This year's Reith Lecturer is Onora O'Neill. She became Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, in l992 and has chaired the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Human Genetics Advisory Commission. She is currently chair of the Nuffield Foundation and she has been President of the Aristotelian Society, and a member of the Animal Procedures (Scientific) Committee. In 1999 she was made a life peer as Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve, and sits as a crossbencher. She has written widely on political philosophy and ethics, international justice, bioethics and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.
Onora O'Neill examines the search for justice in conditions where the basis for trust, is threatened by violence and intimidation. Trust often is reciprocal and when it is, we have virtuous spirals. However, trust can also open the door to betrayal, and betrayal leads to mistrust which in turn creates vicious spirals. In the most extreme situations where danger and terror undermine trust, it starts spiralling downwards and we might lose it all together.