First Wednesday

January 8, 2016

The Fight Against Daesh: Symptoms and Causes

By Antonia Roupell   A panel discussion focused on The Fight Against Daesh made for a timely first First Wednesday of the year at the Frontline Club. The packed event on 6 January was chaired by David Loyn, foreign correspondent for the BBC for over 30 years. The speakers included Richard Spencer, Middle East editor of The Daily and Sunday […]


Wednesday 6 January 2016, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: The Fight Against Daesh

Since the Paris attacks on 13 November, world leaders have seemingly put grievances aside to unite in a newly energised fight against Daesh – but what can be achieved by bombing the already bombed-out cities of Syria? For the first First Wednesday of 2016 we will be bringing together a panel to discuss the diplomatic, logistical and ideological challenges of the fight against Daesh.


Wednesday 4 November 2015, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: The Dayton Agreement 20 Years On

The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as the Dayton Agreement, put an end to the most violent conflict in Europe since World War II. But 20 years on have the divisions been bridged? Have the wounds healed? We will be joined by a panel of those who were involved in the negotiations along with those who covered the war to reflect on the events of 20 years ago, the process of peace and reconciliation that followed, and whether the country today is reconciled.


Thursday 28 May 2015, 7:00 PM

The Frontline Club and Monocle 24 present: Crisis in the Mediterranean

War, economic crisis, political repression and environmental degradation are pushing increasing numbers of people to make the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe. We will be bringing together a panel of experts to answer your questions about the unfolding crisis. We will be examining the root causes of the crisis and looking at the measures that need to be taken to avoid the 30,000 deaths the IOM predicts.


Wednesday 4 February 2015, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Africa’s Islamic State?

Last month, when the world’s attention was focused on the attacks in France, reports emerged that as many as 2,000 people had been killed in the northeast Nigerian town of Baga. This attack comes as part of an increased surge in violence linked to Boko Haram.

As Nigeria gears up for a presidential election on 14 February, we will be exploring what is being done to combat Boko Haram and why these efforts seem to be failing.


Wednesday 5 November 2014, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday Screening: 1989

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Frontline Club is pleased to be part of a pan-European simultaneous screening of the new documentary 1989 by award-winning director Anders Østergaard. The creative documentary 1989 is a high-politics drama about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Iron Curtain. Østergaard recreates the events of 1989 and invites the audience into the secret meeting rooms through a mixture of testimonials, archive material, recreation and reconstructed dialogues of the key political players.


October 6, 2014

Ebola: Tearing a hole in West Africa

By Mackenzie Weinger On Wednesday 1 October, several experts told a crowd at the Frontline Club about the unprecedented and horrific impact that the Ebola epidemic is having in West Africa. The panel — moderated by Ade Daramy, chair and spokesperson for the UK Sierra Leone Ebola Task Force — tackled the international community’s response to […]


Wednesday 1 October 2014, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: The Fight Against Ebola

The World Health Organisation has described the Ebola epidemic in West Africa as “unparalleled in modern times”. In the largest and most complex outbreak since the virus was discovered in 1976, more than 3,000 people have died. We will be joined by a panel of experts to take a view of the situation on the ground, how Ebola is being combated and what more needs to be done. We will also be looking at the stigma that surrounds the virus and the long-term impact this outbreak will have on the region.


Wednesday 4 June 2014, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: The Hunt for Nigeria’s Missing Schoolgirls

The recent abduction by militant Islamist group Boko Haram of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls sparked global outrage, leading to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign and military assistance from Britain, the US, France and China. With attacks in northern Nigeria on the increase we will be bringing together a panel of experts to examine the emergence of Boko Haram and what is being done to combat them.


Wednesday 2 April 2014, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Who will lead Afghanistan?

This event is organised in partnership with BBC World Service.
As Afghanistan gears up for a pivotal presidential election we will be bringing together a panel of experts to take an in-depth look at the candidates and what they are offering.


Wednesday 5 March 2014, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: The Battle for the Future of Ukraine

As the build-up of Russian forces in Crimea continues, tensions are mounting in Ukraine. With the country in a period of great uncertainty, its fate part of a wider strategic battle between the West and Russia, we will be looking at what the future holds for 45 million Ukrainians.


Wednesday 6 November 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Has NSA spying “reached too far”?

The latest revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden have further exposed the extent of the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance. As pressure mounts on Washington and the release of information continues, join us to explore what the files reveal and the consequences of this diplomatic storm. We will be examining the actions of the intelligence services and asking whether they are aligned with protecting national security or as US Secretary of State John Kerry has said, that in some cases their “actions have reached too far”.


Wednesday 2 October 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Kenya’s fight against al-Shabaab

On 21 September Somali insurgent group al-Shabaab launched a devastating attack on a shopping centre in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. For October’s First Wednesday we will be joined by a panel of experts and journalists to discuss how the Kenyan government will respond and what the implications will be in the region. We will be examining the threat posed by al-Shabaab in the neighbouring countries and further afield, and exploring their origins and motivations.


Wednesday 4 September 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Crossing the Red Line

As the rhetoric about intervention in Syria escalates, we will be bringing together a panel of experts to examine the arguments for and against, and the implications of action or inaction.


July 4, 2013

Talking to the Taliban

by Sally Ashley-Cound The Taliban have made steps towards wanting to be seen as a legitimate political force, by setting up an operations office in Qatar on 18 June this year. The First Wednesday discussion chaired by Paddy O’Connell at the Frontline Club on 3 July asked: Is talking to the Taliban a solution? John D McHugh, […]


May 31, 2013

Interested in the Iranian election? Make sure you’re at the Frontline Club in June

On 14 June Iranians will go to to the polls to vote for a new president. The last presidential election in 2009 saw mass protest on the streets, resulting in a violent crackdown. Throughout June, in association with BBC Persian, we will be joined by experts, journalists and commentators to make sure you are up […]


Wednesday 3 July 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Is talking to the Taliban a solution?

On 18 June Nato handed over security for the whole of Afghanistan to the Afghan government. At the same time in Doha, Qatar, the Taliban opened an office, establishing a political face to the movement. Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4′s Broadcasting House will be hosting a panel of experts to take an in-depth look at what negotiations with the Taliban mean for Afghanistan.


Wednesday 5 June 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Who will be the next president of Iran and why does it matter?

On 14 June Iranians will go to to the polls to vote for a president to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but what significance does this election hold? Join us to analyse the approaching election, the main players and what the result will mean for the future of Iran.


March 7, 2013

Syria: Who should help and when?

By Sally Ashley-Cound Paddy O’Connell started this month’s First Wednesday with a tribute to Marie Colvin who was killed in Homs a year a ago. After introducing the panel O’Connell got straight on to the news announced today by Foreign Secretary William Hague that the UK will be sending a £13m package of logistical and […]


Wednesday 1 May 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Pakistan goes to the polls

As Pakistan gears up for critically important elections, we are joined by a panel of experts who will be discussing the significance of this election and analysing the candidates, their alliances and policies.


February 8, 2013

Untangling Mali

By Sally Ashley-Cound The complex situation of the French-led intervention in Mali and the issues in the surrounding region was untangled somewhat on 6 February 2013 at the Frontline Club’s First Wednesday: A new front in the fight against terrorism? Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House was the chair and started things off by asking the […]


February 8, 2013

HIGHLIGHTS First Wednesday: A new front in the fight against terrorism?

In light of the hostage crisis in Algeria and the French-led offensive against Islamist militants in Mali, on Wednesday 6 February we were joined by Channel 4 News’ Lindsey Hilsum, Lord Ashdown, Ibrahima Diane from BBC Afrique and Wilfred Willey, president of the Malian Community Council in the UK. In a debate chaired by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4′s Broadcasting House we examined […]


Wednesday 6 March 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Syria crisis – Diplomatic shifts and developing dialogues

A year after Marie Colvin was killed in Homs, the war in Syria is still raging and has cost the lives of more than 60,000 people. Following new US Secretary of State John Kerry’s first foreign tour, we ask if he can deliver on his vow not to leave the Syrian opposition “dangling in the wind”.


Wednesday 9 January 2013, 7:00 PM

FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: Will 2013 see an end to the conflict in Syria?

March 2013 will mark two years since the conflict in Syria began. The UN has said it believes the fighting has now cost the lives of at least 60,000 people. We will be bringing together an expert panel to update you on the situation in the country, and to look ahead at the prospects for 2013.


October 5, 2012

Videos and violence – Defending Islam and free speech

By Nigel Wilson The online publication of the Innocence of Muslims video was the catalyst for violent and at times deadly protests in some countries. In the UK the series of events has pushed debates on freedom of expression and cultural sensitivity into the mainstream. For October’s First Wednesday an expert panel took to the […]


October 3, 2012 7:00 PM

FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: Defending Islam and free speech

Freedom of expression or provocation? Join us as we examine the root causes of the wave of protest and violent attacks that have spread across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.


September 12, 2012 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Obama’s reckoning?

On 6 November 300 million Americans in 50 states will go to the polls to elect the next US President. As the race for the White House heats up join us with a panel of experts to map out the arguments being made by both camps.


September 12, 2012 7:00 PM

First Wednesday

After the summer break First Wednesday will take place on the second Wednesday of the month. But, as always, we will be bringing together an informed panel to discuss the story of the moment in a public meeting hosted by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House.


July 5, 2012

The challenges ahead for Egypt’s first democratically elected president

Report by Jonathan Couturier Mohammed Mursi has become Egypt’s first democratically elected president – but while he may have been chosen as the people’s representative, the country still has to contend with the powerful Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), who may thwart any attempt at change. The panel was divided over Mursi’s ability […]


July 3, 2012 7:00 PM

FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: What does the result of Egypt’s Presidential election mean for the country and the region?

Join us with a panel of experts to examine the challenges Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Mursi will face at home and abroad and whether he will keep to his promise of being a leader for all Egyptians.