TrinTalk: Aspects of Global Security


The theme of this year’s TrinTalk will be Aspects of Global Security. Our expert speakers will lead an in-depth exploration of four of the key threats to world stability today – food security; North Korea; the Middle East, and cyber security. The panel will present on the nature of these threats, the potential consequences for humanity, and how these challenges might best be addressed.

We are delighted to confirm the following four speakers: Professor Sir David Baulcombe FRS (e2009), Alastair Morgan (1976), Dr Glen Rangwala (1993), and Amy Smith (1984).

Professor David Baulcombe is Head of Group and Regius Professor of Botany, based at the Department of Plant Sciences, and Royal Society Research Professor. His talk, entitled ‘Biotechnology and Food Security’, will focus on the challenges of feeding a growing and demanding population in the face of climate change and natural resource depletion.

Alastair Morgan is British Ambassador to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Given recent diplomatic efforts on the part of the US Government, and the regime in North Korea, his talk will focus on the latest developments in the Korean peninsula and the wider ramifications for the rest of the world.

Dr Glen Rangwala is Fellow and Director of Admissions, Trinity College, and Lecturer and University Teaching Officer at the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS). An expert on the Middle East, his presentation will focus on the volatile situation there and the resulting threats to international peace and security.

Amy Smith is Executive Cyber Security Architect, North America Distribution Market at IBM. Her talk – ‘Cyber security and the Evolving Threat Landscape: What is the Path Forward?’ – will ask how we got to where we are with cyber security, cover what the current threat landscape looks like, and suggest the future of cyber defences.

Please note that booking have now closed for this event.


Much of Professor Baulcombe’s current research follows from the discovery in his Norwich laboratory of a novel type of regulatory RNA – siRNA. Current projects in his laboratory focus on the mechanisms of siRNA-mediated regulation and their influence on natural variation. In this respect, his work links with JS Henslow who was Professor of Botany in the nineteenth century and who influenced Darwin. He is also interested in the influence of siRNA on heritable effects that do not involve changes to the sequence of the genome. Understanding these ‘epigenetic’ effects is central to any discussion about nurture and nature. Outside the laboratory, he promotes the use of plant biotechnology for crop improvement. He is particularly interested in technologies addressing problems in developing countries, and he participates in a consortium that addresses sweet potato virus disease. He plans to initiate other projects on strategies for developing disease resistant germplasm. These strategies include but are not restricted to GM technologies.

Alastair Morgan took up his current appointment as British Ambassador to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in December 2015. Prior to his appointment in Pyongyang, Alastair served as Consul-General, British Consulate-General Guangzhou, from 2010 to 2014, having previously held the post of Commercial Counsellor and Director of Trade & Investment for China in British Embassy Beijing from March 2007 to December 2010. Alastair has had two previous diplomatic postings in East Asia, both in British Embassy Tokyo. From 1991 to 1996 he was First Secretary (Trade Policy) and from 2002 to 2006 he was Counsellor Trade Policy and Director of Inward investment. He also worked in Tokyo on loan to the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry from 2001 to 2002 and from 1983 to 1985 as a Lecturer in English language and literature at Gakushuin University. Alastair joined the Department of Trade & Industry in 1985 and his subsequent appointments have included Director of Operations at the Invest in Britain Bureau. Alastair studied English Literature at Trinity College, Cambridge University and speaks Japanese, Mandarin and Korean. He is married with three children.

Amy Smith is senior technical leader within IBM, supporting IBM’s distribution business in North America. Amy has over 15 years of experience in cyber security, and more than 30 years of experience working with cyber technology. She has worked with various government organizations including GCHQ in the UK, the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, and the US Federal Aviation Administration. She currently supports several global commercial enterprises such as Delta Airlines, Iron Mountain and Federal Express (TNT Express). Amy read Natural Sciences at Trinity. She lives in northern Virginia.

Dr Glen Rangwala is Fellow and Director of Admissions, Trinity College, and Lecturer and University Teaching Officer at the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge. Dr Rangwala’s research interests include the politics of the modern Middle East, especially the Levant and the northern Gulf region and, in particular, the forms of political debate in those regions and the character of the state and the state-building processes; theories of contemporary conflict, particularly the political economy of modern war, and International organisation and some aspects of the role of international law in politics, especially in political argumentation.


10:30 am


Nevile's Court
11:20 am

Morning talks

Winstanley Lecture Theatre
1:00 pm


2:30 pm

Afternoon talks

Winstanley Lecture Theatre
4:00 pm

Afternoon tea

Master's Lodge
5:00 pm