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

Nov 5, 2018
In this Better Angels interview special guest host Tom Fletcher speaks to former UK Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown and Director of the Education Commission Liesbet Steer about the new International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd).
IFFEd has been proposed to generate the huge sums needed for countries to ensure all their young citizens can go to school and receive a quality education. The facility was announced earlier this year by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres with the support of the Word Bank President, and in this Better Angels interview special Tom talks to the key people behind the facility to explain the overall vision and how it will really work.
Oct 29, 2018

In this Better Angels interview special guest host Tom Fletcher speaks with British politician and diplomat Baroness Valerie Amos, who served as the Leader of the House of Lords, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Secretary of State and Emergency Relief Coordinator and British High Commissioner to Australia.

Valerie also served as Secretary of State for International Development and in doing so became the first black woman to sit in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. Today Valerie is the Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, becoming the first black woman to lead a university in the United Kingdom.

Valerie’s extraordinary career has seen her break ground many times and take on great challenges with enormous composure, leaving a track record of solid achievement in her wake.  

In this interview special, Valerie shares her perspective and private thoughts on the barriers she’s crossed and the experiences of her professional life.

Oct 23, 2018

Throughout the series we’ve heard from world leaders, teachers, tech entrepreneurs, CEOs and Prime Ministers from around the world about what the future of learning looks like, and what skills people will need in the future.

The final episode explores the how...if we can see what change is needed, why is it so hard? Three gurus on social media and campaigning give their answers on how to make change happen in the Digital Age. And a philanthropist and former Prime Minister explain the practical ways they are changing education.

Tom speaks with co-founder and CEO of Purpose Jeremy Heimans, author and entrepreneur Jonah Sachs, founder of Beautiful Destinations Jeremy Jauncey, Founder of People’s Postcode Lottery Annemiek Hoogenboom and former UK Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown.

Thank you to Tom Fletcher and all the Better Angels he spoke with along the journey to make this special series, we hope you have learnt something valuable and continue to champion your activist spirit!

Oct 17, 2018

The fourth episode of Learning in the Digital Age: A Better Angels special with Tom Fletcher continues to explore jobs of the future and the skills people will need for these, such as creativity, problem solving and the tasks humans can do better than the robots.

Tom speaks to British Labour politician Cathy Ashton, Emirati politician and President of Zayed University Sheikha Lubna, 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner Andria Zafirako and former UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.

Oct 10, 2018

The third episode of Learning in the Digital Age: A Better Angels special with Tom Fletcher explores the importance of connectivity and creativity in the Digital Age and asks what are the most important skills to gain for the jobs of the future?

Tom speaks to former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, co-founder of Technology Will Save Us Daniel Hirschman, neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart and British tech entrepreneur Tabitha Goldstaub.

Oct 3, 2018

The second episode of Learning in the Digital Age: A Better Angels special with Tom Fletcher moves from head to heart as Tom looks at what character we will need to thrive in the future.

Hear Tom speak to a range of guests about what characters we need to thrive in the Digital Age, from resilience, to courage and emotional development.

You’ll hear from retired British Army officer Sir Graeme Lamb, Lebanese sportsman, mountaineer and explorer Maxime Chaya and British communications specialist, formerly Britain's youngest former Ambassador Julie Chappell. Tom asks the question: Can we learn to be kind, curious and brave?

Sep 19, 2018

Better Angels guest host Tom Fletcher speaks to founder and Country Director Great Britain and Germany of People’s Postcode Lottery, Annemiek Hoogenboom.


A political science graduate, Annemiek started her career as a university lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, before moving to Sudan to set up a new communications faculty at Ahfad University in Omdurman.


As part of Tom's special series on Learning in the Digital Age, listen to Tom speak with Annemiek about how private sector is making a real difference on the ground for the global education crisis, sometimes ahead of NGOs and government.


Annemiek discusses with Tom how her personal experiences in Sudan shaped her passion for education, a passion which now shapes the work of the People’s Postcode Lottery, one of the largest donors in the world finding solutions to the global education crisis.


Sep 10, 2018

This special series of Sarah Brown’s Better Angels podcast follows Tom Fletcher, diplomat and global education campaigner, as he travels from the Beqaa Valley to Silicon Valley to find out how we can learn the right things in the right way to thrive in the Digital Age. Tom asks everyone - from Prime Ministers to tech CEOs to movie stars and a classroom of 12-year olds - about the key lessons that made them who they are, what future generations need to take humanity forward, and how to unleash this opportunity?

Episode one of the series explores the overarching question: What should future generations learn in order to thrive in the Digital Age?

Speaking with President of Theirworld Sarah Brown, political economist and Principal of Hertford College, University of Oxford Will Hutton, former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Rev. Prof. Fadi Daou, entrepreneur and journalist Emma Sinclair and Chief Executive of the British Library Roly Keating, Tom explores  what is at the core of a good education with these entrepreneurs, politicians and thinkers.

Aug 15, 2018

In this interview special, host Sarah Brown speaks with campaigner and investigative journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown, whose campaign to protect the precious Borneo rainforest ended with the disgrace and fall of the Malaysian Prime Minister. 

Clare, who has been banned from travelling to Malaysia and once battled an attempt to place her on Interpol's most wanted list, speaks to Sarah Brown about her relentless fight against the wrongdoings of Malaysia's political elite to save Borneo's rainforests. 

Clare's incredible investigation, which delved into the deforestation of Borneo, the corruption behind it and the effects on the indigenous community, is discussed in detail in this episode of Better Angels.


May 16, 2018

In this powerful interview special host Sarah Brown talks to Jessica Morris, a campaigner and change maker who channeled her skills and career as a highflying communications executive to become a fearless campaigner to tackle a challenge that was threatening her own life; a rare form of brain cancer called glioblastoma.

May is Brain Tumour Awareness Month in the United States, and there is much to talk and learn about brain cancer. Just last week, hundreds of brain cancer advocates rallied at Capitol Hill to push for more funding for medical research and acceleration of drug discovery, and development.  

Glioblastoma has taken the life of several well-known people, including Senator Ted Kennedy, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Beau Biden and most recently Dame Tessa Jowell.

Since Jessica’s diagnosis, she has channeled her energy into ways to accelerate progress against brain cancer. Alongside a medical team and a community of others living with brain cancer, Jessica founded OurBrainBank -

Listen to this emotive episode that explores Jessica’s journey since diagnosis and her optimism throughout the journey.  

Please be advised this episode comes with a language warning. 

Apr 30, 2018

In this episode of Better Angels with Sarah Brown, we hear from high profile leaders live from Washington DC during the World Bank Spring Meetings. These leaders came together at a breakfast hosted by The Global Business Coalition for Education, to focus on the need for innovative thinking around education delivery, and why it is so important for business, government and civil society to all work together on this cause.

Speakers include CEO of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva and Adviser to The Global Business Coalition for Education Professor Tom Fletcher. A panel discussion follows with speakers including UNHCR’s Filippo Grandi, Norway’s Minister for Development Nikolai Astrup, Denmark's Minister for Development and Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs and Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, African Union, Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor

Contributors to the episode discuss issue around the skills young people need for the jobs of the future and how innovation can help deliver a thorough education to everyone.

Apr 25, 2018

Sarah Brown joins award-winning magician Dynamo and champions of global education for a live podcast from the UN-EU Syria Summit in Brussels.

In this episode of Better Angels, Sarah Brown chairs a Q&A with Theirworld Ambassador Magician Impossible Dynamo, who went to Brussels as part of their #YouPromised campaign, to showcase his film '72 Hours,' which calls on world leaders to keep their promise to get all Syrian refugee children into education. 
You will also hear from Christos Stylianides, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Jean-Louis De Brouwer, Director of Operations in the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department and Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW) - a global fund to transform the delivery of education in emergencies.
This episode was recorded by the EC Audiovisual Service and the copyright for the content is held by the European Union, 2018. You can find the full content, including video here:

Copy-write © European Union , 2018 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart.

Apr 6, 2018

In this Better Angels special, Sarah Brown introduces Theirworld ambassador, comedian, writer, producer and activist Sandi Toksvig.

Sandi is a mighty moral force championing human rights, passionate about LGBTQI equality and determined to put gender equality at the forefront of her campaigning and professional life.

Between presenting TV and radio and writing books and plays, Sandi generously gives her time to charities and their events. Most recently becoming involved in politics, as the co-founder of Women’s Equality Party in the UK.

Sandi was invited by the Adam Smith Global Foundation to give the 2018 Adam Smith Lecture in Fife, Scotland and Theirworld President Sarah Brown attended to hear Sandi’s informative, thought provoking and entertaining lecture,

Listen to Sandi’s lecture on gender equality and why feminism makes economic sense.

The lecture takes you on a journey to discover why achieving gender equality holds up as a smart, progressive and fair way for society to operate.

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.

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