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Global Security Transformations: Past, Present and Future Challenges

Annual Alumni & Security Policy Conference

Looking back on our 20th anniversary celebrations


Ivan Pictet Auditorium, Maison de la paix, Geneva

On Friday 29 and Saturday 30 May 2015, over 300 security policy experts gathered at the Maison de la paix to discuss some of the most pressing issues in international affairs and to celebrate 20 years of work by the GCSP.

The conference was kicked off with the opening address by Dr Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who focused on the importance of security in protecting humanitarian spaces. Dr Maurer highlighted the increasing trend towards using humanitarian action as an easy solution to conflict, which risks politicising humanitarianism. He instead encouraged engagement as a more positive and effective tool for conflict resolution.

"The notions of security have not stopped growing and changing throughout my career."

Dr Peter Maurer

Mr Jean-Marie Guehenno, President and CEO of the International Crisis Group (ICG), then followed with a statement address where he noted that we are living in both the best of times and the worst of times. He anticipated that the combination of weak state structures with new non-state forces could create geopolitical black swans.

"GCSP is a great institution that reflects the best of Geneva and Switzerland."

Jean-Marie Guéhenno

The conference then turned to three panel discussions with experts working in academia and on the ground, senior GCSP staff and prominent alumni who reflected on their time at GCSP and how it influenced them in their work. Topics covered in the discussions ranged from the spread of ISIS through the MENA region, to the importance of leadership, the role of the media in shaping the discussion and the effect of morality and cognitive enhancement on international security policy.

"We need to stop creating templates that are applied to all contexts."

Dr Funmi Olonisakin

Discussions from the first day carried on through the evening as participants had the chance to make new connections with speakers, GCSP staff and each other on an evening cruise around Lac Léman.

An award was given to International Training Course in Security Policy (ITC) alumnus, Lieutenant Colonel Flavien Lanet from the French Ministry of Defence, for his service and devotion to the Centre since graduating in May 2014.

The two days were concluded by words from GCSP’s expert, Dr Caty Clement, who spoke about broad shifts in the international security landscape and the critical challenges we face today.

Following the discussions, a number of participants joined a cultural tour where they explored the city of Geneva through an organised treasure hunt.

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