Blog PS21 Update

PS21 a Month In: Update from Executive Director Peter Apps

New_York_Midtown_Skyline_at_night_-_Jan_2006_edit1Peter Apps, PS21 executive director

It’s hard to believe given the sheer level of activity — as well as how much material we now have on the website — but as of this weekend the Project for Study of the 21st Century (PS21) has only been truly operational for a month.

In that time, we’ve run seven events in London and Washington DC — attended in total by well over 200 people. We’ve also begun publishing content in the form of our Middle East blog PS21 MIDEAST. We’ve also set the wheels in motion for yet more truly interesting content and research.

We have 50 global Fellows or international advisers around the world and will shortly be announcing more.

It’s a measure of our success that if one does a search for “PS21” on Google, we are now the first result — beating a concert venue in upstate New York, several New York public schools and a Bosch power drill of the same name.

That, I suspect, is what true 21st-century success looks like.

We are only just getting started, of course. But a glance at the now remarkably credible www.projects21.com now contains an increasingly deep display of riches.

We’ve had former GCHQ official John Bassett in London discussing international tensions in cyberspace. We’ve had legendary Serb activist Srdja Popovic and academic Jack Goldstone discussing revolutions in DC. We’ve had truly exceptional panels discussing superpower tensions, the Middle East in the aftermath of the Arab spring (link) and the uncertain fate of Greece and the Eurozone.

Then, of course, we have the embarrassment of riches which is PS21 MIDEAST. Ari Ratner’s account of the limits of US power following the revolutions of 2011 years, I think, the best thing I’ve read on the topic. We have a great look at sexual rights in Egypt from Dalia Abd El Hameed and the chaos in Iraq from John Drake.

Sultan al-Qassemi’s piece on social media in the Middle East from the Arab spring to ISIS has proved particularly popular, pushing our number of page views over 1000 in a single day for the first time.

This, of course, is only the beginning. This month, we will be announcing an exciting new list of global fellows. The launch of PS21 WORLD, a new blog looking at globalisation, geopolitics, conflict, risk and other major trends.

There are also some great and coming events. At 6:30 PM on the evening of Friday, March 13, we will be holding an evening discussion on South Asian geopolitics in London from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka followed by a curry buffet. Sign up here if you are interested.

On Wednesday, March 18 in Washington DC, we will be holding networking drinks at a bar near Capitol Hill. First thought it is either get a confirmatory glass of wine. Sign up here.

Many other exciting things, of course, to follow. Serious thanks to all of those who have got us this far — our global Fellows and international advisers, our panelists and participants and perhaps most of all our volunteers and interns.

In particular, we would not have a website where it not for Jinwoo Chong, a Mideast blog without Carrie Cuno or DC events without Elyse Warren, Anske Venter and Christopher Stevens. Many thanks also to those helping in the UK — Claire Connellan, Lucy Maloney and Zahra Hiddou in particular. And, of course, my personal assistants Gabrielle Redelinghuys, Ana Kovacs, Therese Persson and Melanie Gomez.

If I’m honest, I never thought we would get this far this quickly. Many thanks for your support.

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