Talking Security in Zurich: ISF 2011 Starts Monday

Old warrior Hans Waldman watches over Zurich while security experts discuss the future of conflict. Photo: courtesy of Zurich Tourism/flickr

Zurich is famous for its bankers. But next week a different crowd will also populate the city: more than 400 academics, civil servants, military officials and journalists from dozens of countries are expected to gather at the Kongresshaus for the International Security Forum (ISF 2011, 30 May – 1 June). Ueli Maurer, Switzerland’s minister of defense, will open the conference on Monday.

The organizers of the ISF’s ninth edition, entitled “Regional and Global Security: Meeting Tomorrow’s Challenges Today”, have reacted to recent world events and dedicate the first plenary session on Monday to the revolts and revolutions in North Africa and on the Arabian Peninsula.

Will Egypt regain its natural role as the prominent regional leader? How would a change of regime in Syria affect the regional picture? Will the move towards more pluralistic political systems strengthen or weaken US influence? These are some of the questions that will be adressed by the keynote speakers John W Limbert (US Naval Academy), Volker Perthes (German Institute for International and Security Affairs, SWP), Yossi Alpher (bitterlemons publications) and Fawaz A Gerges (London School of Economics and Political Science).

Nuclear weapons, the migration-security nexus and public-private cooperation are on the agenda for Monday afternoon. The Forum will get more intimate on Tuesday: Invited participants will join one of several thematic tracks, ranging from “9/11 plus Ten” to “State Failure / State Building”.

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CSS News

CSS Analysis: Progress in Biotechnology as a Future Security Policy Challenge

The next frontier of security policy? photo: Krystian "Krane" Schneidewind/flickr

In the newest CSS Analysis, Progress in Biotechnology as a Future Security Policy Challenge, Sergio Bonin examines how biotechnological advances might impact security policy in the future.

He notes: “If the synthetic construction and modification of bacteria and viruses should become a reality, a broad range of useful applications in medicine, environmental protection, and other fields would be facilitated. At the same time, however, constructing biological weapons could become easier, and the necessary skills would be available to a larger spectrum of actors. It seems advisable to explore preventive countermeasures at an early stage.”

For more, check out our Digital Library resources on biotechnology.

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CSS News

New CSS Analyses: Post-Conflict Democratization and the Privatization of Security

Security for democracy- who provides it? photo: Isafmedia/flickr

Our colleagues at the CSS have published new CSS Analyses on two topics that will continue to hit the headlines in the coming months.

  • In Post-Conflict Democratization: Pitfalls of External Influence, the author, Judith Vorrath, addresses democratization as an important facet of post-conflict reconstruction and argues that despite ambivalent results thus far, democratization will remain an important component of peacebuilding. She calls for the optimization of democratization efforts in the following areas: the conscious handling of trade-offs, conceptual precision, and a dynamic conflict analysis.
  • In Privatising Security: The Limits of Military Outsourcing, the author, Ulrich Petersohn, asks how far the trend towards a more privatized security sector will be allowed to go and what effects this is likely to have on mission fulfilment in the future. He argues that decisions on outsourcing should ultimately be made flexibly in accordance with the security environment.
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CSS News

Unconventional Gas: Producer Pickle or Consumer Curse?

From the latest CSS Analysis in Security Policy:

Strategic Trends AnalysisGas producers have a problem. Demand is down and supply is up, largely thanks to breakthroughs in unconventional production across America. More output could potentially follow in Europe and Asia, threatening to turn the gas world on its head. But there is a catch: should this prove to be a false dawn for unconventional production either on cost or ecological grounds, then consumers are riding for a fall. Turning the screw on producers is easy in a lax market, but if fundamentals tighten, producers will assuredly take their vengeance.

Download “Unconventional Gas: Producer Pickle or Consumer Curse?” by CSS Researcher Matthew Hulbert from Strategic Trends Analysis (STA).

Recommended Reading: Handbook of Security Studies

Routledge Handbook of Security Studies
Routledge Handbook of Security Studies

Myriam Dunn Cavelty, Senior Researcher and Coordinator of the Crisis and Risk Network (CRN) and Victor Mauer, Deputy Director of the Center for Security Studies (CSS) recently published the Routledge Handbook of Security Studies.

Focusing on contemporary challenges, this major new Handbook offers a wide-ranging collection of cutting-edge essays from leading scholars in the field of security studies.

The field of security studies has undergone significant change during the past 20 years, and is now one of the most dynamic sub-disciplines within international relations. It encompasses issues ranging from pandemics and environmental degradation to more traditional concerns about direct violence, such as those posed by international terrorism and inter-state armed conflict. A comprehensive volume, comprising articles by both established and up-and-coming scholars, the Handbook of Security Studies identifies the key contemporary topics of research and debate today.

This work is a benchmark publication with major importance both for current research and the future of the field. It will be essential reading for all scholars and students of security studies, war and conflict studies, and international relations.

The Handbook can be purchased online.

For more information on international security check out the ISN website.

Myriam Dunn Cavelty and Victor Mauer (eds.) (2009), Handbook of Security Studies, London and New York: Routledge.