Skip to main content
Image of Image of Doomsday clock, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, It is 100 seconds to midnight

Can we avoid war with China?

9 March 2021 17.00 - 19.00
Add to Calendar09/03/2021 17:0009/03/2021 19:00Europe/LondonCan we avoid war with China? seminarfalseDD/MM/YYYY15Jesus Collegeevent_10917confirmed
Virtual seminar

Rt. Hon. Sir Oliver Letwin, visiting Professor, Policy Institute, King's College London, former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and former Minister for Government Policy, HMG, will deliver a lecture on relations between China and the West. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session.

This lecture will describe how the attitudes of hard-liners in Beijing and hawks in Washington are drawing us into a new Cold War, and will identify the flash-points that could all too easily turn Cold War into hot war. It will explain the choice of risks now facing the West, and will sketch the nature of the paradigm shifts in geopolitics required to avoid catastrophic outcomes.

Oliver Letwin holds BA (first class), MA and PhD degrees from Cambridge University, and a Certificate in Corporate Finance from London Business School. He was Procter Fellow at Princeton University, and subsequently Charles and Katherine Darwin Research Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge.

He was a member of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit from 1983-6, and subsequently an Assistant Director, Director and then Managing Director of NM Rothschild corporate finance division from 1986-2003.

Sir Oliver was elected to the UK Parliament in 1997 as MP for West Dorset. In Opposition from 1998-2010, he was Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Shadow Home Secretary, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, and Chairman of the Conservative Policy Review and of the Conservative Research Department.

In Government from 2010 to 2016, he was an architect of the Coalition and a senior minister for 6 years, serving as Minister for Government Policy and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He chaired the Home Affairs Committee and a range of other Cabinet Committees, acted as Minister for National Resilience, and was a member of the National Security Council.

In Parliament as a senior backbencher from 2016 to 2019, he played an active role in the Brexit debates, as well as chairing the Letwin Review of housebuilding for the Treasury and MHCLG, the Red Tape Initiative, and the All Party Group on Prescription Drug Dependence. He retired from Parliament in 2019.

Sir Oliver is a Visiting Professor at the Policy Institute, King’s College London, and at the Department of Politics and International Relations at Reading University. He is also Vice President of the Great Britain China Centre, a Senior Fellow of the Legatum Institute, a Senior Adviser to the Faraday Institution and to Teneo, and a member of the Advisory Council of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at Cambridge. He has published widely in academic and popular journals, and is the author of a number of books including: Ethics, Emotion and the Unity of the Self, Privatising the World, The Purpose of Politics, Hearts and Minds, and Apocalypse How?. He is currently working on a major book about the geo-political and geo-economic relationship between East and West.

He has been a privy councillor since 2002, and was knighted in 2016.

This is one of the lectures in the on-going China Centre Seminar series, hosted by the China Centre, Jesus College. The lectures, given by eminent speakers, will cover a broad range of topics and disciplines.


This is a virtual seminar. Attendance is free. Advance booking is required by emailing:  Limited places are available and priority will be given to members of Jesus College and the University of Cambridge. 


Enable social cookies to see this Facebook feed.


Enable social cookies to see this Twitter feed.