GSE News

GSE Names 2013 Graduation Speaker: Lord David Puttnam

March 12, 2013 - Lord David Puttnam, award-winning film producer and advocate for education, will address the new graduates of GSE at the School’s graduation ceremony on May 11, 2013, just days after speaking via videolink at the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Conference on May 7.

David Puttnam spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle. His films have won ten Oscars, 25 BAFTAs and the Palme D'Or at Cannes.

He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on his work in public policy as it relates to education, the environment, and the “creative and communications” industries. In 1998 he founded the U.K.’s National Teaching Awards, which he chaired until 2008, also serving as the first Chair of the General Teaching Council from 2000 to 2002. From July 2002 to July 2009 he was president of UNICEF UK, playing a key role in promoting UNICEF’s key advocacy and awareness objectives.

David is the present Chancellor of the Open University, following ten years as Chancellor of The University of Sunderland. He has recently been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy – Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

In 2007 he served as Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill, having performed the same role on the 2002 Communications Bill. He has also been Chairman of two Hansard Society Commission Reports on the relationship between Parliament and the Public; he serves as Senior Non-Executive Director at Promethean.

David was awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995 and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. In France he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, becoming an Officer in 1992, and a Commander in 2006. He has been the recipient of more than 40 honorary degrees from Universities in the UK and overseas, and in October 2012 was awarded a Fellowship of the Sam Spiegel Film School.

Lord Puttnam will also speak via video link from Ireland on May 7 at the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition Conference on the Penn campus. Launched in 2009 by Penn GSE and the Milken Family Foundation, the Competition aims to stimulate entrepreneurship in education and connect social entrepreneurs to venture capitalists and other funders interested in improving education.