The Atheist, Humanist, and Secular Students Convention 2017
Advance sales for the event are now closed. Tickets will still be available on the door.
On Saturday 25 March 2017, Conway Hall – the oldest surviving freethought society in the world – will play host to the AHS Convention 2017, for a fun-filled day of fascinating talks, in-depth discussion, brilliant comedy, and entertainment.
The AHS Convention is the standout event each year for atheist, humanist, and secular students across the UK – and 2017 is no different. Be sure to buy your ticket now. In the past we've heard from speakers such as AronRa, A C Grayling, Shappi Khorsandi, and many more at our events, and we have a great line-up (soon to be announced!) for 2017.
Clive Aruede was the son of Nigerian parents who immigrated to Britain. He spent his childhood and a large amount of time as an adult as a practicing Catholic, but became an atheist having started to research science online. He then went through the difficult process of having to tell friends and family that he no longer believed. He is now one of the key organisers of London Black Atheists.
Aroup Chatterjee is the author of Mother Teresa the Untold Story, an expose of the myths and exaggerations that characterise the life of Mother Teresa, and examines the cult of hero worship around the nun which inhibits her critics from speaking out. He considers the story of ‘Saint’ Teresa to already be, just 19 years after her death, one of history’s most pernicious and enduring myths.
Stevyn Colgan is an author, speaker, artist and teacher. He is one of the ‘elves’ that write the BBC TV series QI and the BBC Radio 4 series The Museum of Curiosity. He worked for the Metropolitan Police service for 30 years and is an expert on problem-oriented policing, and has lectured on the topic throughout the UK and US. He is also an artist, illustrator, and author of a variety of novels. He regularly appears on TV, radio, and various podcasts, as well as speaking at a variety of universities, events including QEDCon, TEDx and the Ig Nobel Prizes, speaking on science, art, creative thinking, his own experiences, and of course comedy.
Karma Nirvana is a UK charity that supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour-based violence. The project was established by Jasvinder Sanghera CBE in 1993. A survivor of forced marriage and honour-based abuse, Jasvinder wanted to create a support network for other women like her. She knew that victims of this abuse may face cultural or language barriers, and so looked to provide them with accessible and informed support. At the AHS Convention, we have three survivors of honour based abuse and forced marriage to talk about their experiences.
Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer, and broadcaster. He regularly appears on BBC radio, and has written and presented a number of TV documentaries. His published works cover a wide range of topics, having studied both neurobiology and the history and philosophy of science. His main areas of academic interest are the history of ideas, the history and philosophy of science and religion, the philosophy of mind, theories of human nature, moral and political philosophy, and the history and sociology of race and immigration.
He has also been involved in a variety of campaign work, with particular emphasis in recent years on freedom of speech, secularism, and scientific rationalism.
Dr Nervana Mahmoud began blogging on Middle East issues following the Egyptian revolution in 2011 and started publishing a weekly compilation of Egyptian news under the name of Egyptian Aak (which means mess in Arabic) from 2013. She writes mainly about Egypt, liberal Islam, women rights, radicalism, and wider issues about the Middle East. She has contributed to several outlets including The Telegraph, Al-Monitor, Now Lebanon, and Egypt’s Ahram and Daily News Egypt. Nervana has also written guest posts for the US’s Council on Foreign Relations, and has been quoted on several articles for many top outlets.
Nourhan Nassar is the founder of Arab Humanists, and works between London and Cairo. She has given several talks about Humanism in the Middle East and scepticism in the Islamic world. She also acted as a spokesperson in a joint statement to the UN presented by the BHA and Arab Humanists, which was critical of the human rights violations in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Sarah Peace is a Nigerian art and politics student at Goldsmiths University. She writes articles for The Huffington Post, and in 2010 created artwork, featured in national media, to commemorate the kidnap of 230 Nigerian school girls. She is a committee member of Conservative Humanists and is the founder of Fireproof Library, a platform for using art and literature to counteract censorship and blasphemy laws. The organisation advocates for freedom of expression and human rights through its Secular Voices campaign.
Arifur Rahman is a Bangladeshi secular blogger. Although helives in the UK, his writing inspired a new trend of atheistic blogging in the Bengali language. Being based in the UK allowed Arif to feel safe and gave him the courage to write without fear; not an option open to many in the Bengali diaspora. While many Bengali writers and intellectuals worry about hurting religious sentiment or causing offence to the government, he still continues to raise concerns, and speaks up about the path nominally secular Bangladesh has taken. He works closely with the International Humanist and Ethical Union, the National Secular Society, the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain, and the British Humanist Association.
Gita Sahgal is a human rights activist and the executive director of the London-based think-tank Centre for Secular Space. A former head of gender policy at Amnesty International, Saghal is a member of Southall Black Sisters, a founder of Women Against Fundamentalism, and Avaaz: South Asia Watch. She writes extensively on international human rights, gender, and religious fundamentalism, and takes a particular interest in Bangladesh.
Aliyah Saleem is an ex-Muslim atheist who attended an Islamic school in Britain for five years and studied the Qur’an in Pakistan, growing up being expected to become a Qur’anic scholar. Having left Islam at 19, Aliyah has since spoken about ex-Muslim issues as well as advocating for secular education. She is the co-founder of Faith To Faithless (with Imtiaz Shams, below), an organisation that raises awareness of the discrimination and prejudiced faced by people who leave religion. Aliyah is an ex-hijabi and ex-niqabi who has also written about her work and personal experiences for The Times. She is also a board member of the AHS.
Jonny Scaramanga was raised in the UK as a fundamentalist Christian, and attended a school that taught the Accelerated Christian Education scheme. He later started to question religion and spent his twenties 'trying to separate fact from fiction while worrying that [he] could be condemning [himself] to eternal damnation.' He went on to study for a PhD looking at the experiences of people educated under the same scheme and has campaigned against it, as well as against 'faith' schools more generally. He has previously appeared on Newsnight, The Jeremy Vine Show, The Big Questions, and BBC Radio 4's Sunday, and maintains a blog on Patheos called Leaving Fundamentalism, as well as working as a musician.
Imtiaz Shams is an ex-Muslim atheist who grew up in Saudi Arabia and came to the UK with his family as a devout Muslim. Growing older he began to question his faith, but was uncertain that it was possible to stop being a Muslim. Finding a community of ex-Muslims online meant he was able to finally leave Islam behind. He is a co-founder of Faith To Faithless (with Aliyah, above), and regularly speaks at events on his experiences as ex-Muslim, and campaigns on issues associated with the cause. He is a trustee of the BHA and works in the technology industry.
Peter Tatchell has been campaigning for human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom, and global justice since 1967. He is a member of the queer human rights group OutRage!, and the Green Party. Through the Peter Tatchell Foundation, he campaigns for human rights in Britain and internationally. Peter’s key political inspirations are Mahatma Gandhi, Sylvia Pankurst, Martin Luther King and, to some extent, Malcolm X and Rosa Luxemberg. He has adapted many of their methods to his contemporary non-violent struggle for human rights – and invented a few of his own.
Lola Tinubu is of Nigerian descent and has a similar story to Clive Aruede, of losing faith and having to confront the fear and stigma associated with leaving religion. It was only on coming to the UK that she found the freedom to leave religion behind, but she still had trouble finding a community to talk to about her experiences. Now, she is one of the organisers of London Black Atheists.
Sami Zubaida is an Emeritus Professor of Politics and Sociology at Birkbeck, University of London and, as a Visiting Hauser Global Professor of Law in Spring 2006, taught Law and Politics in the Islamic World at New York University School of Law.
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