Former South Shields MP, David Miliband, returns to the region later today to chair a lecture.
The politician set up the talks in 2001 and has continued them after he stood down as an MP.
The speaker this evening is playwright Alan Bennett.
The date of the by-election for David Miliband's old seat of South Shields was officially confirmed as May 2, after the former foreign secretary formally stepped down as an MP.
The by-election writ was moved shortly after Mr Miliband took up the post of Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead.
Mr Miliband was MP for South Shields from 2001 until his shock announcement last month that he was leaving Britain to head up the New York-based International Rescue Committee humanitarian organisation.
He held the seat with an all-but-unassailable margin of 11,109 in the 2010 general election.
Once touted as a future prime minister, he has not served on the Labour front bench since narrowly losing to brother Ed Miliband in the 2010 leadership contest.
Former foreign secretary David Miliband has formally stepped down as South Shields MP.
Mr Miliband was appointed as Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead - one of the traditional ways of resigning from the Commons.
Labour is expected to call the by-election for his safe South Shields seat on May 2, to coincide with local polls.
The by-election triggered by former foreign secretary David Miliband's departure from the Commons is set to be held on May 2.
Labour sources said Mr Miliband would formally vacate the South Shields seat on Monday, and the writ would then be moved for the contest.
Emma Lewell-Buck was selected as the party's candidate for the safe seat earlier this week.
A by-election to choose a new MP to replace David Miliband as the representative for South Shields could take place as early as Thursday May 2.
Mr Miliband is stepping down after 12 years representing the town.
Durham Miners tell me they are a "lot happier now the club have stopped dithering" over the Paolo Di Canio fascism issue and said someone from Sunderland will visit them tomorrow.
They said their banner, which they had demanded to be removed from the Stadium of Light, can stay put.
The club's links to the coal pits goes back to 1936 when the local miners' association sent men to fight against fascists in the Spanish civil war.
Sunderland's new manager Paolo Di Canio is believed to have attended the funeral of an Italian fascist linked to a terrorist bombing that killed 85 people.
Pictures appear to show the Italian paying his respects three years ago to Paolo Signorelli, who was jailed for eight years after the Bologna train station attack in 1980.
Signorelli was later acquitted on appeal due to insufficient evidence but was found guilty of being part of an "armed band" and a "subversion against democracy", The Sun reports.
He had been a member of the Italian Socialist Movement which emerged after the collapse of Benito Mussolini's Fascist party.
Di Canio released a statement today saying he is "not a racist" and does "not support the fascist ideology."
Sunderland's new manager Paolo Di Canio has taken his first training session at the club since his appointment on Wednesday.
The session happened before the Italian released a statement saying he was "not a racist" and did "not support the ideology of fascism."
Sunderland's new manager Paolo Di Canio has released a statement on the club's official website where he says "I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism."
I have clearly stated that I do not wish to speak about matters other than football, however, I have been deeply hurt by the attacks on the football club.
This is a historic, proud and ethical club and to read and hear some of the vicious and personal accusations is painful. I am an honest man, my values and principles come from my family and my upbringing.
I feel that I should not have to continually justify myself to people who do not understand this, however I will say one thing only - I am not the man that some people like to portray.
I am not political, I do not affiliate myself to any organisation, I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism. I respect everyone.
I am a football man and this and my family are my focus. Now I will speak only of football.