David Alton

alton lecture


13/07/2016 | LJMU News release | Distributed by Public on 13/07/2016 15:39

Ambassador Fellowship: Professor The Lord David Alton

13th July 2016 | Written by Corporate Communications

Presented by: Jim Davies, High Sheriff of Merseyside

Honourable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Professor the Lord David Alton for the award of an Ambassador Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.

We propose Lord Alton in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the civic life of the city of Liverpool over more than four decades and at the University over the last two decades through the Roscoe Lecture Series and its associated Good Citizenship Awards.

David has never been one to shy away from a challenge – whether as the local councillor for Low Hill and Smithdown, where he was elected while still a student, as the MP for Edge Hill and Mossley Hill – the youngest member of the House of Commons – or as a human rights campaigner speaking on behalf of people in countries such as Burma, Tibet or North Korea – all of which he has visited.

But even he admits that establishing a public lecture series in 1997 after he stepped down from the House of Commons was a gamble and there was some scepticism about whether they would have any appeal.

Few, let alone David himself, would have predicted that nearly 20 years later the University would have given over 140 lectures to audiences averaging around 1,000 people per event.

David named the lecture series after one of his heroes, the 19th century polymath William Roscoe – one of the founders of the small institute which has evolved into this university.

Like David, Roscoe had the courage of his convictions, he was willing to defy the odds and follow his conscience, such as voting against slavery while MP for Liverpool in 1807 despite widespread public opposition.

I have no doubt that Roscoe would be proud that the lecture series that now bears his name has helped to change, not just the opinions of people attending talks, but also wider perceptions of the city itself.

Launched in the aftermath of the Toxteth riots, de-industrialisation, huge unemployment and the Militant era, the lectures have helped to promote the need for tolerance, respect, for more co-operative politics, and for people to work together for the good of the city. The lectures have given a platform to industrialists, scientists, Cabinet Ministers, heads of state, football managers, comedians, campaigners and even members of the Royal family, to share their views and join with the people of Liverpool to debate the issues that really matter to the city.

Through the Roscoe Lectures, David has enabled the University to tackle a wide range of issues head on through public debate. Many have explored the lighter side of life, such as the role of humour in times of trouble, by comedian Ken Dodd, while others have examined the darker side of humanity, with harrowing but essential lectures by survivors of the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda. Such true life testimonies demonstrate powerfully what can happen when you lose the freedoms we enjoy and sometimes take too much for granted. In the aftermath of the 2005 London bombings, David helped orchestrate a mini-series called Learning to Live Together, with lectures from speakers representing the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths.

That’s what’s so powerful about the Roscoe Lectures, they bring people of all ages, backgrounds and occupations together and by doing so, help promote the dignity of difference and the importance of being tolerant.

Throughout his time at the University, David has championed good citizenship and celebrated the important role that young people play in civic life across the region. LJMU now presents Good Citizenship Awards in around 800 schools and colleges across the region as well as within the University itself. From caring for disabled parents to raising money for good causes, the inspirational winners of these awards are the antithesis of the negative stereotypes of young people often peddled by the media and should fill us with hope for the future.

David is often heard saying ‘if you want to change the world you have to change your country, if you want to change your country you have to change your community, if you want to change your community, you have to change your family, and if you want to change your family you have to change yourself.’

Through his work at the University he has demonstrated how we can all play a part in changing our community, our city, and ourselves for the better.

As David prepares to retire from LJMU, he leaves a legacy of hope and a vision of a tolerant society, predicated on respect for others and freedom of speech, an ideal which is more important than ever given the turbulent and often violent times in which we live today.

Thus, it is with great pleasure that I present Professor the Lord David Alton, this most distinguished citizen of Liverpool, for an Ambassador Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.


At  meetings in Parliament this week David Alton highlighted the suffering and persecution of believers and atheists who are denied Article 18 freedoms. At the launch of Human Rights Without Frontiers’ annual report and at a subsequent meeting on human rights violations  numerous examples were given  of persecution and suffering from Iran to North Korea, Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, China to Bangladesh and many other countries where “Article 18 is honoured only in its breach”: See: http://hrwf.eu/


Religious Freedom Meeting Poster

Coming up….

At a time of deepening crisis in SYRIA and PAKISTAN, AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED is holding a briefing with eye-witness testimonies from two of their project partners.

 Date: Monday, 17th October

Time: 3pm

Venue: House of Lords Committee Room G


Head of the largest Catholic diocese in Pakistan, he led the

Church’s response to the Easter Day 2016 Lahore Massacre

and other atrocities affecting Christians and other minorities.



Providing emergency help in areas worst-affected

by violence and acute poverty, Sister Annie leads

a team of volunteers who go house-to-house, providing

food, shelter and medicine at great risk to their safety.


Aid to the Church in Need is providing emergency and pastoral help for those suffering persecution both in Syria, Pakistan and 135 other countries around the world.

Interest in the event is expected to be high. To secure your place, please notify us by contacting Johnny Dowling on 0208 661 5154 or john.dowling@acnuk.org

 Further details about the speakers and the event are available on request.





Yesterday, June 30th, friends of the late Eric Avebury gathered at the Royal Institution to celebrate Lord Avebury’s life and work. Eric’s causes included championing the Dalit “untouchables” in India and in promoting the Gypsy Caravan Sites Act. Whether at home or overseas Eric Avebury countered  ill-informed prejudices and scapegoating. One of those who paid tribute to him at the Royal Institution was Damian Le Bas who said that Eric Avebury was “one of the greatest friends the Gypsies ever had.” See:  





Over the past couple of decades thousands of Good Citizenship Awards have been distributed and Roscoe Lectures have  been staged by Liverpool John Moores University’s Roscoe Foundation For Citizenship.  David Alton chaired  140 of the 141 Roscoe Lectures staged between 1997 and June 2016.


Professor Monica Grady CBE and Professor Nigel Weatherill, Vice Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University with award winner Sam Walton, a PhD student at LJMU’s Astrophysics Research Institute.

Here, David Alton explains the background:

Good Citizenship Awards


Roscoe Lectures



Details of the 2016 Roscoe Lectures and the background to the life of William Roscoe and his poetry may be found at



Gonzaga 2016 Lectures – Glasgow:

 DAVID ALTON on the Fight for Human Rights 

Delivered at The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Vincent St, Glasgow. 

2016 - North Korea All Party group meeting on the plight of women and children (3)


View presentation atGlasgow 2016

Gonzaga Wall Poster


Friday June 17th 2016:

A Premier Radio Lecture: “The Battle of Beliefs – a matter of life and death” 

Premier Lecture: June 2016 – Liverpool: A Battle of Belief – a matter of life and death –

Click here for presentation

A Battle of Beliefs – a matter of

A Battle of Beliefs final draft

Premier Lecture



Right To Life Sponsored Walk – Ribble Valley – 2016:2016 Right To Life Sponsored Walk in Rible Valley

2016 Right To Life Sponsored Walk in Rible Valley (4)

2016 Right To Life Sponsored Walk in Rible Valley (7)

Promoting Human Life, Human Rights and Human Dignity-from the womb to the tomb.


Becket’s Fight For Conscience and Religious Freedom Commemorated at Westminster:

 (St.Thomas) Becket Week  Events  – go to Latest https://davidalton.net/latest/

Becket Symposium at Lambeth sponsored by Christian Heritage Centre. Click here:

Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurstadded 7 new photos.








Cardinal Charles Bo Visits Westminster and Calls for the promotion of human rights in Burma for “unity through diversity”: See


13226647_10153573617650887_6181297240721650911_nHug yes








 Eleanor Rathbone

7Oth Anniversary of the death of Eleanor Rathbone.


eleanor rathbone 2

To Listen to the Roscoe Lecture on January 14th 2016 on the life of Eleanor Rathbone go to:



eleanor rathbone4

Exhibition of Eleanor’s life opened at the House of Commons:






Eleanor Rathbone


David Alton is Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea

Website: www.appgnk.org

Twitter: @APPGNorthKorea

Facebook: facebook.com/appg.nk

Visit the All Party Group on North Korea Web Site for Details of forthcoming 2016 events:


and visit:


north korea map 2



David Alton BBC file photo

“Most of the things which matter the most can be summed up in pithy straight-forward words such as justice, liberty, duty, freedom,mercy, conscience, dignity, family, faith, fairness – life itself. These are the things which make for the common good and give people hope.”

Thank you for taking the time to visit this website. It was originally created by volunteers who wanted to provide easier access to some of the speeches I have made and to some of the articles and books which I have written.  Since then the site has been visited by over quarter of a million people from five continents with lots of positive and encouraging feedback.


Links on the site will take you to the contributions I made in the House of Commons between 1979 and 1997 – where I sat as a Liberal – and in the House of Lords – where I sit as an Independent Crossbench Peer – from 1997 until now.

There are also links to countries and issues about which I have taken a particular interest – such as poverty, gendercide, human cloning, and human trafficking.  The site  also features human rights reports on situations witnessed first-hand in countries like Sudan and Darfur, Congo, North Korea and Burma.  There are power point presentations and audio from talks. There are also biographical details and some links to organisations which whom I work or which champion some of the causes featured on this site.

Thank you for joining the visitors – I hope that you find what you were looking for.

“Doing politics as if people mattered.”

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