London Event- 14 Nov, 21st Century Peacebuilding from N Ireland to Syria

Monday November 14, 6pm War Studies Meeting Room, K6.07 Kings College London

According to the Global Peace Index, there are only 10 countries in the world in 2016 which can be considered free from conflict. The ongoing crisis in Gaza; worsening conflicts in the Middle East; the international stand-off  in Ukraine and the lack of a solution to the refugee crisis are some examples of the contributing factors that have made the world less peaceful in 2016 than it was in 2015.

Drawing on the lessons learnt in the Northern Ireland peace process, our speakers will assess 21st centruy peacebuilding strategies in the context of 21st century conflicts. Do we haev the tools to tackle some of these seemingly intractable situations? What have we learnt and what have we not learnt? Our speakers will look at conflict resolution and peace building strategies, contextualised in 21st century examples.


Dr Gordon Clubb is a Lecturer in International Security at the University of Leeds and is the director of the Terrorism and Political Violence Association. He has published on former combatants in Northern Ireland and the disengagement and de-radicalisation of terrorist movements.

Dr. Anastasia Voronkova is Research Fellow for Armed Conflict at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and Editor of the IISS’s new annual publication, the Armed Conflict Survey. Anastasia holds a PhD in comparative conflict studies from Queen Mary, University of London. She has extensive fieldwork experience in Northern Ireland and the South Caucasus. Her research interests include comparative conflict resolution, communication strategies and rhetoric of non-state armed groups, the political economy of armed conflicts, security and terrorism. Prior to joining IISS she held teaching positions at University College London and Queen Mary University of London.

Haid Haid is a Syrian columnist and researcher who focuses on security policies, conflict resolution, Kurdish and Islamist movements. Prior to that, he was a programme manager on Syria and Iraq at the Heinrich Böll Stiftung-Middle East Office in Beirut. He also worked as a senior community services-protection assistant at UNHCR- Damascus office. He has a BA in Sociology, a post graduate diploma in counseling, an MA in social development and has just completed another MA in conflict resolution at King’s College.

Moderator: Professor Joe Maiolo is the Deputy Head of the Department of War Studies, Director of the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War, and Professor of International History. He is an editor of The Journal of Strategic Studies, and co-editor of The Strategy Reader, a member of the editorial board for Intelligence & National Security, and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is currently a Visiting Research Professor at the Norwegian Defence Intelligence School, Oslo.

This event is being run in partnership with the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War, at KCL.

Please sign up here.


London Event- 8 Nov, US Election Night

clinton-trumpTuesday 8th November, from 20:00

SE1 9FU – Holland Street Pavillion A near Bankside, London, SE1 9FU

Join PS21 to watch what may be the most sensational US election in living memory. Whatever the result may be, come along for drinks and good company.

To RSVP, click here.

Any volunteers wanting to publish their immediate reflections next Wednesday please contact the Web Editor before election night [].


As always, we look forward to seeing you there,

The PS21 Team.


London event Nov 2 – 15 years of the Afghan war

Wednesday, November 2, six p.m. Kings College London
A decade and a half after US-led forces first entered the country in the aftermath of 9/11, the Afghan war still simmers on. What are the lessons of the initial intervention, which ousted the Taliban from Kabul with little more than a handful of special forces and local fighters? How did it evolve into the troop-heavy NATO mission that followed, and what can we expect now most foreign troops have gone? PS21 and the Afghan Society at KCL pulls together an expert panel to discuss what for the West has been one of the defining conflicts of the century so far.

Emma Graham-Harrison – former Afghanistan Bureau chief, Guardian

Professor Theo Farrell – Dean of Arts and Social Sciences, City University. Researching and co-authoring a book on the history of the Taliban’s war in Afghanistan

Robert Johnson – Pembroke College Oxford, Director of the Oxford Changing Character of War Programme

Christopher Kolenda – Senior Military Fellow, Kings College London. Former Senior Advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Department of Defense senior leadership and has served four tours of duty in Afghanistan with the US military

Peter Apps [Moderator] – Reuters Global Affairs Columnist and PS21 Executive Director

London Event Oct 10 – Tech, Society & Politics

Monday 10th October 2016. Drinks from six p.m., discussion from 630 p.m. Neo Bankside, SE1

From the shanty towns of Lagos to the rise of Brexit and Trump, crowdsourcing to video on demand, changing technology is revolutionising society and politics round the world. How are modern political and media networks evolving? What does that mean for changing prower structures? How does it differ between the developing and the developed world? Where will it all go next? PS21 pulls together an expert panel to examine the changes seen so far and asks where these trends will take us next.

Peter Apps (moderator) – Reuters Global Affairs Columnist and PS21 Executive Director

Emmanuel Akinwotu – Journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria, writing for Guardian and New Stateman

John Elledge – Editor, Citymetric, member of the PS21 governing board

Eleanor Harrison OBE – CEO of award winning charity GlobalGiving UK; the world’s first and largest global crowdfunding comm unity for non-profits,

Aaron Bastani – Left-wing blogger and founder of Novara Media

Sign up here.

London event September 14th : 9/11 fifteen years on

treasury discussion

WHEN Wednesday, September 14, 2016 from 18:00 to 19:30 

WHERE  War Studies Meeting Room (K6.07 ) King’s College London – Strand, London, WC2R 2LS 


Fifteen years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, PS21 looks back.  What was done right, what was done wrong and how might the 21st century have been different if the twin towers had never fallen.

Richard Barrett – former senior British counterterrorism official and ex-head of the UN Al Qaeda/Taleban monitoring team

Timothy Hoyt – professor, US Naval war College

This is also a joint event with the Sir Michael Howard Centre

Sign up here [corrected link]

The PS21 Team

PS21 update week ending September 2

Many things to Financial Times global affairs columnist Gideon Rachman for a truly excellent discussion at HM Treasury last week on risks to come in the rest of 2016 and beyond. Plenty of interesting thought material, from the way in which the British establishment largely missed the UK referendum result warning signs to the upcoming US election. Brings into context while the themes we have been looking at for much of the last 18 months – the growing disconnect between metropolitan elites [of which, admittedly, global affairs columnists like myself and Gideon are probably card-carrying members] and just about everybody else.

Just putting the finishing touches to the scenario for this Thursday’s evening event at King’s College London. In a new departure for us, where getting a top-flight panel – primarily former officials of various types – and confronting them with a fictitious but plausible real-world scenario.

In this case, it’s going to be a confrontation in the Baltic states. We have a fictional Baltic state, runaway drones and all manner of other interesting things to throw at them. Sign up below – it promises to be a truly interesting discussion.

PS. Now we are into September, I’m delighted to say we’re aiming to kick the PS21 website and editorial content back into gear. If you are interested in writing, please email and our team will get back to you.

Peter Apps

Executive Director


PS21 scenario event – confrontation in the Baltics

WHEN: Thursday, September 8, 2016 from 18:00 PM

WHERE: War Studies Meeting Room (K6.07 )King’s College London – Strand, London, WC2R 2LS.

As part of a new series of sceario-based events, PS21 looks at risks of escalation between NATO and Russia in the Baltic states. Also a chance to hear about PS21’s major international crisis scenario, GLOBAL TURMOIL, which will be running in 2017.

Our scenario begins in September 2016, with an armed Russian drone approaching our fictional Baltic state of Livonia…


Peter Apps (Moderator) – Managing Director of PS21 and Global Affairs Columnist, Thomson Reuters

Dr. Zachary Wolfraim – PhD King’s College London, former consultant, NATO Headquarters

Dr. Allan Sikk – Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Erik Lin-Greenberg – Former US Air Force Intelligence Officer, PhD Candidate Columbia University

Peter Roberts – Senior Research Fellow in Sea Power and Maritime Studies, RUSI

Brigadier Ben Barry – Senior Fellow for Land Warfare, IISS

You can sign up here.


Save the date…

Looking back on 9/11 15 years on

Wednesday, September 14, six p.m., King’s College London

Details to follow shortly…


Migration and Politics in Europe

Wednesday, September 21, six p.m., King’s College London

Details to follow

London Event 4 April – Arctic: Local Changes, Global Implications

Arctic: Local Changes, Global Implications

Monday 4th April 2016, 18.00, Location TBC

Changes in the Arctic landscape are altering the relationship Arctic and non-Arctic states alike have with the Far North. Opportunities created by rapid environmental changes in the Arctic have sparked numerous debates regarding the global consequences of the development of natural resources and shipping routes, as well as their impact on the local communities and regional states.

Jennifer Brindisi (Moderator) – Former London Executive Director of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, Board Member PS21.

Wim Jolles – Director of European Operations at Canatec and an Arctic shipping specialist.

Michael Burgass – Marine scientist within the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science, University of Oxford developing indicators to assess ocean health for the high Arctic.

Dr Klaus Dodds – Professor at Royal Holloway specialising in geopolitics, security, and international governance of the Antarctic and the Arctic.

Registration will begin at 5:30 and the event will commence at 6:00. Please note that we will not be able to guarantee entry to those arriving after 6:15.

You can sign up for the event here.

London Event, Feb 15: Front-line civilians — challenges, opportunities and threats


A discussion examining the experiences, challenges and roles of front-line expatriate civilian staff — from military contractors to aid workers and journalists in modern conflicts  — who find themselves increasingly on the frontline of conflicts. Panelists will include U.S. Army War College anthropologist Darya Pilram, humanitarian security specialist Sheelagh Brady, acting director of the International News Safety Institute Anna Bevan and former British Army officer and defence attache to Yemen Iain Smailes. The discussion will be moderated by PS21 company secretary Tom Beazley.

WHEN: Monday, February 15, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (GMT)

WHERE:Christian Aid, 35-42 Lower Marsh, Waterloo London SE1 7RL

Sign up here

A new year for PS21

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHard to believe, but PS21 is now a full year old. Executive Director Peter Apps outlines its plans for the year to come. 

This time last year, if we are honest, PS21 was little more than a website, a good idea and some ambitious but still far from tightly defined projected events. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this year it now feels very different – still very much a new and evolving entity but also an unquestionably established institution.

We have successfully stayed true to our founding principles and ideals, I think – non-national, non-ideological, non-partisan and ever so slightly feral. We have also, perhaps even more importantly, built the beginnings of a really great community – a unique and interesting group of people from a very wide range of backgrounds united by the desire to explore some of the biggest issues of the era. It’s a fun, always eclectic crowd and building that has been perhaps our greatest achievement.

We have also produced some great research and writing, true to our ambitions of delivering content people read and discussions they remember.

So, what next?

Content people read

Over the last year, the PS21 website has showcased some truly excellent writing from our fellows, international advisers and other contributors. From immigration to geopolitics, the Arctic to Australia, our writers have delivered some really great content an increasing quantity of which we have been able to place elsewhere on other media.

This week we launch a particularly exciting new strand – our Imaging 2030 Series. This will showcase some of PS21’s best writers as they imagine what the world in general – and their areas of expertise in particular – might look like in 2030. You can read our first piece here.

Discussions they remember

Our 2016 events programme commences this week with an excellent discussion at Whitehall in conjunction with the Cabinet Office on Risks to Watch in 2016. Other upcoming discussions upcoming on London, DC and New York include Social Media in the Middle East, the upcoming US election, and the challenges of running megacities.

This year we will be making a concerted effort to move beyond some of the national security and political risk topics that were much of our focus in 2015. We will keep delivering discussions on topics in those areas of course – they are important and we have developed a strong reputation in that area. But we also want to look beyond they at wider societal, cultural and other trends.

Building on the success of last year, we will also be holding networking drinks and small salon-like meetings in all three cities. Because sometimes the best conversations don’t need structure at all.

Once again many thanks for being part of PS21’s first year. 2016 we hope should be better yet. Please feel free to get in touch at

All the best,

Peter Apps

Executive Director

London Event Nov 11: Is Great Power War Risk Growing?

Time: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM (GMT)

Location: 100 Parliament Street, London SW1A 2BQ GB

In these interesting times, this talk calls together an expert panel to examine the likelihood of a variety of future conflicts over the next 20 year period. They will reflect upon the findings of PS21’s ‘Great Power War Survey’. This far reaching piece of work brought together over 50 global experts in national security, international relations, and political risk (including government officials, academics and private sector analysts), to try to quantify the perceived risk of a range of potentially world-altering conflicts, both conventional and nuclear. The survey will give results for both conventional war risk and the prospects of returning nuclear, as well as some additional material on cyber and non-state nuclear risks.

Peter Apps (chair): Executive Director, PS21

Sir Lawrence Freedman KCMG, CBE, PC, FBA: Professor of War Studies at King’s College London, former foreign policy adviser to Tony Blair.

Omar Hamid: Senior Manager and Head of Asia-Pacific Country Risk at IHS, former senior police official in Pakistan, and author of ‘The Prisoner’ published in 2013.

Bernie de Haldevang: Director, Cross Border Risk Agency Limited, PS21 global fellow.

London Event October 21: Oil, Commodities and Geopolitics

Time: Wednesday 21st October, 5.30pm
Location: 100 Parliament Street, SW1A 2BQ

Only a handful of years ago, we thought oil at $100 a barrel might be with us for life. Now, with faltering Chinese demand and booming US production, it stands at less than half of that. Soft commodities and food have been on a similar rollercoaster.

PS21 calls together an expert panel to look at where we go from here. They will look at the battle to influence markets between Washington, Moscow and Saudi Arabia, the outlook for demand at the future of renewables and fracking. What will happen to food prices — and what effect might that have all the more volatile, vulnerable areas of the world.

Richard Mably (chair): Editor, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Reuters
John Kemp: Senior market analyst, Reuters
Emily Stromquist: Global energy and natural resources analyst, Eurasia Group
David Murrin: PS21 Global Fellow, author of  Breaking the Code of History and chairman at Spartent Global Solutions