Better Angels with Sarah Brown

Global campaigner and author Sarah Brown chats with people who've had a positive influence on the world around them, and unearths the lessons to help us do the same. Find out how to develop the better angel inside yourself. Featuring stories from globally renowned campaigners, Nobel Prize winners, celebrities, politicians and remarkable young people, Better Angels with Sarah Brown champions the activist spirit.
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Global campaigner and author Sarah Brown chats with people who've had a positive influence on the world around them, and unearths the lessons to help us do the same. Find out how to develop the better angel inside yourself. Featuring stories from globally renowned campaigners, Nobel Prize winners, celebrities, politicians and remarkable young people, Better Angels with Sarah Brown champions the activist spirit. 



Executive Producers: Ben Hewitt & Lolita Laguna

Music: Pete Lyons

Photo: Brian Aris

Studio: People's Postcode Lottery studio in Edinburgh

Mar 6, 2018

Sarah Brown talks to Annie Lennox, Kim Cattrall, June Sarpong, Cressida Dick, Lyse Doucet, Arabella Weir, Jasvinder Sanghera and a host of inspiring women for International Women's Day 2018.

This International Women’s Day Better Angels special focuses on the theme #ChangeTheCulture  - a challenge to end violence against girls and women both in the UK and around the world.

In this episode, host Sarah Brown speaks to an array of inspirational women live from Theirworld’s International Women’s Day Breakfast, including the first female Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick, singer and activist Annie Lennox, actor and producer Kim Cattrall, TV presenter June Sarpong, BBC’s Lyse Doucet, Director of Development and External Affairs of Safer London Sarah Castro, comedian, actor and writer Arabella Weir, Jess Phillips - MP for Birmingham Yardley, award winning academic Dr. Nicola Rollock who specialises in race equality, former Editorial Director of Hearst UK and Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan Louise Court and campaigner and advocate for the rights of those experiencing forced marriages and honour based abuse, Jasvinder Sanghera.

You will also hear from Esperande and Nidia, two survivors of sexual violence as a weapon of warfare who are bravely speaking out about their experiences, in an effort to #ChangeTheCulture. Both Nidia and Esperande are part of a newly launched Survivor Network, supported by the Dr.Denis Mukwege Foundation. The network aims to support other women around the world who are victims of sexual violence due to war. 

Tune in to this International Women’s Day special to hear from those women working to #ChangeTheCulture and find out how you can too.

Jan 5, 2018

In this Better Angels episode focusing on the importance of girls’ education, Sarah Brown talks to an array of inspirational guests including Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed, former Australian Prime Minister and Chair of the Global Partnership for Education Julia Gillard, young education champions Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, and co-founder of HOPE for Children Cameroon and Theirworld Global Youth Ambassador Joannes Yimbesalu.

Amina Mohammed talks about the the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on the gender and education goals. She highlights the basic right to education that all girls are entitled to and the potential it brings to their future life and family. 

Julia Gillard discusses her move from politics into education and her role with the Global Partnership for Education.

Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, who were also attacked in the shooting of Malala Yousafzai on their school bus in Pakistan in 2012, discuss their journey back into education, as well as how they now help and inspire other girls to continue fighting for their right to education.

Joannes Yimbesalu talks about his work with children in rural Cameroon and how to ensure they stay in school and learn in a safe environment.


Audio of Queen Rania with thanks to Girl Rising

Audio of Michelle Obama with courtesy of Barack Obama Presidential Library

Jan 1, 2018

Better Angels New Year Special

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first Better Angels episode of 2018, the podcast for the activist spirit.

As 2017 turned out to be a shade darker than the already gloomy 2016, people around the world are bracing for what comes next. High human costs of war, attacks and assaults on women, children, hospitals and schools, and the ever-growing gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Yet where there is darkness, we can always find light. We can find the very best of humanity in individuals who offer hope and inspiration, through the generosity of their acts, both large and small.

To start off 2018, Sarah Brown called out via social media for people to contribute their best actions of the year, the ones that highlight the ‘Better Angels’ of their nature. For the first podcast of 2018, we are sharing the stories of amazing people across the world and their inspiring acts. 

You will hear from:

  • Kiko, who has learnt to row and is aiming row solo across the Atlantic Ocean to raise money for a hospital and, importantly, empower other women.
  • Maisha, a Theirworld Global Youth Ambassador (GYA) from Singapore, who is a champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on gender equality.
  • Oraeki Chukwujekwu Francis, a GYA who teaches secondary school students about career choices to help them plan their life after school.
  • Lavanya, a 19-year-old British student on her Gap year in India, volunteering to help children with their education.
  • Tauseef, another GYA who organised the Global Transformation Forum, one of the largest events in Malaysia, as well as taking part in other incredible work globally.
  • Marshall, a GYA from Malawi who is taking Theirworld’s #5for5 campaign to the next level in Malawi, to support early childhood development in his country.

Dec 18, 2017

In this episode of Better Angels focusing on Safe Schools, Sarah Brown talks to the Director of Education Cannot Wait Yasmine Sherif, Nigerian lawyer Zannah Mustapha, who helped to secure the release of dozens of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram, former Theirworld Global Youth Ambassador and active campaigner Courage Nyamhunga, and activist and campaigner Sylvia Kayko.

Yasmine talks about Education Cannot Wait and their work globally, helping the more than 75 million children today who are severely affected by armed conflict, war, persecution and natural disasters get back into education.

Courage talks of the millions of children who miss out on the chance to go to school and the ‘lost generation’ that could result.                

Zannah speaks to Sarah about Safe Schools in Nigeria and the climate felt around sending children to schools after the abduction of over 200 girls by Boko Haram in 2014. He also discusses the logistics of the Nigerian Safe Schools programme, and the many instances where children of Boko Haram members are in the same classrooms as other children.

Finally, Sylvia discusses her own experience of being forced out of education and pressured into early marriage, and how her own background and struggles led her to campaign and fight for girls to stay in education.

Dec 1, 2017

In this interview special Sarah Brown talks to CEO of International Alert Harriet Lamb about peacebuilding, and her longstanding career working for Fairtrade International, The Fairtrade Foundation and International Alert.

Harriet Lamb became CEO of International Alert in November 2015, a not-for-profit organisation that works to enable people to find peaceful solutions to conflict, believing ‘peace is within our power.’ Harriet leads peacebuilding activities around the world, overseeing programme implementation, strategy, fundraising, advocacy and outreach.

Before working with International Alert, Harriet was CEO of Fairtrade International and Executive Director of the UK-based Fairtrade Foundation. Sarah first met Harriet when approached with the challenge to make 10 Downing Street completely Fairtrade, which was achieved in 2009.

Under Harriet's leadership, Fairtrade products in the UK went from £30 million in her first year, to $1.3 billion in 2011. Harriet was awarded an OBE in 2006 in recognition of her work in growing Fairtrade in the UK.

Now with International Alert, Harriet's focus is firmly on peacebuilding processes, the role communities play, how to protect development and how to avoid abuse of human rights.

Listen to Sarah talk with Harriet about her long career and dig deeper into the role of peacebuilding and how and where it can be effective.



Nov 24, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to Dr. Denis Mukwege, a doctor saving women’s lives in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Dr Mukwege is a modern-day hero and a truly remarkable man, with an unwavering dedication to the physical and mental health of women. Using his medical expertise, Dr. Mukwege has become a trusted witness to the physical consequences of gang rape. He has enduring courage for speaking up for change and working hour after hour, to operate and save the lives of women whose bodies and spirits are damaged.


This interview special focuses on Dr. Denis Mukwege’s career as a world renowned gynecological surgeon who founded the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, to help women who are victims of gang rape and other sexual violences. These acts are a widely used as a tool of war in DRC, and are increasing so much so that the women of the DRC are seeing the threat of sexual violence encroaching on their everyday lives. His global influence is growing such that he is the world's leading male advocate against sexual violence offering both practical and advocacy solutions.


Dr. Mukwege has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize no less than three times, yet remains modest and selflessly dedicated to his work and to the wider campaign to change what is happening to women in the DRC and other conflict zones. Listen to Dr. Mukwege talk about his life’s work at the Panzi Hospital and on the global stage.   

Nov 9, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to Harriet Lamb, Kirthi Jayakumar, Jakaya Kikwete with contributions from United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.


In one of his first speeches ten days into his role as the ninth UN Secretary General, António Guterres stated that the world was spending far more time and resources on responding to crises, rather than preventing them. He spoke of rebalancing the world's approach to peace and sustainability, and our responsibility to do more to prevent war and sustain peace.


In this episode we hear from inspiring guests, all who make peacebuilding their greatest priority. Listen as they discuss their different approaches to peacebuilding and explore how to apply these to today’s conflicts.


Harriet Lamb became CEO of International Alert in November 2015, having previously been CEO of Fairtrade International. International Alert enables people to find peaceful solutions to conflict, believing ‘peace is within our power.’


Jakaya Kikwete was the former President of Tanzania, who spent his years as President working to hold his diverse country of 120 tribes together and avoid conflict.

Kirthi Jayakumar is a women's rights activist, social entrepreneur, peace activist, artist, lawyer and writer. She founded The Red Elephant Foundation, an initiative built on storytelling, civilian peace-building and activism for gender equality. Kirthi focuses on gender equality with peacebuilding at the heart, believing one cannot exist without the other.

The Better Angels podcast with Sarah Brown will help you to transform your voice into meaningful action. Featuring stories from around the world about activism, campaigning, comedy, and youth action, Better Angels with Sarah Brown champions the activist spirit.


“This is not your average listen. You won’t want to miss it” - Elle Magazine.


“The theme of her show could hardly be more relevant at the moment.” - New Statesman

Oct 23, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to Lord Cashman CBE, a social campaigner dedicated to tackling poverty and social injustice. Throughout his life, Michael Cashman has championed LGBT issues and been at the centre of unfolding changes in legislation and social acceptance for LGBT people in Britain, as well as actively campaigning internationally.

This episode explores the history of the LGBT movement over the last 50 years and Michael’s involvement in the many parts of this complex movement, and how its elements came together to achieve the change and equal rights it sought for LGBT people.

As co-founder and the first chairman of Stonewall, a campaigning charity for LGBT rights, his approach has been to engage in the political process, by discussing and negotiating.

Michael is also an actor and will forever be remembered for the first UK gay screen kiss back in 1989, on British TV series EastEnders. He’s also had a distinguished political career as an elected member of the European parliament, and continues his political activities today as a member of the House of Lords.

Despite changes in laws, a shift in people’s attitudes towards the LGBT community did not change. Listen to Michael explain how a real movement came following the cruelty and ignorance of the reaction to HIV and AIDS pandemic, and Section 28 which sought to prevent the promotion of homosexuality or even the acceptance of LGBT relations.

Oct 16, 2017

Sarah Brown speaks to Lord Alf Dubs, Gulwali Passarlay, Melissa Fleming and David Morrissey about the representation of refugees. Millions of words have been spoken and written about refugees but how many of these have been positive? This episode is about the survivors, battlers and new pioneers and explores why refugees are so often feared rather than celebrated.

Sarah and guests explore the courage and humanity of the individuals behind the headlines. The families forced to pack up and flee danger at a moment’s notice. Those making a new life for their family in a strange place whilst caring passionately about their homeland. Those taking on any work to bring in an income and making safety and education for their children the greatest priority.

Lord Alf Dubs is a Member of the House of Lords in the UK and in 2016 sponsored an amendment to the Immigration Act to offer unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain amidst the European migrant crisis. Gulwali Passarlay is an Afghan refugee currently residing in the UK, he is an activist for refugee rights and author of The Lightless Sky where he tells his own story of being forced to leave Afghanistan at the age of twelve. Melissa Fleming is Chief Spokesperson at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and author of "A Hope More Powerful than the Sea", the story of Doaa, a girl from Syria, who in 2015 crammed onto a fishing boat setting sail for Europe. Melissa's book is being made into a film produced by Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams. David Morrissey is an actor, director and producer and Ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency, and using his high profile for good by supporting refugees and other marginalised communities.

Oct 9, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to youth activists and artists including Amrit Kaur Lohia and Benedict Joson, the 'super connector' Marc Adelman, and Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant anthology. . It is a worrying time to be young, eager and progressive, but what do we learn from Millennials about the future of campaigning and where can we find hope for moving forwards?

There is often much comment and even criticism of the Millennial generation, but there is much to learn from the energy of a vibrant and courageous generation connecting together through the arts, social media and activism.

Oct 2, 2017

In this episode Sarah talks to the uncompromising campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has just marked his 50th anniversary of being in the front line of tackling human rights abuses and challenging the status quo in the interests of equality. He's been prominent in British public life, fighting for LGBT rights and is well known around the world for his unflinching position in defending LGBT people. He also supports indigenous groups of people suffering unfairness in marginalised territories. Peter has been known to put his own health and safety at risk to further these cases. Listen to what inspires him to act, the lessons learned on his campaigning journey and how it has taken him from speaking out for the rights of people to becoming a voice for the planet.

As he says, 'The price of freedom is eternal vigilance'  

Sep 26, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to Lord Michael Cashman CBE, Peter Tatchell and Julian Clary.

There can be no talk of activism without acknowledgement and admiration of the LGBT movement and its many heroes. 50 years on from the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK this episode explores what can be learnt from the struggles, determination and strategies of LGBT campaigns in the UK where many calls for changes have been achieved, from rights to pensions to spousal protection, despite constant stigma and discrimination.

This episode is packed full of lessons and ideas for activists who imagine a better world and want to do something about it.

Sep 19, 2017

The Better Angels podcast with Sarah Brown will help you to transform your voice into meaningful action. 

Featuring stories from globally renowned activists, campaigners, comedians, youth and world leaders,, Better Angels with Sarah Brown champions the activist spirit.

This is not your average listen. You won’t want to miss it” Elle Magazine.

The theme of her show could hardly be more relevant at the moment.” New Statesman

Sep 18, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to American activists and campaigners Jamira Burley, Michael Gibbons and Michael Silberman.

The USA has a distinguished history of extraordinary campaigns for change, including the anti-war demonstrations, civil rights movements and LGBTI rights campaigns, women's and black power movements right up to the present day. The women's march and Black Lives Matter movement have sent powerful messages to the highest levels and show clearly how much more we have learn and to do. This episode explores Campaigning – USA style with interviews with youth activist Jamira Burley, veteran rights and education campaigner Michael Gibbons and Mobilisation Lab founder Michael Silberman. There they discuss with Sarah Brown how strategy innovation, skill-sharing, and thought leadership are moulding the entire social change field today.

Apr 7, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to British Comedian Nish Kumar about the anger he felt at racist abuse directed at him in his first gig after the UK's Brexit result and how he channeled this fury and frustration into his current stand up tour 'Actions speak louder than words, even when you shout the words real loud'. 

As Nish Kumar's profile as a comedian has continued to grow, more recently his voice has been heard ever louder in public discussions on politics and race in the aftermath of the UK's Brexit vote. Nish has spoken about the racist abuse he received following the UK's decision to leave the EU, and the way in which the hostility he has experienced recently, contrasts to his experiences growing up in the 1990s in a British-Indian family. In this interview special, Sarah Brown talks to Nish about his childhood and adult experiences, and the ways in which he is pushing back to tackle head on racist attitudes in the UK and unlock his own activism. 



Mar 31, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children UK, a leading international NGO working to eradicate poverty around the world.

Here is an opportunity to hear an in-depth, unvarnished insider's account of working within the international development system and leading one of the best known and highly regarded global children's charities. Kevin Watkins is a dedicated and experienced humanitarian, combining intellectual power and the practical will needed to create change. In this interview special, Kevin Watkins provides a unique insight into the challenges and the opportunities at leading NGO, Save the Children UK. 

Mar 23, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to New York Times columnist and author Nick Kristof, former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, British comedian Nish Kumar and Dutch Anti-Trafficking campaigner Toos Heemskerk-Schep.

This episode explores the ways in which we can create change. Whether this be through leading, observing and reporting, working at a grassroots level or just shouting very loudly to make your voice heard; all of these activities have their place in championing change and shifting the status quo or addressing a wrong. Whatever the starting point, the end goal or means of shaking things up, everyone interviewed is passionate about their cause. 


Mar 17, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to LGBT super-activist David Mixner, Christy Turlington Burns, Kevin Watkins and Shazia Ramzan. 

This episode explores what makes a great campaigner. How can we take action to make a difference? How can we speak up to right a wrong? Activism and campaigning takes place across all different causes and take many different forms. Whether the cause is education, health, human rights, climate change, or simply campaigning for a new road crossing in your neighbourhood, the first step is often joining or starting a campaign to speak up, to put on pressure and to take action. In this episode, Sarah Brown explores what makes a great campaigner by talking to people who have made a huge impact for their personal causes and passions. 

Sarah Brown talks to civil rights activist, prominent LGBT campaigner and best-selling author David Mixner, supermodel and maternal health campaigner, Christy Turlington Burns, CEO of Save The Children UK and leading international development thinker, Kevin Watkins, and young education campaigner and Global Youth Ambassador Shazia Ramzan, who was also attacked in the shooting of Malala Yousafzai on their school bus in Pakistan in 2012. 


Mar 9, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to Kathy Lette, Leslie Caron, Emma Barnett, Gemma Cairney, June Sarpong, DJ Cuppy, Manal Abazeed of the White Helmets and a host of successful and fascinating women eager to rewrite the code for all girls and women at an event held on 7th March 2017 ahead of International Women’s Day. Join in by listening to this episode of Better Angels, be inspired by their actions and find out how to join in the challenge of #RewritingTheCode for gender equality.

This episode looks at those embedded values that are with a girl even before she is born, all the values that surround who she is, what she gets to believe she can be, what the opportunities are that come her way, the doors that are open for her, the support that she gets.

While strides have been made in equal opportunities for girls and women, there’s an unwritten code that holds still many girls back at an early age pretty much everywhere in the world. The advent of new technology, changes to the workplace and global political climate, instead of helping, could turn back the clock on progress. This is the episode that sets out to reverse this!

Featured in this unique episode is award winning actress and dancer, Leslie Caron, journalist and broadcaster, Emma Barnett, television presenter, June Sarpong, bestselling author, Kathy Lette, radio presenter and former fashion stylist, Gemma Cairney, co-founder of the Stemettes, Anne-Marie Imafidon, television producer, Kate Harwood, Director General of the Institute of Directors, Stephen Martin, Khaleda Yesmin of Theirworld, Vice President of Intel Corporate Affairs & President of Intel Foundation, Rosalind Hudnell, DJ and Producer, DJ Cuppy, former Captain of Afghanistan’s national football team and founder of Girl Up, Khalida Popal, Member of Parliament in the UK, Alison McGovern, and Manal Abazeed of the Syria Civil Defence (also known as White Helmets).

For more information about the #RewritingTheCode Campaign go to

Mar 3, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to Laura Bates, British feminist writer and Founder of the Everyday Sexism Project. At the age of 25, Laura found herself the unexpected figure-head of a rapidly growing movement, and rose to the challenge admirably. 

Founded in 2012, the Everyday Sexism Project website is a forum for women and girls to post their own personal experiences of sexism. As the number of women posting on the website rose into the thousands, Laura took it upon herself to respond by mastering the statistics on gender inequality and violence against women, and publishing and speaking publicly on the issues. Laura's book, Everyday Sexism, was published in 2014. Through her writing and public speaking, Laura continues to emphasise the point that whatever progress has been made in feminism, there remains a wealth of unfairness and overt-sexism still to be addressed. 



Feb 24, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to Sir Patrick Stewart, OBE, the world-renowned English Actor, whose career spans The Royal Shakespeare Company, TV dramas, and the much loved roles of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek films and professor Charles Xavier in X-Men. 

In this interview special, Sir Patrick Stewart speaks openly about finding his love of acting and theatre, how he trains and looks after his iconic voice, and how he uses his voice to speak up for the causes about which he is passionate. Sir Patrick is vocal in his support for various social issues including progressive politics for fairness and social justice, addressing domestic violence with the charity Refuge, and being a powerful advocate for a better understanding of the mental health issues faced by our war veterans. 




Feb 16, 2017

Sarah Brown chats to Nadine Labaki, Steve Nguyen, Nick Sharrat and young activists from Mobaderoon in Syria.

This episode explores the relationship between creativity and activism, and how we can learn from both to best express our personal concerns externally. Writers, artists and musicians  have been the creative force behind world changing campaigns for many years. Creative ideas can inspire, change, enhance communication and express solidarity, from music, art, storytelling, illustration, drama, the spoken and written word and more. At its best creativity can move people to believe something, care and decide not to act. 

Sarah Brown talks to Lebanese actress and director Nadine Labaki, renowned film and animation director, writer and producer Steve Nguyen, award-winning illustrator and author Nick Sharrat and young activists from civil society group Mobaderoon from Syria. 

Feb 10, 2017

How do you actually make big change happen? In this episode, Sarah Brown explores the challenge of how to educate Syrian children who have been forced to flee their homes and schools due to the ongoing war. What are all the elements involved in getting hundreds of thousands of Syrian back to school and learning?

The episode focuses on education but has wider lessons about how big problems can be solved, even in the face of overwhelming crisis. This is an example of how campaigns create change, and what can be achieved when leaders and activists come together.

Sarah Brown talks to Elias Bou Saab, former Minister of Education in Lebanon, Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister, now Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Dr Justin van Fleet, Director of the Commission for Financing Education Opportunity and chief adviser for Theirworld, Weded Antawi, a Palestinian computer science student campaigning for global education and Nour, 14 year old Syrian schoolgirl.

Feb 5, 2017

Sarah Brown talks to Ed Balls, former politician and UK government minister, economist, author, lecturer and surprise star of UK prime time television show Strictly Come Dancing! In this Interview Special Ed Balls speaks openly about finding his voice, literally, as he suffers from a lifelong interiorised stammer. As a high profile politician Ed Balls had to give big speeches and live interviews and he explains his own pathway to diagnosing and living positively with his stammer and finding ways to speak out

Feb 3, 2017

Sarah Brown chats to Sir Patrick Stewart, Ed Balls, Christy Turlington Burns, and Laura Bates, who share their personal experiences of mastering the challenges of public speaking and their activist voice. The programme investigates how to find the confidence, courage and skills to speak out on an issue you care passionately about. 

Featuring world renowned actor Sir Patrick Stewart, super-model and maternal health campaigner Christy Turlington Burns, politician, economist and dancer Ed Balls, and feminist writer and Everyday Sexism Project founder, Laura Bates. 

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