ETH Zurich recently hosted Block III of the Center for Security Studies’ (CSS) Master of Advanced Studies program in Security Policy and Crisis Management (SPCM). Between April 9 and 18, experts and scholars from around Europe gathered in Zurich to discuss how a host of “New Risks” are shaping security policies and responses. The ISN took the opportunity to speak to some of the lecturers to gauge their opinion on how these “New Risks” will impact upon the study of security in the not-too-distant future.
The Study of Terrorism
As terrorism studies continue to grow, Professor Peter Neumann of King’s College London gives his perspective on the future of terrorism research:
LONDON – As many high-income economies continue to flounder, many regard Brazil, China, India, Russia, and smaller emerging-market countries as the best hope for short-term global recovery. Cautious optimism seems justified if emerging markets can weather the impact of shrinking demand for their exports, and sustain their recent records of prudent macro-economic management. But, unless constraints to longer-term growth are addressed soon, the emerging markets’ rise to prosperity and global influence will be short-lived.
The main constraints include environmental degradation, economic deprivation, social inequality, ineffective public-sector management, and weak corporate governance. None of these challenges can be overcome without a massive increase in the number of competent and motivated leaders and professionals. But that requires reforming and expanding access to post-secondary education.
The intersection between economics and security is large and growing. Fighting wars and fulfilling security objectives has always had economic implications — in far more than just blood and treasure — and economic developments are having ever more rapid and dramatic consequences for traditional and emerging conceptions of security. This syllabus will help keep you up to date.
Almost anyone involved in large-scale education and training activities has accepted e-Learning as an established method and technology. What started with early experiments by financially powerful large enterprises and armed forces almost twenty years ago, has become available and affordable to almost any organization today.
Open-source solutions for learning management systems and the authoring of content, as well as low-cost hosted solutions, allow for the minimizing of technology investments to about zero. And based on the experiences of early adopters, the dos and dont’s, as well as successful e-Learning scenarios are widely known.
As a result, e-Learning has found its way into most educational organizations, including many committed to education in the defense and security policy sector. Everything fine and dandy then? Well, almost …
Contrary to basic language and computer training for the broader market (of professionals in general), there is hardly any off-the-shelf online-content available for more specific educational topics related to defense and security. As a result, content in this area is usually produced by educational institutes from scratch, requiring close cooperation between subject matter experts, instructional designers and multimedia specialists. It also requires a lot of time and money.
Despite this, there is more and more content being developed in support of peace and stability worldwide, often supported by funding from various sources. Although most of this content serves its key audience and goals, the return-on-investment for production, as well as the overall effect of educational campaigns might often be improved significantly: The key lies in expanding the target audience.
A UNICEF report titled “The Children Left Behind”, to be released today, examines the level of inequality in the education, well-being and health of children in the world’s richest countries. The countries with the least inequality were the usual lot: Iceland, Finland, the Netherlands and Norway.
While Finland, for example, tops the list in terms of having the most equal education system, it fares less well on the health front. Despite free and healthy school meals, Finnish media decried, Finnish children are still not eating enough vegetables and fruit. Switzerland, somewhat unsurprisingly, tops the list as the country with the highest level of material well-being for kids. While Canadian authorities and media reacted with shock at how badly off Canadian children are in terms of material well-being and health, the US ranks even far below its northern neighbor (near the bottom of 24 OECD countries under scrutiny). This should ruffle some feathers in the US and show how vulnerable children in particular are to societal inequality. Sadly, given the intensely polarized political environment, this important report is likely to get buried under a myriad of apparently much more urgent policy concerns.
Yet, the US, like any other wealthy nation not only owes its children a good standard of living from a moral standpoint, but also has to provide it in order to compete in tomorrow’s increasingly crowded knowledge economy in which a pool of healthy, smart and motivated young people is a prerequisite for success. Inequality, ill-health and resentment will hamper growth and make countries less dynamic and less competitive, regardless of their relative ranking in the world today.