The American Society was delighted to welcome and host former Secretary of State and Presidential Nominee John Kerry, who spoke in the Farrer Theatre to boys, visiting pupils, and members of staff.

The event consisted of an address on Mr. Kerry’s own experiences both in and out of politics, followed by a Q&A session on issues of economic, environmental and social significance. Mr. Kerry began by describing his youth and progression in his military career. He described himself as confused, out of touch even, as a Vietnam veteran, and spoke of his political advocacy in the Nixon Era. He underlined the importance of political participation as a vehicle for change, and spoke about democracy as not only a fair political system on a national level, but a legitimate way to make decisions on a personal level as well. Consequently, the establishment of such systems would be imperative in determining success of the ‘rapidly digitizing world’.

The Q&A session was equally insightful; from an economic standpoint, the pupils enquired about a possible rise in the gold loan interest rates, while Mr. Kerry spoke about the current-day rise of Bitcoin, as well as the use of American economic resources in funding important healthcare projects such as Ebola and the HIV programmes in Africa. Pupils also seemed particularly interested in the state of the American foreign policy with countries like North Korea, Iran, and China. Mr. Kerry took a diplomatic view on such matters, stressing the need for co-operation on both economic and environmental issues, but speaking of tighter sanctions for countries with increasingly contentious views on the international stage.

Vernon Li