Lady Margaret Hall, Norham Gardens,
Oxford, OX2 6QA, United Kingdom

© 2018 The Stubbs Society for Defence and Foreign Affairs



Brearley Essay Prize Ceremony 2019

Prize winners from across Oxfordshire's neighbouring counties were invited to Oxford to receive their well-earned prizes

5th Oct

The Brearley Essay Prize is an annual essay competition hosted by the Stubbs Society. It aims to foster strategic thinking and international awareness in current school students, as well as expose them to a formal essay competition. Students are given a choice of questions from topics such as Economics or History, with this years questions including ‘To what extent should a country undertake long term strategic economic planning?’  and ‘The ousting of a nation’s dictator inevitably leads to civil war. Discuss with reference to both ancient and modern history.’


This year we received over 40 essays from a wide range of students and it took a considerable amount of work to narrow them down to our prizewinners. However, eventually we were left with our three winners; Imogen Taylor, Daniel Chow, and Olivia Legge. On the day itself the prizewinners and committee enjoyed some fine dining for lunch at Keble before a quick tour of Oxford to familiarise the prize winners with the colleges they wished to apply to. It ended at Pembroke College and an informal chat with our Senior Member, Dr Eamonn Molloy, about Oxford life and admissions from the viewpoint of the tutor.


Lord Patten

Last Governor of Hong Kong

6th Feb

A Changing World Order

Lord Patten of Barnes was appointed the youngest ever Director of the Conservative Research Department, a post he held from 1974-79. He was then elected as Member of Parliament for Bath serving in a number of ministerial roles. As Conservative Party Chairman, he orchestrated John Major's unexpected election victory in 1992, but lost his seat in the process.
Thereafter, Lord Patten was appointed Governor of Hong Kong until 1997, overseeing the return of the colony to China. He was Chairman of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland set up under the Good Friday Peace Agreement, which reported in 1999.
He later served as European Commissioner for External Relations and, until recently, Chairman of the International Crisis Group which attempts to identify and prevent potential conflicts. In 2011 he was appointed Chairman of the BBC Trust.

MBI Auditorium

6th Feb

Sir Antony Beevor

Millitory Historian

22nd Jan

Antony Beevor is the author of Crete: The Battle and the Resistance (Runciman Prize), Stalingrad (Samuel Johnson Prize, Wolfson Prize for History and Hawthornden Prize), Berlin: The Downfall, The Battle for Spain (Premio La Vanguardia), D-Day: The Battle for Normandy (Prix Henry Malherbe and the RUSI Westminster Medal), The Second World War, and Ardennes 1944 (Prix Médicis shortlist).
The number one bestselling historian in Britain, Beevor's books have appeared in thirty-two languages and have sold just over seven million copies. A former chairman of the Society of Authors, he has received a number of honorary doctorates. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Kent and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, London. He was knighted in 2017.

History Faculty 

6th Feb

Lord Houghton

Former Chief of the Defence Staff

27th Nov

Defence in the 21st Century

Lord Houghton's appointment as Chief of the Defence Staff - the professional head of the British Armed Forces - was the culmination of a 42-year career in the British Army. He has extensive experience of Germany, Northern Ireland and Iraq.


Following school, General Nick Houghton joined the Army aged 18, passing Sandhurst where he commissioned into the Green Howards.

He subsequently completed an in-Service degree in Modern History at St Peter’s College, Oxford. General Houghton was both a Company Commander in, and Commanding Officer of, the 1st Battalion in the Mechanised and Air Mobile Roles and in Northern Ireland, serving seven times. He was awarded the US Legion of Merit for his service as the Deputy Commander of the Multi-National Force Iraq in 2005-6.


He then became Chief of Joint Operations at Permanent Joint Headquarters and served as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff before being appointed Chief of the Defence Staff in 2013. During his time on the Defence Council, he oversaw two Strategic Defence Reviews and the end of combat operations in Afghanistan. Following his retirement from the Army in 2016, General Houghton became the 160th Constable of the Tower of London.

Park 5, Somerville

6th Feb

Sir Geoffrey Nice

The lead prosecutor at Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's trial for war crimes

21st Nov

Trust International Criminal Justice or its Institutions?

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC has a remarkable career as a successful barrister with proven experience in bringing war criminals to justice. He led the prosecution at the ICTY of Slobodan Milošević - architect of the the Srebrenica Massacre (Europe's worst atrocity since World War II). His continued involvement at the ICC in cases involving Sudan, Kenya and Libya, and extensive pro bono work for victims of oppressive regimes further defines his unique contribution to the study and practice of international humanitarian law.


Sir Geoffrey's co-authoring of the 2014 Syrian detainee report is further testament to his international repute. His extensive expertise uniquely places him to offer incisive commentary on the future of international collaboration on human rights and justice particularly against the backdrop of Brexit. Sir Geoffrey is Emeritus Professor of Law at Gresham College, London.

Pusey Room, Keble

6th Feb

Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Former defence and foreign secretary, and erstwhile chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee

5th Nov

The Decline of the West?

Sir Malcolm Rifkind will be addressing members on "The Decline of the West?" Through the course of a speech and active audience engagement, he will be exploring global power dynamics and re-assess the meaning and significance of "The West". He is open to answering questions on all aspects of foreign policy and international affairs, and would gladly sign any copies of his numerous, critically-acclaimed books.


Sir Malcolm's lengthy ministerial career boasts varied and highly distinguished offices, from Defence to Foreign Secretary. Though having been involved in major historical events - including the Thatcher-Gorbachev summit - he also has his finger on the pulse of current issues especially those European, as recognised by his 2015 appointment to the Eminent Persons Panel on European Security. His book, Power and Pragmatism, is fast becoming required reading amongst those studying the intricacies of the Cold War and its impact on Poland.

Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester

6th Feb

Dr Federica D'Alessandra

Executive Director of the programme on International Peace and Security, Blavatnik School of Government

29th Sep

The United Nations, Multilateralism, and International Peace and Security: Outdated Models, or Best Hope for Humanity’s Future?

Dr Federica D’Alessandra is the Executive Director of the Programme on International Peace and Security at the Blavatnik School of Government. She has often served as adviser to governments and international organisations on matters of international law and policy, ranging from the legality of the use of force by states to the arbitration and settlement of disputes.
At the International Bar Association, Dr D’Alessandra is the War Crimes Committee Co-Chair and Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Law Committee. After naming her as one of their “30 Under 30” leaders with “the likelihood of changing the field of law and policy over the next half-century”, Forbes magazine this year recognised her among the “Most Influential European Thinkers”

Moser Theatre, Wadham

6th Feb

Brearley Essay Prize Ceremony 2018

Shortlisted students from  Cornwall to Canterbury, Stratford to Solihull, have been invited with their parents to Oxford

29th Sep

The Brearley Essay Prize - named after our American founder and pioneer of women’s education - is the Society’s flagship outreach programme for Year 12 students. We received essays from students across the country; girls constituting 60% of entrants.

Some of the titles included: “Did the US win an empire after 1945, but struggle to find a role?”, “What, if any, conditions should be attached to foreign aid?” and “Should the criteria for permanent membership of the UN Security Council be revised?” Entries are being considered, anonymously, on the basis of intellectual rigour, independence of thought, thoroughness of research and clarity of argument. 

Read the programme here.

Moser Theatre, Wadham

6th Feb

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