Lord Provost George Grubb and Olivia Giles launch the Edinburgh Lectures 2012The Edinburgh Lectures 2012 series has announced one of its best ever line-ups to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this long running lecture programme.

Illustrious speakers such as Kate Adie, Lord David Puttnam, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Olivia Giles are included in the 2012 series – which will celebrate those who have achieved the extraordinary in their own field.

Entitled ‘Extraordinary Feats, Extraordinary People’, the series will feature thought-provoking and illuminating talks, during a year in which many in the sporting world will attempt to push the boundaries of human endeavour.

This anniversary programme will run from February to June and will present a variety of subjects, from the achievements of women in the field of astronomy, or being woken from a coma to be told your hands and feet have been amputated, to dispelling the myths that forensic anthropology is solely focused on identifying bones.

The confirmed speakers are:

  • Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS FRSE, British astrophysicist credited with the discovery of radio pulsars
  • Kate Adie OBE, British broadcaster and previous Chief News Correspondent for the BBC
  • Magnus Macfarlane Barrow OBE, Founder of Mary’s Meals
  • Dr Olivia Giles OBE, Campaigner and fundraiser
  • Pinky Liliani OBE, Celebrated motivational speaker and Indian cookery specialist
  • Dr George Kerr CBE, Renowned Scottish Judo expert and holder of 10th Dan.
  • Mark Cousins, Director and Filmmaker (The Story of Film: An Odyssey)
  • Lord David Puttnam CBE, British film producer
  • Professor Sue Black OBE, Director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee
  • His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Spiritual Leader of Tibet

The Rt Hon George Grubb, Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, said: “Since 1992, the Edinburgh Lectures have provided a platform for prestigious speakers to address major public issues in a national and international context. This year’s theme will be a fantastic opportunity to hear about the lives of those people who really have achieved something remarkable. We’re delighted to have created a stunning line-up of speakers for a very special twentieth anniversary of the series.”

Olivia Giles OBE, will deliver the fourth lecture of the series at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, entitled ‘The Power of Opportunity’ and presented by Queen Margaret University.

She said: “I am delighted to be speaking at this year’s very special twentieth anniversary series of the Edinburgh Lectures. Achieving the extraordinary is something we credit to only a very few individuals; however from past experience I have seen the potential and capacity of ordinary people to achieve incredible feats when they have to – or really want to. Being alive and receptive to the opportunities that present themselves in everyday life, is the first step to finding the courage to grasp them and the stamina to deliver on them.”

Previous Edinburgh Lectures have seen over 200 high calibre speakers from home and abroad provide insightful and stimulating contributions. They have included Stephen Hawking, HRH The Princess Royal, Mikail Gorbachev, Sir Jackie Stewart and First Minister Alex Salmond.

The Lectures are led by the City of Edinburgh Council and presented in partnership with The University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Napier University, The Open University in Scotland, National Museums Scotland, Creative Scotland, The Scottish Government, The Royal Society of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Tickets can be booked:

– online at www.usherhall.co.uk

– in person at the Usher Hall Box Office, Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH1 2EA

– by telephone: 0131 228 1155, Monday – Friday 10am – 5.30pm

Full programme details can be accessed through the link at the top of the release.

The programme is also available on the Edinburgh Lectures blog. This includes speakers’ biographical details and information about the venues.

Follow the lecture series on Facebook and Twitter.



  1. The Dalai Lama will be lecturing in Edinburgh? Never saw that one coming, I’ll enquire about that one – you’re not going to get many chances to see the Dalai Lama lecturing.

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