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Former foreign correspondent on why we’re building walls

Monday 4 March 2019

The former diplomatic editor of Sky News, Tim Marshall, visited The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) to give his unique insight into our global society.

In a talk hosted by GSAL on behalf of the Milim ‘Words for All’ Festival, Tim discussed the themes of his latest book Divided: Why We’re living in an Age of Walls.

While the world’s focus is on President Trump’s proposed wall on the US/Mexico border, Tim reminded the audience that it’s human nature to desire our own space and countries have been building walls for the last 12,000 years.

The divisions are not only physical – Tim talked about the “great firewall of China” which blocks communications between China and the rest of the world, as well as between provinces. While the aim of social media companies such as Facebook is to bring the world closer together, in fact they can heighten tribalism and division.

He said: “I don’t agree we live in an open globalised world, the nation state is as strong as it ever was and globalisation hasn’t brought us closer together. We’ve hit a bumpy patch and our focus on Trump’s wall means we’ve lost sight of what’s happening elsewhere.”

Earlier in the day Tim addressed A-level geography students from GSAL, Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College, Elliott Hudson College and St Aidan’s CE High School. His Sunday Times No 1 bestseller Prisoners of Geography is recommended reading for A-level geographers.

Tim encouraged students to see the world from other countries’ perspectives: “To understand Russia, get inside it and look outwards.”

Tim is founder and editor of the current affairs website

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Straight.

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