On Friday 8 September, the Somerset Foundation will host its first ‘Somerset Business Lunch Series’, inviting the wider Gold Coast community to attend, network and enjoy an engaging afternoon.
The first of these high profile events will be held at Bond University in the Princeton Room, and will feature special guest speaker, Australian journalist Peter Greste and will be moderated by Australian TV presenter Simon Reeve.
Peter Greste has 25 years’ experience as a correspondent for Reuters, CNN, the BBC and Al Jazeera in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. In December 2013, he and two other Al Jazeera English journalists, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, were arrested by Egyptian authorities, accused of news reporting which was damaging to national security.
In June 2014, Greste was found guilty by the court, and sentenced to seven years’ jail. In February 2015, after 400 days in prison Greste was deported and returned to Australia.
His journey began in 1995, when he was appointed Afghanistan correspondent for the BBC and Reuters. In 2001, the BBC recalled him to Afghanistan to be a part of the team covering the aftermath of 9/11 and the fall of the Taliban before he resumed his duties, this time reporting from across South America until 2003.
From there, he went to Kenya, working in eastern and southern Africa for the BBC, with a particular focus on ongoing crises in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. In 2011, he made a documentary on Somalia for the BBC’s Panorama program, dedicated to the memory of his producer Kate Payton who was shot and killed during a previous trip the two of them made in 2005.
Later in 2011, Peter left the BBC and joined Al Jazeera as its East Africa Correspondent. He went to Cairo to cover the Christmas/New Year period in 2013, and two weeks after he arrived, security agents burst into his hotel room and arrested him and his colleagues. He was charged with aiding a banned organization – the Muslim Brotherhood; financing a banned organization and broadcasting false news.
The court convicted Peter and his colleagues, and sentenced them to between seven and ten years of hard labor. While in prison, Peter began a masters degree in International Relations with Griffith University. Later in 2015, became an honorary doctor of the university, for his services to journalism.
In February 2015, Peter was deported on an order of the Egyptian president, though he was included in the subsequent retrial that began a month later. Peter and his colleagues were once again convicted in the retrial though with their sentences reduced to three years. Their case has been widely condemned as an abuse of due process and their fundamental human rights.
A keynote speaker at TEDxSydney 2017 and in demand internationally, Peter is a passionate advocate for freedom of speech and social justice, and has an absorbing tale to tell. He continues to campaign for freedom of the press and to support other journalists in prison and is currently working on a book based on his experiences in Egypt and on the role of journalism in the War on Terror.
Tickets are $135 per person, or $1200 for a table of 10. To book your ticket or find out more information, please visit www.somerset.qld.edu.au/events.