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Guest speakers

Our highly acclaimed expert guest speakers include members of the clergy, academics and specialists and they are invited to journey with us and share their expert knowledge and enthusiasm. Their scholarly insights and anecdotes create a truly unique shared experience that brings to life hidden elements of a region’s history, culture and environment.

Our guest speakers, past and present, include:

Andrew Macintosh
The Reverend Dr Andrew Macintosh, Fellow & Dean Emeritus of St John’s College, Cambridge, was our first guest speaker and travelled with us for many years. He captures the essence of a journey with us:

“I was privileged to be guest speaker with Wind Sand & Stars for some twenty years. The bible has its languages - the essential keys which open up the scriptures to our deeper understanding.  But there is one such language which is learned not in the classroom or study, but in a jeep or on your feet. It is the topography of the bible. A trip with Wind Sand & Stars will facilitate the learning of this so important language. You will discover something of that language and the people whose it was and whose it is today. You will see contrasts; but, more importantly, you will see large and exciting continuity.”

Sara Maitland
The award-winning writer Sara Maitland travelled to South Sinai with Wind Sand & Stars as part of her research for the widely acclaimed A Book of Silence (Granta 2008). Afterwards we created the Adventure into Silence, a non-denominational retreat to explore the unique desert silence and Sara has been guest speaker on this popular annual retreat ever since.

John Binns
Canon Dr John Binns is an authority on eastern Christianity with a particular interest in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, with its distinctive scholarship and enduring oral traditions, with its complex and fascinating culture of poetry rooted in early Christian allegory. John is Vicar of Great St Mary's University Church Cambridge, Chair of Trustees of Partners for Change Ethiopia, Visiting Professor at the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies at Cambridge leading a project on Ethiopian Christianity, and author of several books and articles on eastern Christianity.

Janet Soskice
Professor in Theology and Religious Studies and Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, Janet is the author of Sisters of Sinai: How Two lady Adventurers Found the Hidden Gospels. With Janet we embarked on an historical odyssey across South Sinai, tracing the footsteps of the intrepid Scottish twin sisters who made one of the most important manuscript finds of the nineteenth century - an early copy of the gospels which lay hidden in the Monastery of St Catherine.

Erica Hunter
Dr Erica Hunter is Head of the Department of Religions and Philosophies, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London), where she is also Senior Lecturer in Eastern Christianity. She is co-chair of the Centre of World Christianity (www.soas.ac.uk/cwc) and is an international authority on Christianity in the Middle East, the Gulf, the Caucasus, Iran, Central Asia and China. She has led tours to Ethiopia, Oman, north-west China, Central Asia, Armenia, Georgia and Turkey.

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