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Global Security and International Affairs

The Initiative on Global Security and International Affairs draws on the expertise of policy-makers, practitioners, and scholars to foster new knowledge and to develop policy recommendations that will guide the United States and the international community in a changing geopolitical landscape. The main goal of our work is to broaden the focus of conversations about international security from narrow states’ interests toward a more humanistic and cosmopolitan understanding of peace and security. To achieve this goal, our projects engage with pressing moral and ethical questions that underpin current global issues and the international landscape at present.

Activities

Responsibility to Protect Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict Zones
From November 30 – December 1, 2016, the Academy will host a meeting in London to discuss the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflict zones. Museum curators, human rights lawyers, and political theorists will join representatives from defense and international security organizations to determine if an international humanitarian norm, comparable to the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine for humanitarian intervention, can be crafted for the protection of cultural heritage. Codes of modern military ethics have always stipulated that cultural patrimony receive special protection during armed conflict. Initially, the justification was that cultural patrimony is a global common good, and thus its destruction is an attack on all human beings. More recently, perpetrators of genocide have begun to use the destruction of cultural heritage as a means to obliterate the collective memory of their victims. In consequence, attacks on heritage have become more brutal. For example, in Syria during the summer of 2015, the keeper of Palmyra’s cultural artifacts was executed while protecting the Greco-Roman, Arab, and Aramaic ruins of Palmyra’s three-thousand-year-old cosmopolitanism history. Given the viciousness of the attacks enacted through the destruction of heritage, the Academy’s meeting in London will explore opportunities to develop a norm to prevent such atrocities.

The Role of Ethics In International Affairs –
Conference at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center

On February 22-26, 2016 we hosted a meeting to discuss the role of ethics in international affairs at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy. The meeting featured scholars and policy-makers from 14 nationalities and a wide range of disciplines including medicine, anthropology, sociology, international relations, economics and law. Participants included Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food; Shaden Khallaf, Senior Policy Officer, Office of the Director, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Middle East North Africa Bureau; Jennifer Welsh, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General for the Responsibility to Protect; Stephen Krasner, former Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State; and Karim Haggag, Deputy Director, Academy of Diplomatic Studies, Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Sovereignty as Liability: When Weak States Threaten Global Security
The limitations of existing approaches to dealing with weak or collapsed states suggest that new ideas and policy tactics are needed, and the growing disorder in the Middle East and parts of the African continent suggest that the need is immediate. The Academy hosted an exploratory meeting in Cambridge on August 3, 2015, to analyze security threats emanating from such states and to consider appropriate policy responses. The aim of the meeting was to share perspectives, identify gaps in the academic debates and in policy assumptions, and consider the role of the Academy in this work moving forward. The meeting helped to develop a new Academy project on Civil Wars, Violence, and International Responses.

State Collapse: Threats and Policy Responses
Following the August 3, 2015, meeting on “Sovereignty as Liability: When Weak States Threaten Global Security,” the Academy convened a second exploratory meeting at Stanford University on December 4, 2015 to further develop the framework for a long-term Academy project on state collapse, instability, and conflict. The meeting addressed the scope of state weakening and collapse; the specific types of threats that emanate from such states; the role of Islamic militant ideology in these challenges; and the policy options available to the United States working together or in concert with its allies, partners, and other major regional powers and international organizations to deal with such threats. These meetings have helped to shape the Academy’s new project on Civil Wars, Violence, and International Responses.

Explore Our Projects in Global Security and International Affairs

You can review the Academy’s projects from the 1950s through today.
For a full listing, visit our project page.

Projects

Understanding the
New Nuclear Age

Bringing together the challenges presented by trends in relationships among nuclear-weapons states and technological changes to consider how the nuclear order is evolving and how to guide these trends in a safer direction.

The Global Nuclear Future

Bringing together scholars, industry leaders, and government officials for candid discussions about how to minimize the security and proliferation concerns associated with the spread of nuclear energy.

New Dilemmas in Ethics, Technology, and War

Exploring the intricate linkage between the advancement of military technology and the moral and ethical considerations of the deployment of such capabilities in war and in postwar settings

Civil Wars, Violence, and International Responses

Drawing on the Academy’s convening power across disciplines, this project seeks to contribute to current policy-making work and to contextualize current trends by building a larger conceptual understanding of the threats posed by the collapse of state authority associated with civil wars.

Committee on International Security Studies

CISS oversees projects that investigate how social, economic, environmental, and technological transformations affect the prospects for peace and human well-being.