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The late Alistair Cooke

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Leading US Senator to give Alistair Cooke Memorial Lecture

Category: Radio 4; World Service

Date: 10.06.2005
Printable version

Senator John McCain is to give the Alistair Cooke Memorial Lecture on Monday 4 July.


The lecture will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 at 8.00pm on 4 July, and on BBC World Service at 10.30pm (BST) on 4

July and 11.30am (BST) on 5 July.


The lecture, which is mounted by Radio 4 and the World Service, is a tribute to the much-loved broadcaster who died last year.


Alistair Cooke is best known as the voice of Letter From America, his weekly radio dispatch, which for more than 40 years explained America and Americans to the wider world.


The lecture is a joint initiative between the BBC and friends and colleagues of Alistair Cooke, led by Richard Price, the former Chairman of Bafta and Fellow of the Royal Television Society.


John McCain was once described by Alistair Cooke as a "hero with a gift for believable indignation".


The title of his lecture is An American Patriot Today, in which he maintains that "to be an American patriot is to support a moral mission at home and abroad."


Maria Balinska, the editor of the broadcast, said: "The goal of the Alistair Cooke Memorial Lecture is both to commemorate Alistair Cooke and to provide an opportunity to a leading American public figure to do what Alistair did so well: explain America to the rest of the world.


"Senator John McCain is one of the most popular politicians in America today. Known for his straight talking, Senator McCain's exploration of what it means to be an American patriot today on July 4, the country's Independence Day and the eve of the G8 summit, could not be of greater relevance for our listeners."


Maria Balinska was also the editor of Letter From America and worked with Alistair Cooke for many years.


John McCain said: "I'll be honoured to deliver the Alistair Cooke Memorial Lecture. He not only gave us a sense of our relationship with the British, but also a good dose of British culture and history.


"In this lecture I'll be talking about the unique relationship that exists between the United States and the British, and the challenges that lie ahead."


The lecture is to be given at the English Speaking Union, Dartmouth House, London, and will be chaired by Nick Clarke, Alistair Cooke's biographer and the presenter of Radio 4's The World At One.


Senator McCain has enjoyed an illustrious career both in and out of politics.


The son and grandson of admirals, he served in the Vietnam War. In 1967 he was shot down and he was held as a prisoner-of-war in Hanoi for five-and-a-half years.


He was finally released from captivity in 1973, having survived the injuries he received when he was shot down; the beatings from an angry crowd and his captors; a year of torture; and two years of solitary confinement.


He was decorated many times. Years later he forgave his captors for his treatment.


He was elected to Congress in 1982, representing Arizona, and became a Senator for that state in 1986.


He was a candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2000.


He is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and serves on the Armed Forces, Commerce, Science and Transportation committees.


Though critical of some aspects of President Bush's administration, he is a firm supporter of the war in Iraq.




Category: Radio 4; World Service

Date: 10.06.2005
Printable version


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