ICGS Summer Course

Lake Geneva
A nice place for a break between classes, photo: Kev Allen/flickr

The International Centre for Geopolitical Studies is accepting applications for its 6th annual summer course, 12-17 July in Geneva. Students will be introduced to the basic concepts of geopolitical analysis and attend lectures by held by leading international experts. For more information on the course, including tuition and how to apply, check out the ICGS website.


The ISN Quiz: Challenging Education

We challenge you to test your knowledge about education worldwide, part of our theme this week: Challenging Education



ISN Weekly Theme: Challenging Education

Empty examination desks in Singapore, photo: Richard Lee/flickr

This week the ISN takes a closer look at education, society’s great equalizer. In today’s knowledge economies, education is receiving increasing attention, but are educational policies meeting the needs of our rapidly changing and highly heterogeneous societies? What does an appropriate and effective education in the 21st century even look like?

Our Special Report contains the following content:

  • An Analysis by Jayne Brady examines the tendency for educational systems to put too much emphasis on English-language learning and on the universality of some educational standards. She calls for more focus on the local capacities and needs of developing countries in particular.
  • A Podcast with Dr Alison Wolf questions some of our core beliefs about education, including the link between education and economic success and the relative efficiency of private and public educational provision.
  • Security Watch stories on Brazil’s comprehensive national strategy that includes an educational focus, and the struggle for girl’s education in Afghanistan.
  • Publications covering the EU-Central Asia Education Initiative, India’s skills deficit, the status of religious coexistence and education in Bosnia and Herzegovina and many more.
  • Primary Resources, including President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech, which emphasized the need to transform education to meet the needs of a new age.
  • Links to relevant websites, including Liz Coleman’s TED talk on the need for radical reform in higher education.
  • Our IR Directory with relevant organizations, including the Civic Education Project and the EG West Centre.
International Relations Security History Education

Celebrating 15 Years of Dedicated Service to the IR and Security Community

ISN AnniversaryThe year is 1992. The Cold War has ended and the tensions between East and West are starting to ease. In Zurich, a group of students and scholars, led by Professor Kurt Spillmann, developed a vision of how the internet could be used to support IR and security professionals.

Conscious of how the free flow of information could be used to support the world’s fledgling democracies, they set off to create an online information network that would bring together the best minds and the best ideas.

On both sides of the Iron Curtain, people were eager to learn from each other, whether through dialogue and collaboration, or by accessing each other’s libraries and archives. What better way to foster greater openness, transparency and knowledge sharing than by hosting their research findings and discussions on an open access research network for all to see?

In 1994, this network was officially launched as the “Defence and Security Network” (DefSecNet). A year later it was renamed as the “International Relations and Security Network” (ISN) in lieu of its rapidly growing areas of interest and expertise.

Sponsored and supported by the Swiss government, the ISN soon became the country’s official contribution to the newly established Partnership for Peace (PfP) initiative and a key enabler of dialogue and collaboration between scholars and policy professionals.

Looking back, the ISN’s history has mirrored the evolution of the global agenda. Since our launch, our dedicated staff of editors, researchers, developers and educators have created websites for Russian research institutes, developed search engines for NATO, established an extensive portfolio of news and information services, created e-Learning courses and technologies, and founded one of the largest online networks of IR and security policy professionals, all of whom are committed to our core principle of encouraging greater knowledge sharing and learning in our community. And these are just some of our achievements.

Today, the ISN is the world’s leading open access information service for international relations and security professionals. We are proud to celebrate 15 years of dedicated service to you.

Government Security Technology Education

210 Million Euros for Europe’s Security

Remarkable interest in the ISN at the 4th European Security Research Conference
Remarkable interest in the ISN at the 4th European Security Research Conference

Europe aims to be the world’s most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy. To this end, the EU set up different framework programs (FPs) to fund research in almost all scientific fields. The budget of the current program (FP7) amounts to the remarkable sum of EUR 1.4 billion – a bunch of golden pots attracting researchers and practitioners from all over Europe.

Those working on the ‘security research‘ theme are currently in Stockholm at the SR Conference hosted by the Swedish EU Presidency. The objective of the security theme is to develop technologies and knowledge to protect citizens from threats such as terrorism, natural disasters and crime while respecting their privacy and fundamental rights. In his opening speech Vice-President of the European Commission Günter Verheugen reminded the representatives of the industries such as Boeing, Saab, Thales or EADS as well as civil servants and academics that technology alone cannot do the job pointing to the political and ethical dimension of security research. “Our security must be based on our values,” he stated.

The annual conference is the meeting place for security stakeholders to debate Europe’s research agenda. EU representatives outline the Union’s priorities and expectations to those interested in conducting the research and implementing the results. They then take the opportunity to coordinate their efforts, fine tune their proposals and find new partners to work with.

As a long-standing network for IR professionals offering information on a wide range of security related issues, the ISN is of great interest to the conference attendees. Some require to learn about a specific topic such as energy security, others are interested in joining our partner network, want to write for us or simply learn more about our activities such as e-Learning.

There are also those who know us already. Their compliments are very reassuring of the work we do and motivating to keep up our high standards. “I learnt about you at last year’s conference and am now a big fan of your Security Watch service, ” one of the visitors said.