Lack of cash cuts Edinburgh Lectures to one speech

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivered a speech at the series. Picture: AP
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivered a speech at the series. Picture: AP
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THE prestigious Edinburgh Lectures series which has featured talks by international speakers such as Kofi Annan, Mikhail Gorbachev and F W De Klerk is to be reduced to just one keynote event due to a lack of funding.

The lectures were first launched in 1992 as part of a programme of events celebrating the UK’s Presidency of the European Union which culminated in the European Summit held in Edinburgh that year.

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Each year since then up to six lectures have been held however due to dwindling funding a decision has been made to host just one annual lecture.

It is hoped that focussing on a single event entitled Edinburgh Capital City Lecture, will allow organisers to attract a high profile speaker each year.

The lecture series is a partnership of institutions and organisations comprised of the council, Scottish Government, a host of city universities, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Creative Scotland.

Until recently, each partner organisation paid a fee to participate in the Lectures partnership, but some have found it increasingly difficult to justify this cost, in the light of widespread budget pressures. In 2014 only six lectures were presented as three partners either withdrew or were unable to provide a speaker.

The RT Hon Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Donald Wilson said: “For 24 years, the Edinburgh Lectures series has provided a platform for inspirational speakers to address major public issues in a national and international context. The city has welcomed fantastic speakers from all industries and walks of life, but with ongoing budget pressures and changing audience tastes, now is the right time for a refreshed format. I’m hopeful the new ‘Edinburgh Capital City Lecture’ will raise the international profile of the city and the event, and I hope loyal fans won’t be disappointed by what it brings.”

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