Chatham House summer school: Imagine a better world

Join Chatham House experts for a series of interactive discussions and Q&A sessions. The summer school, for 16-18 year olds, takes place online over five days.

Special event
19 July 2021 TO 23 July 2021 — 2:00PM TO 3:30PM

There is no cost to participate, this is a free course. If you would like to help empower young people to change their world, you can donate to Chatham House. We are a registered charity and every donation helps us to inspire future generations.

As an independent, non-profit research and policy institute in central London focused on international relations and global issues, our researchers develop positive solutions to global challenges, working with governments, charities, businesses and society to build a better future.

The summer school explores some of the major themes our researchers and experts are working on, and gives you an opportunity to participate in the discussion and share your vision for the future.

Who can attend?

Are you a GCSE or A-level student taking subjects in politics, history, economics, geography or any related subject? Are you passionate about international affairs and interested in a career in policy research and think tanks?

This is a fantastic opportunity to connect and interact with world-leading experts on international affairs, boost your CV or university application, and gain an insight into careers within the NGO sector.

What do attendees get from the experience?

  • Expand your knowledge of key issues in international affairs;
  • Learn what a policy institute (or ‘think tank’) is and what it is like to work in one;
  • Learn how to build critical skills to help you prepare for the best post-A level opportunities in universities, apprenticeships and the world of work;
  • Meet our researchers and hear about their career paths;
  • Find out how you can stay in touch with Chatham House and our activities.

Using the concept of Imagine a Better World, the programme offers participants interactive sessions delivered in our virtual classroom to allow students to continue with online learning and interaction.

On completion of the summer school, students will receive a personalized certificate.

Our inaugural summer school took place in July 2020 and drew 547 students from countries including Indonesia, the United States, Nigeria, India, and Sri Lanka.

How to register

To register your interest, please contact Alis Martin.

Agenda (all times are BST)

Monday, 19 July

Imagine a world of sustainable cities

Imagine yourself in a city in the year 2121. What will it look like? And what does it feel like to be there? How cities grow and develop in the coming decades could make all the difference in creating a more sustainable world.

Huge quantities of resources are consumed in cities, be it materials for buildings, to the products we buy every day. This means that cities, and the people and ideas that live in them, hold the power to dramatically reduce environmental impacts. But without clear plans and action, urban environments could drive up carbon emissions and worsen the climate crisis. Because of this, cities will need to play an increasingly important role in delivering our sustainable future. Join us in this session to hear more about our work investigating the dynamics shaping the future of sustainable cities and share with us your ideas for how to make the places we live more sustainable.

Suzannah Sherman, Research Associate, Chatham House Sustainability Accelerator
Henry Throp, Research Assistant, Chatham House Sustainability Accelerator

Nina Gillespie, Manager, Chatham House Sustainability Accelerator


Tuesday, 20 July

Imagine a world where we pay the true cost of fashion

Who made your t-shirt? Around the world, the harmful impacts of the fast fashion industry - clothes made and sold cheaply, often at the expense of workers and the environment - are gaining attention.

Social movements, companies, and communities around the world are responding to the urgent need to change patterns of production and consumption, particularly for something that we touch everyday: our clothes. As shoppers and brands struggle to ‘go green,’ we are here to share with you our journey working toward a circular economy - an approach to flip the ‘take-make-waste’ linear model to one that is regenerative by design to benefit society, the environment and the economy. In this dynamic discussion, you will hear from leaders in the field while also shaping the discussion on how fashion choices relate to climate change and social justice. 

Patrick Schroeder, Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme
Klas Wetterberg, Project Manager, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme

Anum Farhan, Programme Coordinator, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme


Wednesday, 21 July

Imagine a world where we prevent pandemics

How do you prevent a pandemic? A seemingly simple question without a straightforward answer. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a world-altering event, exacerbating existing inequities and showing the intimate relationship between politics and Global Health within and between countries.

From a public health perspective, investment in public health, such as surveillance systems and monitoring are crucial to allow countries to act rapidly in the event of a disease outbreak. From a longer term perspective, the way we currently organise our society has led to biodiversity loss, accelerated urbanisation, intensive animal farming and global travel – all factors the risk of diseases jumping from animals to humans and spreading. Join our expert panellists for an interactive session on how to build back resilience in our health systems and prevent future pandemics.  

Afifah Rahman-Shepherd, Research Fellow, Public Health and Policy, London School of  Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; former Research Associate, Global Heath Programme
Ben Wakefield, Research Associate, Global Health Programme
Oyeronke Oyebanji, Strategy Coordinator at the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI); Analyst at the COVAX Strategy Coordination Office; 2021 Aspen New Voices Fellow 

Nina van der Mark, Research Analyst, Global Health Programme


Thursday, 22 July

Imagine a world without violent conflict

At the heart of violent conflict is our inability to manage non-violent conflict. Conflict prevention requires community leaders and governments to form partnerships and put in place measures to avoid escalation into violence and war.

But once violent conflict has broken out it is also vital to work towards conflict resolution to ensure peace returns as soon as possible. Women are often at the frontline of responding to conflict and play a crucial role in rebuilding post-conflict societies. Our speakers will explain how social dynamics can be understood during violent conflict; what measures can be put in place to prevent it, and what can be done to bring it to an end and build sustainable peace? The speakers will also offer an overview of conflicts in the Middle-East.

Tim Eaton, Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme
Dr Patricia Lewis, Research Director, Conflict, Science and Transformation; Director, International Security Programme
Ghassan Essalehi, Communication Manager, Middle East and North Africa Programme

Armida van Rij, Research Fellow, International Security Programme


Friday, 23 July

Panel 1: Building critical skills

Join our panel in discussing critical skills for a future career in international affairs followed by a question-and-answer round.

Leadership skills in young people

Young people will be the next generation of our leaders. Resilience is one of the most important leadership skills that young people need as the world is constantly changing and people are frequently faced with difficulties. Come along to this session to find out what employers value and what leadership skills they look for. You’ll hear from our panel on the importance of leadership and tips on how you can develop and demonstrate leadership skills.

Rob Yates, Director, Global Heath; Executive Director, Global Health Programme

Critical thinking on international affairs

The ability to think critically is a key skill for academic success. Critical and analytical thinking should be applied at all points in academic study – to selecting information, reading, writing, speaking and listening. Why does critical thinking matter and how can you apply this skill to other areas?

Siân Bradley, Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme

How to analyze what is seen in the news?  

Why is it important to be critical consumers of news? How do we discern facts from opinion? What is the difference between editorial and Op-Ed pages and other journalistic forms?

Stuart Coles, Head, Media Communications and Publishing

Questions and answers


Panel 2: Top skills for future researchers

Join our panel in discussing critical skills for a career as a researcher followed by a question-and-answer round.

Five tips for writing an excellent essay

Essay writing is daunting not just for students, but for researchers too. We will share some great writing tips to help you improve your writing style and turn you into a great writer.

Andrew M Dorman, Commissioning Editor, International Affairs; Professor of International Security King’s College London

The importance of effective project management

Projects are often complex and involve numerous stakeholders, so to plan and manage a project to successfully complete its listed goals and deliverables is really important. A good project manager it the glue that holds the project together, and ensures quality and objectives are met on time and on budget.

Nicole El Khawaya, Project Manager, Middle East and North Africa Programme

CVs and Personal Statements: hot to stand out from the crowd?

Are you struggling to write a personal statement, your cover letters are too long and you are unsure about how to align it to your CV? Does your CV needs updating but you don’t have much work experience and you are not sure what to include and how to get your skills across? Whether you are preparing for a summer internship or applying for a part-time job, we will share some top tips on how to tailor your CV and personal statement to increase your chances.

Nonie Dube, In-house recruiter, Human Resources

Questions and answers


Panel 3: Career insights from Chatham House

Join our panel in discussing their own experiences with working at Chaham House followed by a question-and-answer round.


An internship at Chatham House offers an invaluable learning experience through a 12-week placement in one of our teams. What does an intern do on a typical day? What skills are needed and how do you make your application stand out from the crowd?

Chanu Peiris, Assistant Director, International Law Programme


Our research work is global, and the researchers tackle a range of specific topics and issues within international affairs.  From intense research to mingling with politicians, what is working in a think tank actually like? What does a research fellow do on a typical day? What skills are needed and how do you stand out in the job search?

Ahmed Soliman, Research Fellow, Africa Programme


Being able to communicate the relevance and impact of our ideas and discoveries is as important as the research itself. How do we inform and influence stakeholders? How do we help connect and engage diverse audiences?

Ghassan Essalehi, Communication Manager, Middle East and North Africa Programme

Questions and answers


Panel 4: How to remain engaged with Chatham House

Learn how you can remain engaged with Chatham House and stay up-to-date with our work.

Become a member

Chatham House membership is essential if you’re passionate about international affairs, high quality research and open debate. What are the benefits of student membership and how can members connect and contribute to the debate?

Ghadah Alharthi, Young Adviser

Join Common Futures Conversations network

How can young people engage with politics and develop their perspectives on key global challenges like climate change, conflict or inequality? The Chatham House’s ‘Common Futures’ platform brings together young people in Africa and Europe to discuss key political challenges facing young people in their communities, engage with experts, discuss their experiences with friends from across the two continents, and share their ideas with high level politicians and policymakers.

Eliane De Sousa, Common Futures Conversations member and former intern, Communications and Publishing

Join as a Young Adviser

After completing the summer school in July 2020, Mohamad applied for the role of Young Adviser. As a Young Adviser, Mohamad plays an important role in shaping Chatham House’s next generation engagement strategy and helps build a global network of young voices to participate in institute activities.

Mohamad Hachem, Young Adviser

Questions and answers


Thank you and prizes announcement

Alis Martin, Internships and Outreach Manager, Human Resources