Candidate Profile

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EXPERTISE
Destinations & Ports
Extraordinary Lives & Famous People
Fashion & Style
Food & Nutrition
History - Social
Royalty & Monarchy
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH:
BIOGRAPHY
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 Inspiring 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 first hand recollections about her. 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 she has worked in. This is the topic of Gillian's forthcoming book.

Gillian is a highly experienced speaker having addressed the United Nations in front of the Secretary General Kofi Annan and at 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament. 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.

Gillian is flexible and, since retiring from her full time role as CEO, is available to travel spontaneously.

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 hundreds of 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 forthcoming book.

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. (During national Afternoon Tea Week, I was interviewed by six 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 1980s 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. A night at the Oscars – my memorable time at the Academy Awards
I attended the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood having commissioned a documentary feature film about Anne Frank. I describe the thrill of the red carpet, share insider revelations about the ceremony, and the aftermath of our Oscar victory. I also describe my meetings with several of Hollywood’s A-list glitterati, including as Steven Spielberg, Angelina Jolie and Audrey Hepburn.

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.

DESTINATIONS FOCUSED LECTURES

8. 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.

9. 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. Lives of the famous 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. The indelible mark Greece has left on the world
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 philosophers Plato and Socrates. The Greco-Persian Wars and the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedonia. The Hellenistic civilization that flourished from Asia to the Mediterranean Sea. Aristotle Onassis, his tragic family and his romance with Jackie Kennedy.

12. Croatia – beauty and belligerence
The proud & beautiful Croatian nation, its highs & lows through history. Ottoman occupation, pro-Nazi wartime leadership, Tito’s iron rule, its transition from Communism to nationalism and the bloody Balkan wars of the 1990s. Nikola Tesla, the futuristic engineer who got our homes electrified.

13. Romances, adventurers and pirates of the Caribbean
Unforgettable stories of the Caribbean’s most flamboyant characters past & present. From the self-styled ‘Pirate Republic’ of the 18th century, to the love affairs, business entrepreneurs, greatest scams and legends of the islands.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. 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 Aurora RTW 2017 joined Honolulu to San Francisco gave 4 lectures
P&O Aurora December 2017 Northern European gave 4 lectures
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 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