Moderated two fascinating discussions last week, one for PS21 on migration, politics and security in Europe and the other at New Scientist Live on science and foreign policy for UK Foreign Office think tank Wilton Park. Both really underlined just how much flux there is in the global system at present – and both put me in mind of the 1930s, but in very different ways.
The migration discussion was illuminating – a really great range of panelists, both from migrant backgrounds and experts. All painted a picture of growing political polarization, tightening borders and sometimes arbitrary ethnic divisions. The drivers, unfortunately, seemed relatively intractable – this week has seen the apparent collapse of a tentative US-Russian deal on the Syrian Civil War. He is my latest piece from Reuters this week looking at just how difficult it’s going to be to move on from that, not least because any Western intervention now risks also becoming a military confrontation with Moscow.
The discussion on science and foreign policy was, perhaps predictably, rather more uplifting. There are some fascinating developments taking place, many of them fueled by recent advances in computing power. That is revolutionizing our understanding of medicine, physics and just about everything else. We talked about how science could both be a driver for international cooperation or rivalry – or, for example in the case of space exploration, both simultaneously. What was most striking, however, was just how little real idea we have about what some of these emerging changes might actually mean.
London networking drinks
Thursday, September 29, six p.m. onwards
Join us for our next PS21 networking event. This is a great opportunity to meet, and catch up with, career professionals while exchanging insights and enjoying a September evening.
As ever, we look forward to seeing familiar faces as well as new.
Where: The George, 213 the Strand, London