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The 36th Annual Tacitus Lecture: A Key Event for Business Leaders in the City of London

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry was a proud Silver Sponsor of the Worshipful Company of World Traders' 36th Annual Tacitus Lecture in May 2023, with speaker Rory Stewart OBE.

Believed to be one of the largest events of its kind in the City of London, the Tacitus Lecture is a highly popular event in the City of London held at Guildhall each year. It provides senior business leaders, members of organisations and institutions, students and educational professionals the chance to share their views and ideas on some of the most pressing matters in business and world trade today.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry proudly sponsored the event, making it our second year to do so. As a long-standing supporter of the Tacitus Lecture and hosting Company, the World Traders, we were pleased to once again add our name to the list of notable sponsors for 2023.

This year, we heard from Rory Stewart OBE, academic, writer, diplomat and former Member of Parliament. His speech, Populism, Poverty and Hope in the 21st Century was heard by over 750 individuals in attendance, and live streamed around the world.

Here's a little more about the evening, and how it works to support businesses and educational establishments in the City of London and further afield.

Reigniting Hope

Entitled Populism, Poverty and Hope in the 21st Century, Rory Stewart's Lecture offered a detailed and expansive look at how vastly the world has changed over the past 40 years since the inauguration of the Tacitus Lecture in 1988.

Stewart centred his speech on one crucial question: why have we forgotten about global poverty?

From optimism and action, to disruption and fallout, to where we are today, this year's speaker explored the impact the modern age has had on our ability to solve extreme poverty worldwide.

The impact of key political, economic and social events, particularly within the past 20 years, have presented an inaccurate picture, according to Stewart. One, he says, that has convinced us to "give up" on the fight against extreme poverty.

Despite this outlook, according to Stewart the world has never been in a better position to shift the needle. Through reigniting hope and optimism, using technology to send funds directly to those in poorer communities, and greater education on our collective potential, we can drive meaningful change for the 750 million individuals living in extreme poverty worldwide.

"We can end extreme poverty in our lifetime. We know how to do it. We have the resources to do it. All we have to do is get our chequebooks out."

Thunderous applause and a standing ovation - led by our very own Chief Executive Officer, Richard Burge - concluded Rory Stewart's Lecture on a high note.

Special Guests in Attendance

Among the Lecture guests filling the halls of Guildhall were a few notable names and familiar faces…

Richard Burge was proudly in attendance once again this year, both in his capacity as the Chamber's CEO and sponsor, and as a Court Assistant for the World Traders himself.

“The City of London, with its longstanding tradition of commerce, innovation, discovery, and professional prowess, has always thrived on the cultivation of ideas. The Tacitus Lecture embodies this tradition and stands as a testament to the intellectual and cultural vitality of our great city.”

Richard has recently accepted his election to be the incoming Junior Warden for the Worshipful Company of World Traders, and will be formally inaugurated in October 2023.

For the first time in its 36-year history, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Nicholas Lyons and Mayoress Felicity Lyons also attended this year's Tacitus Lecture.

Since coming into office in November 2022, the Lord Mayor's priorities have centred on Financing our Futurepromoting a resilient, resourceful and responsible city.

The incentive focuses on driving growth and investment, particularly in areas of long-term infrastructure lending, green and sustainable finance, boosting the early stage growth economy by mobilising private savings and pension funds and attracting international asset owners to have more of their money managed by asset managers in the UK.

Last year's Tacitus speaker, Prof. David Olusoga OBE also joined the many business leaders and professionals, listening attentively to his Tacitus successor.

Purpose and Partnership 

Following the Lecture, those invited to attend the Lecture as the Chamber's guests had a few moments to speak with Rory Stewart, discussing the insights shared during his speech, and how business leaders can support efforts to tackle poverty.

As the champions of London's business community, establishing pathways to sharing sustainable prosperity is a key priority for London Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Our values of collaboration, integrity, and inclusion are closely aligned to those demonstrated by the World Traders, and underpin the Tacitus Lecture each year.

It was enlightening to hear Rory Stewart's views on collective action against extreme poverty, and discuss these crucial matters with some of the City's leading figures, thinkers and innovators.

We would like to thank the Worshipful Company of World Traders for their partnership. We would also like to thank our young professionals who supported the evening's events.

If you would like to watch the 36th Annual Tacitus Lecture in full, you can do so on the World Traders' website here.