The Cambridge Speechwriters’ & Business Communicators’ Conference

17-19 April 2024
  • Start: 10am 17 Apr
  • End: 12.30pm 19 Apr
  • Venue: Sidney Sussex College
  • Address: Sidney St, Cambridge CB2 3HU
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You’re invited to the 23rd European Speechwriter Network Conference.

Why attend?

This conference is for anyone wanting to learn from leading lights in the world of speechwriting.

And for people eager to share their experience with their peers.

Corporate, Government and financial cultures need imagination to communicate.

That’s why they hire talented writers to connect with the wider public.

If you have to script speeches, Tweets, blogs, op-eds, video scripts or presentations within your organisation, you’ll know how hard it can be.

We’ve had speakers who have written for President Obama, David Cameron and Angela Merkel.

We’ve heard from people working at BP, the Bundesbank and the European Commission.

The former Prime Minister of Finland came to share his views on speechwriting with us.

The European Speechwriter Network has pioneered a format where we listen to top speechwriters, leaders and experts talk about their work.

Our conferences expand your confidence, expertise and insight.

You’ll get instruction, ideas and inspiration from our speakers and trainers.

We welcome advanced writers, beginners and those interested in developing skills for the future.

We can learn to flourish within challenging environments.

We hear from our counterparts in foreign Governments, corporations and related professions

In a globalised world, our most valuable expertise is effective communication in English with multinational audiences.

That’s why we put on a multinational conference.

From the moment you arrive in Cambridge, you’ll be invited to eat, drink and talk with your fellow delegates.

We stay in touch after the conference. Over the past 10 years we’ve built a community that keeps coming back.

Who should attend?

Previous conferences in Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Helsinki and Berlin have attracted writers from four Prime Ministers’ offices, the European Commission, NATO, Airbus, BMW, IBM, the CBI, Orange, Deloitte, the United Nations, the European Investment Bank, Coca Cola as well as the Dutch, Danish and British civil service.

While the conference is predominantly in English, the techniques will be transferable to other languages.

The benefits

  • Acquire techniques used in the White House, European institutions and and in numerous government and multinational offices around Europe
  • Get insights into rhetoric from top writers
  • Listen to outstanding writers tell their stories
  • Have your own work analysed in interactive sessions with top trainers
  • Meet fellow professionals from the Europe and the rest of the world



Click here to download a provisional programme for planning purposes.


Pre-conference Training

Wednesday 17 April – Delegates can choose from three pre-conference training workshops

Sarada Peri – From Speechwriting to Strategy
Click here to download a summary of the workshop

Larry McEnerney – I Believe in America – How Political Ideology Translates into Speechwriting
Click here to download a summary of the workshop

James McCabe – Find Your Narrative Strategy, How to use empathy, suspense and surprise to invigorate your communications
Click here for a more detailed summary of the workshop

(Renée Broekmeulen and Matt Greenough are unable to deliver their proposed workshop, James has taken their place.)


Full Conference

Thursday 18 April – Conference takes place in the William Mong Hall.

10am – 4.30pm

Speakers include: Daniel Sacker, Helle Snelligen, Tessa van Beuse

7.30pm – Conference Banquet

Enjoy a three-course banquet in Sidney Sussex College dining hall with wine.

You will have the chance to take part in our speaking competition for the Fred Metcalf Memorial Trophy


Conference Continues

Friday 19 April – 10am – 12.30pm

Speakers include: Michel Reinders, Sindre Weber, Sarada Peri

Official Conference Close – 12.30pm

1pm – Optional lunch

What you will leave with

  • A better understanding of your counterparts
  • Insights on how to work with multilingual audiences
  • Tips for managing your speakers
  • Strategies for dealing with interpreters
  • New contacts, ideas and perspectives on the trade


Pre-Conference Trainers

Sarada Peri

Sarada was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Speechwriter for President Barack Obama. Prior to joining the White House, she was a Principal at West Wing Writers. She was also a member of the 2012, 2016, and 2020 Democratic National Convention speechwriting teams. Today she runs her own firm, Peri Communications, where she helps C-suite executives, non-profit leaders, philanthropists, and politicians with speechwriting, speech delivery, message strategy, and more. Sarada also writes under her own byline, and has been published in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and other outlets.

A recovering policy wonk, Sarada worked in the U.S. Senate as a health care and education legislative staffer. She started her career as a high school English teacher in New Orleans through Teach for America, and is a graduate of Tufts University and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Larry McEnerney

Former director of the Writing Program at University of Chicago.





James McCabe

James is a pioneer of classical story design, which he promotes through his company The Story Doctor. He’s worked closely with scores of well-known names such as Siemens, Allianz, Sony and others.

He’s also worked as a script doctor for the film industry and collaborated with Hollywood star coach Robert McKee. He followed his Oxford literary doctorate with several decades of international engagement across borders, industries and functional silos from leadership and reputation to strategy, brand and culture.

James’ training session will be on on ‘Finding Your Narrative Strategy’.


Patrick Ross

Patrick is a Senior Director at West Wing Writers, a speechwriting and strategy firm based in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared in bestselling books, the pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times, and onstage at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.





Tessa van Beest
Tessa started her career writing for the Dutch Prime Minister and after that she worked for several speakers at the Ministry of Finance. She thinks a speechwriter is not only responsible for a great text, but should also be able to help the speakers with their presentation. That’s why Tessa became a presentation coach and trainer as well. Now she works as a freelancer for various clients, including government and NGO’s.




Sindre Weber

Sindre is a former speechwriter in the Norwegian Ministry of Defence.





Jess Cunniffe MBE

Jessica has written speeches for over a decade. She was speechwriter to two prime ministers in 10 Downing Street, during which she penned David Cameron’s 2015 party conference address.

She went on to help write his bestselling memoir, For the Record. Today she writes for cabinet ministers, CEOs, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.



John Zimmer

John has worked for a major Canadian law firm, the United Nations and the World Health Organisation. He also teaches public speaking in the Executive Programmes at the University of Geneva, University of Lausanne and IESE in Barcelona.

He will be talking about how to overcome the linguistic challenges of multilingual audiences and multilingual speakers.



Professor Alan Finlayson

Alan is the Professor of Political and Social Theory at the University of East Anglia. He has a special interest in political rhetoric.





Hossam Hussein Ismail

Hossam is an Egyptian diplomat, specialising in speechwriting. He is going to speak to us about how Arabic speeches work.





Daniel Sacker

Dan joined Milltown Partners in March 2022 to work on the firm’s leadership and private client advisory work after over a decade serving as a senior adviser to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (Chief Rabbi of the UK and Commonwealth) and as Co-Director of The Rabbi Sacks Legacy Trust. Before that, he worked at Weber Shandwick Public Affairs, advising a range of public and private sector clients. Dan holds a B.A. in Politics and Modern History from Manchester University and an M.A. in Political Management from The George Washington University (Washington D.C.).



Helle Snelligen

Helle is a special advisor at the Central Bank in Norway. She studied math and physics at the University of Oslo for two years but absconded to Paris where she studied conference interpreting at the Sorbonne. She has worked for the European Parliament, Council and Commission, the OECD, the United Nations, European Court of Justice (ECJ), Brigitte Bardot Foundation, L’Elysée and le Quai d’Orsay. Freelance conference interpreter, translator, pre-editor, post-editor, speech revisor: Helle has been active in all these areas for the past 35 years, and the subjects of the speeches she has either interpreted live or translated/crafted have spanned themes as varying as A Just War (Nobel Peace Prize Lecture by President Obama) to the physiological effects of deep sea diving


Guy Doza

Guy is an author, speechwriter, and TEDx speaker. He has a degree in education from Cambridge and a Masters in rhetoric from Royal Holloway. He has worked for members of both The House of Commons and The House of Lords. He’s run his own speechwriting consultancy and been a leading member of the European Speechwriter Network for ten years.

Outside of Parliament, he’s worked with numerous companies ranging from BP to the BBC. Beyond the UK, he’s worked as consultant to a range of governments across Europe and Central Asia.

Guy won awards for speaking at Toastmasters International. In 2019, he was invited to give a TEDxTalk at the University of Cambridge about how rhetoric influences the decisions that shape our lives. He has also lectured at Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and Caltech.


The speakers advertised on the programme have agreed to speak at the conference. From time to time cancellations may arise. We always try to find appropriate replacements.


Clip from Last Year’s Conference in Oxford


For an Early-Bird Residential Pre-Conference Training + Conference Pass (Wed, Thu & Fri), the cost is £1599 + VAT. For other prices please press the ‘Tickets’ button to pay by credit card through Eventbrite.

If you prefer for us to send you an invoice instead of paying through Eventbrite, please send an email and we will send you one.  If you need to separate the costs into two invoices – one for training, the other for accommodation, we’re happy to do that. Just email and ask.


We can provide certificates of proof of attendance on request after the conference is over.

Cancellation Policy

If you can’t make any of our conferences, we’ll do our best to transfer your payment to a future conference. It’s not in our interests to disappoint you in any way.

Bookings will not be accepted unless accompanied by payment and cancellations must be received no later than one month (28 days) before the conference if a full refund is to be given.

Cancellations received within 2 to 4 weeks of the first date of conference will be refunded 50%. No refunds will be given for cancellations made within 14 days.

However, we prefer to discuss transferring your ticket to a future conference in the event that you can’t attend due to unforeseen circumstances.


Get to Cambridge


London Stansted Airport

This is the closest major airport, about 25 miles from Cambridge (40 minutes by car). It is well served by airlines flying from European destinations. For flight information try the BAA Stansted website or contact the airlines directly (budget airlines easyJet and Ryanair operate direct flights to Stansted from many European airports).

London Heathrow Airport

Many airlines fly to London Heathrow. The easiest way to get to Cambridge is to take a direct coach service. The coach runs at least once per hour, see the National Express website and takes at least 2.5 hours to reach Cambridge (often much longer, depending on traffic jams).


There are regular train services from London to Cambridge departing from London King’s Cross or London Liverpool Street. For timetable, fares and to plan your train journey from London to Cambridge, see the National Rail website. If you are travelling from Europe, you can catch the Eurostar and King’s Cross station is a short walk from St Pancras.

By Coach

National Express operates coaches from London to Cambridge.


Our accommodation this year will be in Robinson College, Grange Road, Cambridge CB3 9AN, because Sidney Sussex has had to do maintenance on their halls of residence. You should check-in at Robinson on your arrival. We will have breakfast there before making our way to Sidney Sussex every morning.


There are a limited number of places available at a discount to people in full-time education who are considering a career in speechwriting. Details on application.

Join our Network

Membership of the UK Speechwriters’ Guild or European Speechwriter Network entitles you to a £50 discount on the conference fee.

You can follow the European Speechwriter Network on Twitter @EUSpeechwriters

You can apply to join our Linkedin group, European Speechwriter Network

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