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Image of Helen Clark speaking

My Year with Helen screening

What does it take to become Secretary General of the United Nations? What are the barriers that women face in taking on the highest offices in the world? These questions and more were explored with the Rt Hon Helen Clark, former Prime Minster of New Zealand, at an evening hosted by the Intellectual Forum on 24 November.

The sold-out event centred around a screening of My Year With Helen, a film by Gaylene Preston following Helen’s international development work and her journey through the selection process for the position of Secretary General of the United Nations.

Following the screening, both Helen and Gaylene answered questions about their work and the making of the film. Afterwards, Helen said: “I'm most appreciative of Jesus college for hosting this screening. There was a most informed audience who asked very good questions. I'm pleased this film put these issues of fairness in international selections on the agenda.”

Gaylene added: “I worked at Fulbourn hospital for three years, and made my first film there, accidentally, as a part of drama therapy for patients. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I could travel to Cambridge and bring a film about such a wonderful woman, a true gobal change agent such as Helen Clark.”

Julian Huppert, Director of the Intellectual Forum, commented: “It was a wonderful experience to have both this excellent film profile of Helen Clark and her quest to be Secretary-General of the UN, and Helen herself. She is a very insightful person, who has achieved a huge amount.”

The event was supported by the Intellectual Forum, the University of Cambridge Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), the Cambridge Institute for Public Policy (POLIS) and the Centre for Gender Studies (POLIS). 

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