23 November – War in the 2020s – Navigating Modern War – now with podcast recording

Tuesday 23 November 18:30

The Project for Study of the 21st Century and King’s College London War Studies Society are delighted to welcome you to the second of a series of events on “war in the 2020s”, examining the changing face of conflict.
Twenty-first century wars so far have been dusty, lethal and sometime secretive affairs. From the inital Western intervenetion in Afghanistan twenty years ago, to today’s deployments across the Middle East and Africa, relatively small numbers of troops operate sometimes well outside the headlines.
How should Britain and its allies tackle this ever evolving world of conflict, as well as the growing great power rivalry that often sits across and through it? How should they commicate and when?
This event will be recorded as part of a podcast series.

Peter Apps (Moderator): Executive Director, PS21 and Global Affairs Commentator, Reuters

Lt Gen Sir Graeme Lamb: Former Director Special Forces and Commander Field Army

Abigail Watson: Conflict and Security Policy Coordinator, Safer World

Listen to the podcast of the event here

3 November – ‘The World of the 2020s’ with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry – now with podcast recording

Wednesday 3 November 18:30

PS21 and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry are delighted to invite you to the first of our exciting series of monthly discussions.

London and the world are reopening after almost two years of pandemic. But what does this new era look like?

The Project for Study of the 21st Century (PS21) and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry are joining forces for a monthly series of topical discussions examining the issues of the era.

Drinks will be served and there will be networking before and after.


Peter Apps (moderator): Executive Director PS21, Global Affairs Commentator Reuters

Richard Burge: Chief Executive at London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, former Chief Executive at Wilton Park, Chief Executive of of Countryside Alliance, Director General Zoological Society of London.

Christine Mikolajuk: Financial services professional and Board member at PS21.

Dr David Rubens: Executive Director of Institute of Strategic Risk Management, CEO of Deltar Group

Listen to the podcast of the event here

26 October – War in the 2020s – From Afghanistan to a High Tech Future – now with podcast recording

Tuesday 26 October 18:30

PS21 is delighted to welcome you to its first-in-person event since March 2020, linking up with King’s College London War Studies Society.

The West’s two-decade war in Afghanistan came to an ignominious end over the Summer – but with the US and its allies betting that the next conflict may be very different, with technology and information key to victory.

The Project for Study of the 21st Century and King’s College London War Studies Society which are delighted to welcome you to another in its series of events on “war in the 2020s”, examining the changing face of conflict.

Peter Apps (Moderator): Executive Director, PS21 and Global Affairs Commentator, Reuters

Brig Ben Barry (retired): Land Warfare Fellow, International Institute for Strategic Studies

Victoria Mackarness: Director, CMS strategic, defense and security commentator.

Nelson Macmillan: former Royal Navy warfare officer, technology and strategy consultant.

Libby Vallance-Bull: Senior Account Director, Rebellion Defence.

Listen to the podcast of the event here.

London Event 15th of October – A Green New Deal?

Tuesday, October 15th from 6 PM, Juju’s Bar and Stage, Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury St, London E1 6QR.

The Green New Deal is a term that has been thrown around by policymakers both in the US, Europe and in the UK. But what is the Green New Deal, and what are the policy implications of it? How far must British and European policymakers go in order to reduce their emissions by 2030? What industries will die down in this process, and who is this affecting? Is it feasible, both in an economic and political perspective, that politicians and policymakers will pursue a Green New Deal? Are there security implications for restructuring our economic policies to fit the new green policies? Are there security implications if we don’t?


Dr Leslie-Anne Duvic-Paoli is a public international lawyer, with expertise in international environmental law and climate and energy law, based at King’s College London.

Dr Simon Chin-Yee is also based at King’s College London, in the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) in the War Studies department.

Christopher Barnard is the founder and president of the British Conservation Alliance, an organisation working to promote pro-market environmentalism and conservative conservation.

Peter Apps has been the Executive Director of PS21 since 2015, and is a Reuters global affairs columnist.

James Rising is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute at the LSE.

Alex Chapman is a consultant at the New Economics Foundation, with experience in qualitative and quantitative research, project evaluation and policy analysis.

Sign up here. 

GDPR notice: By signing up for this event, you are giving PS21 consent to share your details with the venue for security purposes. We will also add you to our events mailing list, from which you can unsubscribe at any time. If you have any queries or would prefer not to be added, please contact ps21central@gmail.com

London Event 9 October – Careers in Foreign Policy

Wednesday, 9 October, from 06:30 PM, Room 1.01, Bush House NE wing, King’s College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS.

PS21 is pairing with YPFP to bring you a careers focused discussion on the foreign policy sector. We have assembled a panel of young experts to talk about their experiences in work, opinions on the sector as a whole and to provide advice to those aspiring to work in foreign policy. The event is an incredible opportunity for students to engage with experts who have recently left university.


Samuel Genge (moderator) – Chief of Staff, PS21

Yasmin Afina – Research Assistant, International Security Department, Chatham House

Mathieu Boulègue – Research Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House

Gurjinder Dhaliwal – Executive Director of YPFP.

Kyle Parks – Civil Servant and Diplomatic Service Fast Streamer

Elisa Cattaneo – Expert in international development, Youth Business International

Ulrike Esther Franke – Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations

Doors open 6pm, discussion begins 6:30pm.
Please bring photo ID.

Sign up here.

GDPR notice: By signing up for this event, you are giving PS21 consent to share your details with the venue for security purposes. We will also add you to our events mailing list, from which you can unsubscribe at any time. If you have any queries or would prefer not to be added, please contact ps21central@gmail.com.

London Event 17 September – What Will Historians Make of the 21st Century?

Tuesday, 17 September, from 06:00 PM, Juju’s Bar and Stage, Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury St, London E1 6QR.

What will future historians make of the era of Brexit, Donald Trump, Love Island, and the selfie stick. PS21 assembles a panel of historians, archaeologists and others to take an early shot at assessing how the last two decades might be remembered, and what that might tell us about the years to come. Expect arguments about what previous eras best reflect our own, what events, items, and personalities will be seen iconic, and whether anyone in the future will want to remember us at all.


Jonn Elledge (moderator) – Journalist, New Statesman.

Dr. Leslie James – Lecturer in Global History at Queen Mary University London

Richard Vinen – Professor of History at King’s College London

John Basset – Former GCHQ senior official and member of the PS21 International Advisory Group

Charlotte Yelamos – Doctoral researcher of Cold War archaeology at King’s College London

Jo Fox – Director of the Institute of Historical Research and Professor of Modern History at the University of London

Doors open 6pm, discussion begins 7pm.

Sign up here.

GDPR notice: By signing up for this event, you are giving PS21 consent to share your details with the venue for security purposes. We will also add you to our events mailing list, from which you can unsubscribe at any time. If you have any queries or would prefer not to be added, please contact ps21central@gmail.com

October 2 London Event – ‘The Changing Face of Conflict’

Tuesday, October 2. 6pm. Whitehall (exact location TBA to attendees)

PS21 returns to Whitehall for the next in our series of discussions on the changing face of conflict. We’ll be talking about the rise of non-state actors, means of countering insurgency and extremism, examples from recent wars and more. As usual, we shall move to a nearby pub afterwards to continue the conversation.

Peter Apps [moderator] – Reuters Global Affairs Columnist, Executive Director, PS21

Joana Cook – Senior Fellow, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, Kings College London.

Kieran Mitton – Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Kings College London.

Eleanor Beevor – Anthropologist, Journalist, Research Analyst, Conflict, Security and Development Program, International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Please remember to bring photo ID with you.


Sign up here. 


GDPR notice: By signing up for this event, you are giving PS21 consent to share your details with the venue for security purposes. We will also add you to our events mailing list, from which you can unsubscribe at any time. If you have any queries or would prefer not to be added, please contact ps21central@gmail.com

September 18 London Event – ‘Imagining the next crisis’

Tuesday, September 18. 6pm. Juju’s Bar and Stage, Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. 

Ten years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers sparked global financial turmoil and 17 since 9/11, PS21 looks where the next major crisis threatening humanity might come from. Bringing together experts in finance, security, cyberspace, public health and more, we’ll be looking at what we should be worrying about and how it might be managed. After the long summer, a great chance to network, question the experts and talk about what the rest of the year – and century – might have iin store.

Peter Apps [Moderator] – Reuters Global Affairs Columnist

Heather Williams – Lecturer in Defence Studies, Kings College London

Mike Dolan – Investment Editor, Thomson Reuters

Angela Chatzidimitriou – Global Blockchain Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Hewlett-Packard

John Bassett – Former senior official, GCHQ and member of the PS21 International Advisory Group

Dr Colin Brown – Consultant in Infectious Diseases, Public Health England

Doors will open at six p.m., with the discussion beginning at seven p.m. After brief presentations from each speaker, we will break for interval followed by a Q and A/panel discussion. The bar will remain open throughout.

Sign up here

Event July 10 London Event – “The Nuclear Peninsula: the Future of the Two Koreas”

Tuesday, July 10. 6.30 pm. K2.31 (Nash Lecture Theatre), Strand campus, King’s College London.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is a complex and ever changing one. In the space of one year, the political context has shifted from impending conflict, characterised by insults and fiery rhetoric, to renewed friendship between North and South, temporarily cemented by the promise of Northern Nuclear disarmament.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the situation on the peninsula, analysis as to its future is a complex task. To shed light on this topic, the Project for the Study of the 21st Century has gathered a panel of experts to discuss the current situation and how the situation may change.

Join PS21 as hosted by Kings College London’s War Studies Department for an evening of discussion on the future of the Korean Peninsula.

Confirmed panellists include:


Jihyun Park – Outreach Director at Connect: North Korea refugee support group, recipricant of the Natwest Chairman’s Award and North Korean defector.

Alison Evans – Head of Open Source Analytics and Senior Asia-Pacific Analyst, IHS Markit.

Karl Dewey – CBRN Analyst, proliferation editor at Jane’s, IHS Markit.

Hamish Macdonald – Contributor to NK News, Chief Operations Officer of the Korea Risk Group.

Dr Chris Weston – PhD in North Korean institutional economics, international business consultant on risk management.

Sign up here


GDPR notice: By signing up for this event, you are giving PS21 consent to share your details with the venue for security purposes. We will also add you to our events mailing list, from which you can unsubscribe at any time. If you have any queries or would prefer not to be added, please contact ps21central@gmail.com

PS21 Event Writeup “Imagining the World in 2030”

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


The newest event of PS21’s 2030 series saw a panel of experts in tech, policy, defence, economics and more to discuss what the world would look like by 2030. Hosted by Juju’s Bar and Stage and in cooperation with Young Professionals in Policy, the discussion ranged from the changing impact of technology to rise in extremism, economic and social divisions and the importance of diversity.

Paola Subacchi, Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House, stressed the importance of equality, as well as the need for sustainable and inclusive growth as part of a broader and progressive agenda. Subacchi saw the world today at a turning point, with the rise of emerging economies and technological revolution creating a range of new opportunities but also dangers.

Gurjinder Dhaliwal from Young Professionals in Foreign Policy reflected on YPFP’s mission statement, which saw a shift to amplify voices of the next generation, bringing with it more autonomy. Dhaliwal hoped to see a future of greater democratisation of information but saw obstacles in a lack of vision and ideas. Dhaliwal highlighted the reality that change does not happen automatically but that it requires practical policies to bring about social change and equality. He also reflected on the lack of big political ideas from the political mainstream.

Julia Ebner, Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, specialising in far right and Islamist extremism, took up Dhaliwal’s thought on “winning the battle of ideas”. According to Ebner, the current generation grew up after 9/11, amid talk of a war between the West and Islam. This idea was dangerous with far right counter-cultures exploiting it to take advantage of frustrations with mainstream ideas. Ebner warned fringe groups had the ability to create the impression online that they were more widespread than in reality, making the media more receptive towards their ideas and ultimately reaching more people.

Former British Army officer and cyber security specialist Harry Porteous saw warfare becoming increasingly technological, altering its character but not its fundamental nature. Recent examples included cheap, off-the-shelf drones employed by militants in Northern Iraq and Syria. These capabilities were no longer limited to states. Porteous predicted such ‘human-on tech’ conflict would be followed by ‘tech-on-tech’ combat, likely first in a maritime environment in the form of unmanned vehicles. Speaking on Russia, Porteous highlighted that Russia had the same means and accessibility to tech as the UK but was prepared to go further and faster.

Catalina Butnaru from Women in AI called for accuracy in understanding technology, particularly citing the need to distinguish between machine or automated intelligence and common-sense, self-aware intelligent systems. AI, she said, was not conscious and lacked both awareness and common sense, relying only on algorithms, data, and human intervention. The nature of jobs and employment would change drastically, she said, but existing levels of job automation suggests computers will not be able to take over entirely. Companies should slowly incorporate AI into current jobs, she said, using it to augment, not displace jobs. Two key components of this transition were building in user interface levers for adequate AI adoption amongst digitally literate workers, and helping the remaining workforce develop complex cognitive skills needed to make the most of AI-driven systems at work.

Hedge fund portfolio manager Subhajeet Parida saw democracies increasingly challenged through a range of hybrid structures within them. Access to opportunities across the world remained very varied, he said, creating its own economic and political strains. Reflecting on the adoption of technology in his own sector, Parida said banking had leapt ahead in some areas but more cautiously in others, sometimes without a coherent strategy. The emergence of Blockchain could bring about a further raft of changes in a large number of sectors, he said, potentially including news and publishing as the world sought new solutions to fake news and other problems.

PS21 Event Writeup – ‘What next for Iran’

Given the recent protests in the Islamic Republic and the controversies regarding its nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic finds itself at a crossroads. PS21 gathered in Whitehall to discuss what happens next.

Dina Esfandiary, Fellow at King’s College London, noted the occurrence of riots in Iran was in itself nothing new, however she identified differences from previous unrest: the protests were widespread and the protesters themselves had become bolder with slogans directly attacking the Supreme Leader.

A key difference lies in the government reaction. Unlike during the 2009 post-election protests, the government was willing to at least partially legitimise the demonstrations through acknowledging their demands. This time, the complaints were largely over economic grievances rather than political.

Esfandiary did not see this as an advance towards democratisation but rather as a new tactic of the system: reforms to stay in power, realising that the riot response from 2009 will not be accepted anymore.

Forward looking, Esfandiary sees growing discontent in the Republic, as well as worsening relations with Gulf Arab states (except for Qatar) which will not result in a direct war but will play out through regional rivalries and conflicts.

Dr Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi, Research Fellow at RUSI, presented a more detailed insight into the Iran nuclear deal and the uncertainty surrounding it since October 2017.

Tabrizi referred to a “conversation shift” that had taken place over the past few weeks between the Europeans and the US. European governments are trying to figure out a way to address the concerns raised by the Trump by the deadline of May 12th, when the US might not renew sanctions waivers, but doing so without antagonising Iran is a tall order.

For Iran the connection between the deal and the economic state of the country were crucial, as this was the basis that President Rouhani ran his campaign on. The uncertainty which characterises the future of the deal following Trump’s election thus also affects the economic situation of the country, Tabrizi stated.

PS21 update weekending January 12

A really great event to begin the year last week hosted by the Cabinet Office looking ahead to 2017 really helped us discern some of the big themes for the year. We know, of course, that this is the year in which Brexit will begin to really mean Brexit. Within days, Donald Trump will be in the White House. Our discussion, though, went rather  wider, looking at the really big questions of whether the liberal order is really in permanent retreat and what it might take for a more progressive, leftist message to emerge once again.

Some of those issues are considered on PS21 this week with this piece looking at whether Germany is genuinely moving to the right. My own peaceful Reuters, meanwhile, looks at the impact of the more salacious Russia-linked allegations around Trump and how that will likely dog his presidency, whether they are ultimately found to be true or not.

A really excellent discussion coming up in London next week will look at one of our perennial larger themes, the future of nuclear proliferation – or nonproliferation, for that matter. Clearly, this is going to be one of the themes of the Trump presidency, which appears to be keen on a nuclear deal with Russia even as it looks to tear up the one the Obama administration did on Iran. North Korea, meanwhile, lingers in the background, with a very real potential that it will finally perfect a credible nuclear tipped ballistic missile at some point in the coming presidency.

We have a range of other really great events timetable for the future, including some interesting wargames and scenario discussions. Amongst other topics, we will be looking at the rise of extremism in Europe, the future for humanitarianism and human rights after events in Aleppo and the largest questionable – how globalization can possibly work in an increasingly fraught decade and century.

We look forward to seeing you there,





The future of nuclear [non?] proliferation

Tuesday, January 24, six p.m.. Kings College London, Strand

From North Korea to Iran, Europe to the South China Sea, nuclear tensions seem on the rise this century. PS21 examines the drivers and technologies that encourage and allow this trend, and asks what – if anything – Western states can do to keep the risks in check.

Peter Apps [moderator] is executive director, PS21 and global affairs columnist, Thomson Reuters.

Cristina Varriale is a Research Analyst with RUSI’s Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Team. She specialises in non-proliferation, deterrence policy and CBRN security. Prior to joining RUSI, she worked in nuclear policy and research with the International Centre for Security Analysis (ICSA) and the British American Security Information Council (BASIC). Cristina holds an MA in Non-proliferation and International Security from King’s College London. She has also been a contributor at IHS Jane’s, and has written on nuclear issues for publications such as the Huffington Post and Prospect Magazine.

David Smart is a former UK civil servant who worked on Counter-Proliferation and Counter-Terrorism, and pioneered the exploitation of Financial Intelligence (FinInt) in these areas. Since leaving government service he has acted as a senior advisor to public and private sector clients on risk and security, with particular emphasis on economic crime and cyber-security.

John Bassett OBE worked for the British foreign service from 1991 to 2010. He was an adviser to the UK delegation during the final phase of negotiations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and has 25 years of experience in various aspects of counterproliferation and arms control.

Paul Ingram is Executive Director of BASIC, responsible for developing its strategy to help reduce global nuclear dangers through disarmament and collaborative non-proliferation. Paul has authored a number of BASIC’s reports and briefings covering a variety of nuclear and non-nuclear issues since 2002. Paul has an extensive media experience and hosted a weekly peak-time talk show on IRINN (Iranian domestic TV News in Farsi) addressing issues relevant to global security 2007-2012. He also taught systems approaches on the flagship Top Management Programme at the UK government’s National School of Government 2006-2012.

Sign up here