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Festival of Politics
19-23 August 2024

Friday, August 23, 2024

Responsible Debate

Time: 3:15pm to 4:45pm

In partnership with the Centre for Responsible Debate

Responsible Debate logo

£7.50 full price and £5 concession

Book tickets for Responsible Debate now *

Event description

As the Scottish Parliament marks 25 years it is inevitable that we think of debate as a medium through which politicians reach decisions. But very often it is the way people and politicians alike debate that shapes those decisions. As the world becomes more polarised it is becoming clearer that the way we debate and discuss important issues is preventing us reaching solutions.

How can we debate and discuss in a way that deals with the important challenges facing us?

Chair: Ben Macpherson MSP, Edinburgh Northern and Leith


Dr Alice König is a senior lecturer in classics at the University of St Andrews, specialising in peace and conflict studies. While a member of the Young Academy of Scotland, she worked with colleagues to establish a Charter for Responsible Debate. She is interested in the role that our debating culture can play in driving conflict and building sustainable peace.

Quintin Oliver is a conflict and referendums specialist, based on his experiences in Northern Ireland. After a decade in welfare rights for Strathclyde Regional Council, he returned to Belfast to run the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA); he set up Stratagem, a public policy lobbying agency after running the 1998 Good Friday Agreement Referendum’s YES Campaign; he also established Stratagem International, TCI Engagement, and the Consultation Institute. He was awarded an Honorary Degree by Queen’s University, Belfast in 2023.

Hanna Dushkova is a lawyer and accredited mediator in Ukraine and Scotland with an extensive background in commercial, school and family mediation. She qualified in 2018, she has led a mediation hub in a Ukrainian school in Odesa and worked as a trainer in conflict resolution with charities and voluntary organisations. In 2022, Hanna co-founded the Ukrainians Together project and the social enterprise Bring Together. Hanna also volunteers as board member for Scottish Mediation Network.

John Sturrock KC, after a career in law, has spent over 20 years as a mediator and facilitator, dealing with complex disputes and working with senior figures in business, the public sector, sport, government and politics.  He was a founder of Collaborative Scotland and is the author of its Commitment to Respectful Dialogue. He sat on the Stewarding Group of Scotland’s first Citizens Assembly and has published two volumes of his “Mediator’s Musings”. 


All Scottish Parliament event locations:

  • are accessible by lift or level access, and venues are accessible to wheelchair users
  • welcome guide dogs or other assistance dogs

Some venues are fitted with induction loop facilities.

Please contact us in advance if you have any access requirements.  

Further information on accessibility at the Scottish Parliament.

Other events that day

Friday, August 23, 2024

In partnership with the Cross-Party Group on Culture and Communities

Friday, August 23, 2024

The Scottish Parliament at 25

Time: 4pm - 5:30pm

In partnership with Scotland’s Futures Forum

Scotland's Futures Forum logo

*By choosing Book Now, you will be taken to third-party site EventBrite to complete your purchase.

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