Candidate Profile

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EXPERTISE
Extraordinary Lives & Famous People
Food & Nutrition
History - Social
Royalty & Monarchy
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH:
BIOGRAPHY
Anne Frank is perhaps the best known victim of World War 2 and continues to be a figure of inspiration around the world. In 1990, along with family and friends of Anne Frank’s father Otto Frank, Gillian set up the Anne Frank Trust UK as a partner organisation of the world famous Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The Trust uses Anne Frank’s powerful and tragic story to help young people understand and challenge prejudice and hatred, and embrace positive attitudes, responsibility and respect for others.

Gillian retired from running the charity in 2016 and now lectures on the ‘Life and Surprising Glovbal Legacy of Anne Frank’, as well as other social history topics. Gillian has travelled extensively around the UK and internationally as a speaker and setting up educational projects and campaigns. She has met Presidents, Prime Ministers, royalty and people who actually knew Anne Frank and have shared their first hand recollections of her (Gillian has been told by passengers that they felt they had 'touched Anne Frank' having heard this lecture). Gillian speaks about the surprising impact Anne Frank has had on people in diverse countries around the world, and can focus this on destination countries, many of which, such as South Africa, Hong Kong, Argentina and Brazil, she has worked in. This is the topic of Gillian's popular book 'The Legacy of Anne Frank', which was launched at the Anne Frank House in 2018.

Gillian is a highly experienced speaker having addressed the United Nations in front of the Secretary General Kofi Annan,10 Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, the prestigious Union League Club of Philadelphia and most recently the Clinton Presidential Library and Center in Little Rock. She has received many honours and humanitarian awards for her work including an MBE from HM The Queen and has been cited as one of Britain’s Inspirational Women by a national magazine. Gillian has done innumerable TV and radio interviews and taken part in documentaries, both in the UK and US.

Gillian also uses her engaging presentation skills to lecture on a range of popular social history and destinations focused topics covering her passions of Food and Drink; Fashion (she has a Degree in Fashion History and Design and was a fashion designer in her first career) and the Fascinating Lives of people in destination countries, as well as their social issues, traditions and culture.

Gillian has been told by passengers on many occasions that the combination of her knowledge, warmth and delivery style has made her talks 'unmissable', passengers even stating on three separate occasions that Gillian's talks had made their cruise (a wonderful thing for a lecturer to hear). Gillian is flexible and, since retiring from her full time role as CEO, is available to travel spontaneously. Gillian spends some of the year in the US so can be available to join ships on the east and west coasts.

Read more about Gillian at www.gillianwalnesperry.com


TALKS
UNIQUE AREA OF EXPERTISE

1. The world’s most admired diarist - Anne Frank, Her Life and Inspirational Legacy
Having worked with the story of Anne Frank for 30 years, both in the UK and internationally, I have a unique insight into Anne's life and times. I have met people who knew Anne Frank and who have shared their personal memories, as well as many Holocaust survivors who had parallel experiences to those of Anne Frank. I take the story of Anne’s life through her family background in Frankfurt, the family's desperate flight to Amsterdam, Anne’s emerging personality as a popular and irreverent school girl, her desperation in hiding (as described to me by the family’s courageous helper Miep Gies), Anne's physical and emotional transition into an adolescent and her developing moral framework, which has proved to be an inspirational to millions. I speak about some of the iconic names who have been involved in my work, including the late Audrey Hepburn and Angelina Jolie, and of attending the 1996 Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood together with Miep Gies.

In a separate lecture I explore the surprising impact that learning about Anne Frank has had on young people in some of the world's most turbulent regions and I explain this in the context of each cruise's destinations, including Latin America and the Far East. This is the topic of my popular book 'The legacy of Anne Frank'.

SOCIAL HISTORY GENERAL / FOOD AND DRINK / FASHION AND STYLE

2. Tea Anyone? The Social History of Afternoon Tea
How tea drinking was first introduced into society, and how afternoon tea was popularised and became the social institution of England as well as many other countries of the world.
Using vibrant on screen displays, this talk includes the introduction of delicious tea menu items; the customs and etiquette surrounding afternoon tea; examples of the finest silver and porcelain tea ware, and the rise of public tea rooms and tea dances. (I have been interviewed by several BBC radio stations about the history and etiquette of afternoon tea, as well as writing articles for newspapers and websites).
This very popular lecture can be adapted for any destination countries' food and drink traditions, history and culture.

3. Coffee Anyone?
The social, cultural & economic impact of coffee drinking and production. How coffee drinking came to the world and changed the destiny of the coffee producing countries. How social coffee drinking underwent a 20th century slump followed by a huge revival in the 1980's due to a radical new approach to high street coffee shops.

4. A bittersweet love - The history, culture and economics of sugar
How the global love of sugar was developed and its importance in Caribbean and world history and the slave trade. The economic and political impact of the trade on Britain and America. The history of the European sugar trade and key milestones in the introduction of desserts, confectionery and tea time treats.

5. A rum affair – the history of a much loved drink
How the global love of rum and its trade started, its Caribbean history and its important place in naval history. The fraught story of rum is mired in colonialism, slavery, economic oppression and organized crime, in America, and from Jamaica to Brazil.

6. Secrets of the British Monarchy
The hereditary line of the British monarchy has not run smoothly and has taken many twists and turns. In this hair-raising journey we will explore how the first king of England, the Anglo-Saxon Egbert, established his kingdom in the 9th century; the sensational trial and beheading of a ruling English king; the subsequent fight to restore an English monarchy; the king of England who spoke no English; the king who lost America; why Victoria was Queen only by accident, and why the current British royal family changed their name in fear of their lives. Other colourful royals, their achievements, failures and lovers, will feature along the way, culminating in the longest living reigning monarch, Elizabeth II. I will also share my own conversations with senior Royal Family members.

7. ‘Why You Are Wearing What You’re Wearing”: The Surprising History of Leisure, Sport and Travel Wear
This lecture covers the rise of leisure time and the restrictions of Victorian leisure, tennis and cycling wear and how more practical clothing happened; who the courageous innovators were; the introduction of trousers for women; and the evolving of leisure, sports and holiday wear throughout the 20th century. There are interesting insights for both men and women. My degree was in History of Fashion which has long been an interest so this lecture can be destination related.

8. A Day at the Palace and A Night at the Oscars
In 2010 I received an honour from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and was invested into the Most Excellent order of the British Empire. I describe the inside story of a very special day at Buckingham Palace and share the fascinating history of honours, knighthoods and peerages.
I then take the audience behind the scenes at Hollywood’s annual Academy Awards ceremony, which I had the privilege of attending and seeing the documentary feature I commissioned win an Oscar. I describe the history of the Academy Awards ceremony and share some highly some highly amusing and fascinating facts surrounding it.

DESTINATIONS FOCUSED LECTURES

9. The Fascinating Lives of the European Royal Families
This lecture explores how the European monarchies are interconnected, how they were created, their links to the British royal family through Queen Victoria, as well as focusing on some fascinating characters past and present in the royal families of European destination countries. Some inspiring, some controversial and some surprisingly racy lives are covered.
My popular 'Fascinating Lives' series can be adapted for any global destinations.

10. Mediterranean food – how it changed British dining
In the middle of the 20th century the British adopted a curiosity about new cuisines both in their own kitchens and eating out, through cookery writers who dramatically changed the face of the British restaurant scene, including Elizabeth David and Charles Forte.

10. Fascinating Venetians
A journey through Venice’s most vibrant creations, crafts & characters and their contribution to the world. The impact of Venice on the world, from glass to ghettoes, from biennale to bellinis, Casanova, Canaletto & Comedia del Arte.

11. Fascinating Greeks
Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on Europe and provided the foundation of modern culture of Western civilization. The birth of democracy and the life of Aristotle. The Greco-Persian Wars and the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedonia, which brought the Hellenistic civilization across Asia to India. I then move to a flamboyant character from our modern age: Aristotle Onassis, achievemnets and failures, his tragic family and his romances with Maria Calllas and Jacqueline Kennedy.

12. A journey around the British Isles
A series of lectures exploring the history, culture, social issues and most colourful characters of destination ports in the British Isles including London, Southampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Channel Islands, Scottish islands, and other British ports.
I have a unique perspective on these. For the past 30 years I have been travelling around the UK running Britain’s most popular travelling exhibition and in doing so have worked closely with local governments and communities and have gained deep and meaningful insights into each location: its history, traditions, particular social issues, culture and peculiarities, notable characters, and of course food and drink.

13. The British & the Caribbean – a volatile history
Exploring the complex relationship between the British colonialists and the West Indian people. Covering the Sugar Barons and slave trade, cricket, the British royal family, the arrival in Britain of the first West Indian immigrants, riots on UK streets, achievements of notable West Indians in Britain, including those who helped defeat Hitler in World War II. I will also discuss the impact the murder of Stephen Lawrence had on British society, from my perspective of having been involved with the Jamaican born Lawrence family over many years.

14. Pele, Senna & Carmen Miranda - amazing lives of hot Brazilians
Fascinating lives and loves of a selection of unforgettable Brazilians from the worlds of sport, music and the arts. How their heritage and background fueled their indomitable passion and drive. Includes the social, political and cultural history of Brazil, where I have worked in an educational capacity.

15. Castro, Cuba and the US – a tricky affair
Cuba’s recent and past history, the volatility between the US and its close Communist neighbour, the Cuban War of Independence, the corrupt rule of Fulgencio Batista, American organised crime in Havana, Castro’s Communist revolution, the Cuban refugees and their influence in Miami. The rise of tourism to Cuba.

16. Cigars, beats and Cuba Libres
Who, how and what Cuba has given the world. The great beats and musicians, food, smokes and art. From its captivating music pervading the island, to its famed cigar industry to mambo, salsa and Cuba Libres.

17. The great design heroes of Japan
Covering the worlds of fashion, cars, technology and household objects, I explain how Japan rose to be a post war super power in avant garde design and innovation. Includes such iconic names as Kenzo, Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake who have stormed the world of fashion, and those who have had a huge influence on the look of our cars and homes. I have a further series of three more lectures focusing on aspects of Japanese culture, arts and society.

18. Hong Kong, China and our high street
I was working in the world of fashion when good quality Hong Kong fashion imports started to take over our high street. I explain how this came about, the Hong Kong/UK relationship and how China became the world's clothing production powerhouse.
CRUISE HISTORY / EXPERIENCE
P&O Ventura N928 Mediterranean, 6 – 20 October 2019
P&O Azura A924 Mediterranean, 2 – 11 September 2019
P&O Britannia B915 Western Europe, 1 – 8 June 2019
P&O Oriana X907 Mediterranean and Adriatic, 20 - 30 May 2019
P&O Aurora R906 Mediterranean, 24 April – 5 May
Viking Sky Copenhagen – Amsterdam, 6 – 16 April 2019
Fred. Olsen Boudicca Oman – Alexandria, 23 January – 2 February 2019
P&O Azura A830 Caribbean, 2 – 16 November 2018
Viking Sky Copenhagen – Amsterdam, 26 September – 6 October 2018
P&O N921 Ventura Norwegian Fjords, 17 – 24 August 2018
P&O Azura A813 Western Europe, 26 May – 2 June 2018
P&O J-801-1 Arcadia Southampton – Madeira, 9 – 13 January 2018
P&O R722 Aurora Northern Europe, 6 – 16 December 2017
P&O Aurora R701-4 Trans-Pacific, 22 – 27 March 2017

Spontaneous lecture as a paying guest for Celebrity
Spontaneous lecture as a paying guest for Radisson Seven Seas (now Regent)
RECENT PAST CRUISES COMPLETED
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
SHIP REF CRUISE DESCRIPTION NIGHTS SAILING FROM DEPARTURE DATE
Viking Sky SK190406 Scandinavia & the Kiel Canal 10 Copenhagen Saturday, April 6, 2019
Viking Sky SK180926 Scandinavia & the Kiel Canal 10 Copenhagen Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Arcadia J801 Sector Western Circumnavigation Cruise 4 Southampton Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Aurora R722 Germany, Denmark & Norway Cruise 10 Southampton Wednesday, December 6, 2017