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No. 10’s Halpern to deliver lecture at York St John

Downing Street policy advisor Dr David Halpern will be the guest speaker at the next Ebor lecture on Wednesday 18 April at York St John University.

His lecture, entitled ‘The hidden wealth of nations?’, will examine the complex relationship between economic growth and well-being in the context of this year’s series theme, ‘The Good Society? Re-invigorating Public Life’.

All lectures in the current series explore the issues arising from the government’s Big Society venture. This initiative pledges to offer citizens, communities and local governments the power to come together and solve the problems they face, through charities, co-operatives, social enterprise, and other community-based approaches.

Speaking in advance of the lecture, Dr Halpern said:

“There have been deep and subtle changes in our societies, our values, and how we relate to each other, over the past 30 years. As countries have generally grown richer, citizens have made different choices partly based on these value differences, and these choices in turn help explain why some countries have experienced increases in life satisfaction while others have not seen such increases despite growth.”

He added:

“If we want to understand this puzzle, we have to look more deeply into what makes societies and economies tick - or what I have called 'the hidden wealth of nations'. I am honoured to be invited to give this Ebor lecture and to explore these issues - and choices - that affect us all, as individuals, communities and as a nation.”

David Halpern was responsible for the original blueprint for the Institute for Government, and now serves as a Senior Fellow. He was Deputy Director until October 2010 and is currently seconded to both No.10 and the Cabinet Office full time to head the Behavioural Insights Team, and support on the Big Society and wellbeing agendas. He previously worked as Chief Analyst in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit (2001-2007), leading numerous reviews; setting up the Social Exclusion Task Force; and authoring many of the Strategy Unit's most influential papers.

Before entering government, he held tenure at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Cambridge University, where he still remains an Affiliated Lecturer. He has also held posts at Nuffield College, Oxford; the Policy Studies Institute, London; and as a Visiting Professor at the Centre for European Studies, Harvard. 

The 2011-12 Ebor lectures are organised by York St John University, York Minster, The Order of Carmelites, The Churches Regional Commission for Yorkshire & the Humber, York Institute for Community Theology and The Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Since their launch in 2006, the Lectures have established an enviable reputation with prestigious speakers, promoting debate on topical issues and broadening discussion. Held annually, past speakers have included the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Mr Peter Taylor, journalist and BBC Presenter; Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury; Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York; Robert Peston, the BBC’s Business Editor; the Rt Hon Tony Benn, legendary parliamentarian; and Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of the Commonwealth, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.

Admission by ticket only begins at 6.30pm, and the lectures start at 7.00pm. Each lecture is followed by a short question and answer session with an anticipated end time of 8.30pm. Tickets are free and can be booked online at www.yorksj.ac.uk/eborlectures or by contacting the Ebor Lectures Co-ordinator on T: 01904 876474 or E: eborlectures@yorksj.ac.uk

For further information please contact Amy Hall, PR & Communications Officer on T: 01904 876466 or E: a.hall@yorksj.ac.uk