BAFTA award-winning documentary, Muslims Like Us in 2016, Mehreen has spoken at conferences around the world including the World Economic Forum in New Delhi. This year Mehreen has filmed Islam, Women and Me and Lost Boys? What’s Going Wrong for Asian Men, both shown on BBC, and Ramadan for Pilot Productions. Mehreen has also presented on The One Show and Sunday Morning Live. An ex-teacher, Londoner Mehreen is passionate about education and empowering young women.
Caroline Criado Perez is a writer, broadcaster and award-winning feminist campaigner. She is published across the major national media and regularly appears in both print and broadcast as a commentator. Her first book, Do it Like a Woman, was published by Portobello in 2015 and was chosen by Bridget Christie as one of her books of the year in the Guardian. She is currently working on her second book, which will be about the gender data gap. Caroline has a degree in English language and literature from the University of Oxford, and studied behavioural and feminist economics at the LSE. She was the 2013 recipient of the Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year award, and was named OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015.
Valerie Vaz MP was elected MP for Walsall South in May 2010 and re-elected in May 2015 and June 2017. Valerie was appointed to the role of Shadow Leader of the House in October 2016.
Valerie served on the Health Select Committee 2010-2015, Environment, Regulatory Reform Committee 2010-15, Food and Rural Affairs Committee 2016, Science & Technology Select Committee 2015-2016, and House of Commons Governance Committee 2014-2015. Valerie was appointed to the Panel of Chairs June 2015-2016.
Valerie was elected Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Epilepsy 2015-2017 and is now Vice-Chair. A member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK Executive Committee and House of Commons Commission.
Valerie is a lawyer and her legal experience includes working for the Government Legal Service, working for local government legal departments, setting up her own law firm and sitting as a Deputy District Judge. She was also a BBC TV presenter for Network East. From 1986-1990 Valerie was a Councillor in Ealing.
The Reverend Canon Dr James Walters is Chaplain to the London School of Economics and founding director of the LSE Faith Centre. The centre works to promote religious understanding and interfaith leadership within the LSE’s global student body, in government and to the wider public. Canon Walters is also a senior lecturer at the LSE Marshall Institute and a senior fellow of the LSE Institute of Public Affairs. He has published several books including Religion and the Public Sphere: New Conversations and Loving Your Neighbour in an Age of Religious Conflict. Within the wider Church of England, he is a canon of Chichester Cathedral and represents universities on the General Synod, the Church’s governing body.
Anthony Zacharzewski runs the Democratic Society, a citizen participation organisation based in Brussels and Manchester. He works on projects at local, national and European level, trying to bring citizens’ voices into government, and changing political and bureaucratic discussions in the direction of open government and reform. Before starting the Democratic Society in 2006, he was a civil servant, working in the Treasury and Cabinet Office and for the city of Brighton & Hove.
The Shrine of St Edward the Confessor is one of the most powerful features of the Abbey. To stand in the presence of a man who is both a saint and a monarch is awe-inspiring.