Ritula Shah

Journalist, Broadcaster, Speaker and Event Host

To book Ritula Shah for your event call 0203 773 1996 or book online


Ritula Shah

Ritula is renowned as one of the most recognisable voices on speech radio, a reputation she earned during her distinguished career at the BBC.

For the past 15 years, Ritula was the lead presenter of the news and current affairs programme The World Tonight, on Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. She is also a highly experienced panel chair, including on the BBC’s weekly panel debate Any Questions and The Real Story, and regularly leads major public debates for universities and think tanks on everything from foreign policy to AI and digital transformation. Indulging her lifelong passion for the arts, Ritula currently presents every weeknight on Classic FM.

Drawing on her decades of experience at the forefront of news coverage, Ritula applies a considered approach towards the stories of the day, offering illuminating insights for those who want to get beyond the headlines and understand why and how stories matter. Ritula has covered the biggest stories of the past three decades, from the break-up of the Soviet Union to Brexit. She has also reported from New York after the 9/11 attacks, discussed everything from the rise of populism and migration to cryptocurrencies and AI with senior politicians. And she has covered numerous elections world-wide.

Outside of broadcasting, Ritula sits on the advisory board of the Royal United Services Institute, the world’s oldest and the UK’s leading defence and security think tank. She is also a trustee of visual arts organisation INIVA, and an ambassador for the British Asian Trust.

Keynote topics include :

Geopolitics: A multipolar world, what next?

The age of the unipolar world - when the US had no significant rivals - is over. That brief span of around two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union and while China was rising, has given way to one in which China presents a formidable military, economic and technological challenge and Russia is dangerously unpredictable. Throw into that mix the financial muscle being exercised by countries in the Arab world, can a rules-based system survive and who gets to make and police them?

Reading the news: How to get behind and beyond the headlines and make sense of the world.

Most of the time we can’t even agree on the facts so what is the point of reading the news? When major events erupt at home or abroad, how do we try to understand them? From climate change to conflict, who or what do we believe? There’s plenty of evidence to indicate trust in news is falling and a significant section of the audience is actively avoiding it, either some of the time or all of it. Conspiracy theories and misinformation are corroding our open democratic societies. Ritula Shah makes the case for actively engaging with the news, for sifting facts from opinion and for trying to find the truth.

It’s not who you are, it’s who you become: breaking glass ceilings.

A short, brown woman who didn’t smoke: Ritula Shah was very much a minority when she started working in media and journalism at the end of the 1980s. Her parents weren’t graduates, she couldn’t ski and hadn’t had the benefit of a gap year. But after more than three decades at the BBC, she ended her career as the lead presenter of a prestigious daily radio news programme.

How do you gain acceptance when your face or class doesn’t obviously fit the culture of your industry? Why do so many of us suffer from imposter syndrome and how do you get over it? Personal growth can come from sharing success - Ritula Shah draws on her experience to chart a path for transformation. Accept who you are and focus on who you want to become.