Amnesty announces 'world's top intellectual coming to Belfast

Amnesty International has announced that one of the world’s leading intellectuals, Professor Noam Chomsky, will come to Belfast on 30 October to give the organisation’s annual lecture at the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's.

The lecture will look at the areas examined in Chomsky’s forthcoming book 'Hopes and Prospects', in which he draws hope for the future from the new social struggles in Latin America and the rise of grassroots campaigning for Obama in the US. In the book he writes: 'Popular activism has repeatedly brought about substantial gains in freedom and justice.'

Noam Chomsky said:

'The UK has seen recently what other states have experienced countless times before – that their political and economic leaders can’t be trusted to do what’s right. Activism is growing all over the world and ordinary people are realising that they can be agents for change. For years, Amnesty has been mobilising people to stand up for justice and I’m delighted to be giving their lecture in Belfast.'

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International Northern Ireland Director, said:

'It’s fantastic to have someone of Noam Chomsky’s standing to give the Amnesty Lecture this year in Belfast. We hope his rallying call will get more Northern Ireland people involved in human rights campaigning on issues from Afghanistan to Burma, and from China to the United States. That’s what Amnesty does and that’s how we can help people to take a stand on issues we feel strongly about.'

Graeme Farrow, Director of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, said:

'The Festival is proud of its relationship with Amnesty International and this headline event will only serve to strengthen those bonds. We discuss a shortlist of speakers with Amnesty each year and I think that Noam Chomsky has been at the top of it since we started working together. This Amnesty Lecture will be particularly popular with Festival supporters. Indeed, it may turn out to be the fastest-selling speaker event in the Festival's history, such is the interest which Noam Chomsky attracts wherever he goes in the world.'

Noam Chomsky is widely regarded as one of the foremost intellectuals and critics of US foreign policy in the world. In 2005 he was named as the world’s leading public intellectual after a worldwide poll conducted by Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines, beating luminaries such as Umberto Eco, Vaclav Havel and Richard Dawkins.

He has published numerous groundbreaking books, articles, and essays on global politics, history, and linguistics. Among his recent books are the best-selling Manufacturing Consent, Hegemony or Survival and Failed States.


Notes: The Amnesty International Annual Lecture will take place at 7:30 pm on Friday 30 October in the Whitla Hall as part of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

Tickets are now available from the online box office at or you can find out more and book your ticket on our event's page br />

Amnesty International UK media information:

Sarah Green, (London) 020 7033 1548
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