The CSS Blog Network

Justice and Hope for Afghanistan?

Lone girl in Afghanistan, photo: Papyrrari/flickr

Lone girl in Afghanistan, photo: Papyrrari/flickr

As the world anticipates Obama’s long-awaited strategy review for Afghanistan, the debate around the war intensifies with politicians, experts and laymen weighing in on the desired course of Afghan policy.

A war that has lasted eight years, and that costs the US $3.6 billion a month, has become a source of intense historical and strategic debates about the nature of conflict in South Asia, the region’s geopolitical significance, and the role of US power in the modern era. With America’s Vietnam legacy in mind the pressure to deliver something positive is immense.

But in these debates about strategy- how to quell the Taliban insurgency; how to address the region as a whole, particularly with Pakistan’s shortcomings in mind, and how to strengthen the Afghan government without giving Karzai carte blanche, etc – the humanitarian focus is exactly what seems to be missing.

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Conference Marathon: Follow Up

Mujahiden/Photo: Erwin Lux/Wikipedia

Mujahiden/Photo: Erwin Lux/Wikipedia

As I told you in my last blog post, last week I went to two conferences in Switzerland: swisspeace and UNO-Academia.

The swisspeace conference focused non-state actors and featured brilliant speakers with first-hand experience with the topic. We listened to a former IRA fighter and various academics that had conducted dialogue between non-state armed groups (NSAG) and governmental forces.
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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.

Conference Marathon

Swisspeace Annual Conference

Swisspeace Annual Conference

On Tuesday, 3 November I will attend the Swisspeace Annual Conference. The topic is “Rebels with a Cause? Understanding and Dealing with Non-State Armed Groups During and After Violent Conflicts.”

The Swiss NGO has invited some high-level speakers that have field experience in negotiation with non-state actors, such as the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, and our partner Small Arms Survey. For more information on non-state actors, you can check the ISN keyword on our website that contains a lot of publications.

Then on the following Thursday, I will attend the annual conference of UNO-Academia on “Collective Security and Maintenance of International Peace and Security: What are the Stakes?”. UNO-Academia is a network between all the Swiss universities that gathers research on UN-related topics.

According to the program, academics will be joined by policymakers to develop a comprehensive approach on the above mentioned question. For a short summary of the concept of “Collective Security”, you can check out this story from ISN Security Watch partner World Affairs Journal by Peter Beinart. The conference will be preceded by a roundtable discussion in which I have been invited to speak:  “Youth Meets the United Nations: Which Role for Youth in the United Nations?”.

Of course, I’ll update you next week with the outcomes of these conferences. If it happens that you are also taking part in the same conferences, it would be a pleasure to meet you there.

Risk Communication in Security Policy

CSS Analysis no 62

CSS Analysis no 62

Researchers from the ISN-supported expert community on crisis and risk have just published a new policy paper.

According to Myriam Dunn Cavelty and Jonas Hagmann, the concept of risk communication has so far been applied almost exclusively in the context of technical and environmental risks.

They show how the concept can be useful for foreign and security policy, too.

You can download the paper here.

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