On the Issues Episode 39: William Morris

On this episode, I speak with William Morris, Secretary General of the Next Century Foundation, about the role of the UN in global humanitarian crises, the Syrian civil war, and the broader situation in the Middle East.


William Morris is Secretary General of the Next Century Foundation, as well as being a broadcaster. He has worked as a farmer, miner and publisher, and for the past 20 years has worked extensively within the area of conflict resolution, principally in the Middle East. William was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by the Earl of St Andrews, Chancellor of the University of Bolton, in 2017 for his services to peace.

As a student, William travelled extensively in the Middle East with his father, a Cornish journalist with a strong interest in the region. As a direct result of this unique experience, in 1991 William was invited to be special advisor to the deputy Prime Minister of the Sultanate of Oman and set up a publishing and printing unit at Sultan Qaboos University.

In 1996 William returned to his home in the West Country with his family. Shortly after his return to Cornwall he was appointed Secretary General of The Next Century Foundation, an organization whose founders included the Lord Weinstock and Andrew Cavendish, the 11th Duke of Devonshire. The then-Crown Prince, now Emir, of Qatar was also particularly supportive. In this role, at the behest of Derek Fatchett MP (then-Minister at the Foreign Office), William Morris produced an important report on Kashmir in consultation with the Mirpuri community in Britain. In October 2000, he helped set up a war avoidance team to carry messages between the then-Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr Peter Hain, and Iraqi Minister Mr Tariq Aziz. In May 2003, William was appointed Chairman of the International Media Council (now a part of the International Council for Press and Broadcasting) based in London. In this capacity he has led press delegations to Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Egypt and Syria. The goal of the Media Council is to counter xenophobia and disinformation in the press of the Middle East and the West. William is a trustee of Sanghata Global, a charity for transformational change that designs and implements breakthrough conceptual models focused on serving humanity. He is also a core member of the personal development charity, Initiatives of Change.