INTERNATIONAL festival Beyond Borders is set to return to Traquair House later this summer for the tenth time.

A range of Scottish and international writers, thinkers, diplomats and politicians will yet again grace the picturesque estate during the weekend of August 24 and 25.

Among the speakers taking part in this year’s Main Tent Programme are Staffan de Mistura, who gives a unique insight into what it’s like to be the United Nations Special Envoy to Syria.

Also appearing is Channel 4 international editor, Lindsey Hilsum, who will speak to the BBC’s Razia Iqbal about her biography of former Beyond Borders participant, Marie Colvin.

And historian Bettany Hughes will also explore peacemaking and reconciliation throughout history.

In other main stage events, author William Dalrymple talks to Moin Mir about his book on the Indian ruler who took on the East India Company.

Elsewhere, veteran American commentator Edward Jay Epstein explores the current situation in US politics with Vicky Ward and Jim Naughtie.

Closer to home, Allan Little will talk to Sir Tom Devine about the Scottish Clearances, while Rosemary Goring and Ruth Wishart take a look at the history of Scotland through the eyes of the country's women, and Professor Sir Hew Strachan will invite the audience to reflect on the nature of remembrance and commemoration.

At a national level, a panel including columnist and broadcaster Steve Richards will examine the current state of affairs in domestic politics with Magnus Linklater.

And the weekend will wrap up with a look back at ‘Ten Years that Shook the World’, with insights from a range of broadcasters, diplomats, writers, and artists from across the weekend’s programme.

The Festival also sees Beyond Borders Scotland deepen its collaboration with The New York Times with sessions on democracy in the digital age with Amanda Taub, and the multi-faceted impact of climate change, exploring Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Josh Haner’s stunning photographic exhibition, Carbon’s Casualties, which will hang outdoors in an unique exhibition in the Walled Garden of Traquair House throughout August.

Mark Muller Stuart, executive-director of Beyond Borders told us: ‘We are delighted to launch this year’s programme and celebrate the tenth anniversary of this important event with another stellar cast of speakers and performers from Scotland and across the globe.

"The Festival proves that the thirst for human debate and the desire to listen to the first-hand experiences and stories of others remains undiminished notwithstanding the rise of the digital age.

"What better place to do it than in the tranquil setting of Traquair in the Scottish Borders."

Throughout the weekend, there will be musical performances, including from local singer-songwriter Millie Hanlon-Cole and Ghanaian-born musician and The Voice participant, Emmanuel Smith-Tali, while renowned composer Nigel Osborne MBE leads another journey through the grounds of Traquair accompanied by Syrian oud, violin, cello, and gongs.

Throughout the weekend, the Walled Garden will be home to well-being activities including meditation, yoga, and cycle rides, as well as a story-telling walk with local storyteller Mary Kenny, and a foraging walk taking in the scenery of the new path between Innerleithen and Traquair House with Fi Martynoga.

Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair House, added: “We are looking forward to welcoming audiences to Traquair House, and to showcasing a wealth of local and international talent in a programme of visual and performing arts, music, film and food and drink in the surroundings of the Walled Garden."

Once again, the Festival also welcomes a range of female cultural leaders from across the Middle East and South Asia as part of the Women in Conflict 1325 Fellowship Programme, exploring the use of the arts as a peace-making tool.

Razia Iqbal, journalist and broadcaster, recommends Beyond Borders for a fix of culture and current affairs.

She said: "It’s intimate, it’s expansive, it’s joyful, and an engaging festival to be at.”

The full Beyond Borders Scotland Summer Events Programme and Box Office is now available online at

Weekend tickets, priced at £49, day passes at £26, Walled Garden only tickets at £12, and both walks and cycle ride passes, priced at £6, are now on sale.