Skip to main content
Event Details

Peter Frankopan: The Earth Transformed

28 February 2024
6.30pm – 7.30pm AEDT
Leighton Hall, John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Kensington
This event has ended
Peter Frankopan


Peter Frankopan | Alison Bashford

Our world has always been one of transformation, transition and change and yet the weather, climate and environmental factors have rarely been seen as a backdrop to human history, let alone as an important lens through which to view the past.

Peter Frankopan

Human existence has always been bound with the health of our natural world. What can we learn from how a changing climate has already, for centuries, dramatically shaped the development and demise of civilisations across time? 

In the 2024 Gandhi Oration, renowned historian and author Peter Frankopan will unravel the historical narrative, framing the natural environment as the crucial factor impacting humankind.  

Following a solo address, Frankopan will be in conversation with UNSW Sydney historian Alison Bashford to discuss how we can reshape our understanding of climate change and inspire a collective commitment to a sustainable and just future. 

This event is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas, and supported by Adelaide Writers’ Week and The Wheeler Centre


Since 2012, UNSW Sydney has hosted the annual Gandhi Oration celebrating the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi as a champion of human rights. The Oration features discussions on the significant human rights issues of our time. Past speakers have included Megan Davis, Senator Pat Dodson, Peter Greste, Pat Anderson, Shoma Chaudhury, Reverend Tim Costello, Rosie Batty and Shen Narayanasamy. 


Leighton Hall is located inside the John Niland Scientia Building at UNSW Sydney's Kensington campus. Please note this is a live event only, and will not be available via livestream.   






Wheelchair Access
The closest accessible drop off point to Leighton Hall is via Gate 11, Botany Street. More information on getting there can be found via our interactive accessibility map available here.

Assisted Listening
Leighton Hall has hearing assistive technology available. Patrons wishing to utilise this service must collect a Roger™ inductive neck loop receiver from the venue staff, and this system can be used with a hearing aid or cochlear implant with a T-coil, or with headphones.

Auslan & Captioning 
Auslan interpreting services and/or live captioning can be provided for selected talks upon request.

To book and discuss access services, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email


Leighton Hall (John Niland Scientia Building) is easily accessible via public transport and the closest light rail stops are UNSW High Street (L2 line) or UNSW Anzac Parade (L3 line). For more information please call the Transport Infoline on 131 500 or visit

Free parking is also available in the Botany St Car Park (Gate 11) from 5.30pm. For access to free parking, event patrons must park in the UNSW Permit Holder bays, available on all levels. The Botany St Car Park (Gate 11) parking station is located here.

Paid casual and visitor parking is offered via the CellOPark App and ‘pay by plate meters’ in all other UNSW car parks. For more information head here



For all the other enquiries, please email or call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485.

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9065 0485. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9065 0485. For more information on all other relay calls visit here.

Peter Frankopan

Peter Frankopan

Peter Frankopan is Professor of Global History at Oxford University and Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford. The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, published by Bloomsbury in 2015, was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller and remained in the top 10 for nine months after publication. It was named one of the ‘Books of the Decade’ 2010–2020 by the Sunday Times. The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World was published by Bloomsbury in 2018 and won the Human Sciences prize of the Carical Foundation in 2019.

Alison Bashford

Alison Bashford

Alison Bashford FBA FAHA is Scientia Professor of History at UNSW, and Director of the Laureate Centre for History & Population. Previously she was Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History at Cambridge. An historian of modern sciences and of environmental history, her most recent book is The Huxleys: An Intimate History of Evolution (Allen Lane, 2022), winner of the Nib Literary Award, and shortlisted for the Cundill History Prize. 

For first access to upcoming events and new ideas

Explore past events