Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith | Renewing Compassion

March 05, 2011

Iain Duncan Smith


The system is broken.

After decades of modern welfare programmes failing to solve the problem of intergenerational poverty, we need to admit that the system is broken. Welfare, originally devised as a way to support the poorest and most vulnerable in society, is now too often trapping the poor in the very condition it was supposed to alleviate. Beneficiaries increasingly live with the consequences of a system that neither acknowledges their dignity nor allows them the scope to improve their own and their families’ lives.

The UK’s Iain Duncan Smith is challenging this broken system. Duncan Smith will share with us his vision for the future of welfare—a future in which dignity, hope and aspiration are open to all.



Iain Duncan Smith has been a member of the UK Parliament for 19 years. Whilst leader of the Conservative Party in 2002, he visited a woman in Glasgow whose son had died of a drug overdose just days earlier. He was deeply confronted by Britain’s social breakdown and committed his life’s work to doing what he can to mend his society.

In 2004 Duncan Smith established the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), an independent think tank committed to tackling poverty and social breakdown. He worked tirelessly as Director while continuing to serve as an MP, until 2010 when he was appointed to Cabinet as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He is now working to reform the welfare system, with the goal of restoring hope and improving the lives of the poorest people in Britain.

Watch his Lecture below:

Sir John Graham

Since 2008, the annual Sir John Graham has provided a unique opportunity to hear leading experts contribute to public debate in New Zealand.

Sir John Graham was an exemplary New Zealander who throughout his life displayed the consistency of character and care for others we hope for in the best of our leaders. Along with his well-known leadership roles as Captain of the All Blacks, Headmaster of Auckland Grammar, and Chancellor of the University of Auckland, Sir John inspired and led many organisations, including Maxim Institute.

Appropriately, he was recognised with a CBE in 1994 for his services to education and the community, and was further honoured when he was knighted in 2011. As a Founding Trustee of Maxim, Sir John Graham’s deep love for New Zealand, his passion for education, and concern for those on the margins of life remain at the heart of our work, and we are honoured to be able to hold this annual lecture in his name.

Click here to read the 2011 Sir John Graham Lecture & Q+A monograph.

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