What will be new about 2021?

Wednesday 6th January, 6:30pm BST

2020 was a year like no other, consumed by a global pandemic, societies, cultures, workplaces, global relations were changed and the status quo shifted. As the new year approaches and the world starts to look beyond the coronavirus what will have changed, what will be new and what will 2021 look like? Our panel of experts discuss their predictions and hopes for the year ahead.

Speakers to include:

Christine Mikolajuk (Moderator) – Management consultant, freelance writer and media contributor

Frances Hudson – Former global thematic strategist at Standard Life

Ana Bozovic – Geopolitics and financial specialist & Founder of Analytics Miami

Nigel Inkster – Former deputy head of MI6, current Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk at the International Institute for Strategic Studies

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End of 2020 Virtual Networking Drinks

Tuesday 15th December, 6:30pm BST

2020 has been a strange year and as it draws to a close PS21 would like to do what it can to lift spirits and gather together some new faces in all global places!

Join us for an hour to toast the end of 2020 with zoom networking and ice breakers

Bring your own christmas jumpers, good cheer and drinks! Participants will be split into smaller groups, with icebreaking questions on what all have learnt from a very strange year, as well as your expectations, predictions, hopes and fears for 2021.

This event will be held online. Signup details will be sent to those who sign up on the link below.

Get your free ticket 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.

What does “security” mean in 2020?

Thursday, October 29th, 6:30pm BST

As Covid-19 reshapes the world and Britain begins its Integrated Defence and Security Review, what does the word “security” really mean in 2020 – and what structures, skills and mindsets are necessary to achieve it. This PS21 virtual panel will examine those questions, as well as how the UK can balance geopolitics, human rights and fast changing technology to survive and thrive in an increasingly messy, complex century.

Speakers to include:

Aditi Gupta (Moderator) – All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, on the board for Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security UK

Abigail Watson – Conflict and Security Policy Coordinator at Saferworld

Josh Arnold-Forster – Defence consultant and former Special Adviser to UK Defence Secretary John Reid

Emma Salisbury – PhD candidate at Birbeck College specialising in emerging technology and the military-industrial complex.

Get your free ticket 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.

The future of geopolitics in a COVID-19 world

Tuesday, October 6th, 6:30pm BST

Six months after Covid-19 shutdown the world and put PS21 on enforced hiatus, the Project for the Study of the 21st Century is back…

2020 has been a very strange year – but how much will it truly change the world? With multilateralism in doubt, rising tensions between multiple nations and strained domestic politics around the globe, PS21 examines the politics, geopolitics and dynamics of the post-Covid world – when that finally does come.

This discussion brings together a panel of experts to give us an update on what’s been happening these last few months and discuss what lies ahead for geopolitics. As the world teeters on the edge of a new lockdown, it marks the beginning of a new PS21 series of virtual events bringing together voices from around the globe to examine how our world is changing.

As always with PS21, discussion will be fast moving, sometimes irreverent, incisive, wide-ranging and thought-provoking…

Speakers to include:

Christine Mikolajuk (Moderator) – Management consultant, freelance writer and media contributor

Ari Ratner – Founder and CEO of Inside Revolution. Former US State Department official.

Ana Bozovic – Founder Analytics Miami

Ali Wyne – Nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute.

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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 March 11 – SDSR: The Broader Context

We are sad to announce that tonight’s event: ‘SDSR: The Broader Context’, held at King’s College London will be cancelled. This decision has been made in order to ensure the health and safety of speakers and attendees relating to COVID-19.

Thank you for your understanding.
The PS21 Team

 

Wednesday, March 11th, from 06:30 p.m., Edmond J Safra Lecture Theatre, King’s Building (ground floor), King’s College London, Strand, WC2R 2LS

In the second of its events on Britain’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, PS21 examines the wider world. What should Britain be prioritising defending against? What are its allies and adversaries doing? How will emerging technologies change the game, and what should the UK be doing to stay ahead?

Moderator:

Peter Apps – Reuters Global Affairs Commentator, Executive Director and Founder of PS21

Speakers:

Lieutenant General Sir Graeme Lamb – Former Director Special Forces and Commander Field Army

Dr Maha Hosain Aziz– Professor of Global Risk at New York University and author of the recent, award-winning ‘Future World Order’

 

Doors open at 6:30 pm. The talk begins at 6:45 pm.

Get your free ticket 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 March 19 – Africa In The 21st Century: Change, Challenges and Hope

We are sad to announce that next week’s event: ‘Africa In The 21st Century’, will be cancelled. This decision has been made in order to ensure the health and safety of speakers and attendees relating to COVID-19. We hope to reschedule at a later time. Thank you for understanding, and hope you all stay safe.

 

Thursday, March 19th, from 06:30 p.m., room 1.60, Franklin-Wilkins Building, King’s College London, Stamford St, SE1 9NH

Often, antiquated stereotypes of a continent trapped in eternal crisis obstructs wide-spread recognition of the substantial developments occurring across certain areas of Africa. The 2019 African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACfTA) is now seen as a landmark demonstrating increasing intra-African trade, substantial investments in critical infrastructure and socio-economic developments, signalling a new era of hope. At the same time, Africa, continues to face high youth unemployment rates and serious challenges concerning migration, political instability, violence, and climate change. How will Africa’s young and ambitious workforce and their political leaders of today respond to these challenges? Can the prospect of industrial and economic growth be a guarantor for fighting poverty and ensuring peace? How wide-spread will any new prosperity be felt? And above all, will the economy and politics be able to make the 21st century into what many have termed to be Africa’s century?

Moderator:

Dr Flavia Gasbarri – Co-Chair of Africa Research Group and War Studies Teaching Fellow at KCL

Speakers:

Dr Kieran Mitton – Lecturer in International Relations and Co-Chair of Africa Research Group

Dr Sarah Njeri – Research Associate at the African Leadership Centre Former Humanitarian Aid Practitioner at UNDP Somaliland

Dr Althea-Maria Rivas – Lecturer and Programme Conveyor in Humanitarian Action at SOAS

Musa Kpaka – PhD Candidate at LSE, focusing on economics and financial institutions in Sierra Leone

 

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 February 19 – SDSR: What UK Defence Does Well and Badly

Wednesday, February 19th, from 06:30 p.m., K6.29, King’s College London, Strand, WC2R 2LS

As Britain begins its next Strategic Defence and Security Review, PS21 will be running a series of events looking at the big themes. We start by looking at what UK defence does well and badly. Join us with the King’s College London War Studies Society to talk aircraft carriers, Middle East interventions, great power competition, emerging technology, personal policy and more…

Moderator:

Peter Apps – Reuters Global Affairs Commentator, Executive Director and Founder of PS21

Speakers:

Jack Watling – Land Warfare Fellow at RUSI

Abigail Watson – Research Manager for the Remote Warfare Programme at Oxford Research Group

Josh Arnold-Forster – former Senior Advisor at the MOD

Sarah Church – Former Army Officer and former Labour Parliamentary Candidate

Doors open at 6:00 pm. The talk begins at 6:30 pm.

Get your free ticket 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 January 15 – 2020: The Year Ahead

PS21 2020 the year ahead event

Wednesday, January 15th, from 06:30 p.m., Bush House(SE) room 1.05, King’s College London, Strand, WC2R 2LS

 

PS21’s 2020 event program kicks off with a panel discussion looking at key themes that will define the first year of the new decade. Touching upon all topical issues such as international relations, technology, regional politics, conflict, economics and climate change.

Speakers:

Peter Apps (Moderator) – Reuters Global Affairs Columnist, Founder and Executive Director, PS21.

Nigel Inkster, Former MI6 Deputy Chief

Pepijn Bergsen, Research Fellow, Europe Programme, Chatham House

Alexandria Reid, Research Analyst at Royal United Services Institute

Lara Srivastava – Lawyer, media and technology adviser to governments and international organisations

 

Doors open at 06:00 p.m., with discussion beginning at 06:30 p.m.

Get your free ticket 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: ‘The Future of UK Grand Strategy’

Written in collaboration with Strife at King College London

By Harrison Brewer

Photo Credit: Kayla Goodson

Strife and PS21 joined forces to present a fascinating panel discussion on the future of the UK’s grand strategy. We live in an uncertain world that gets more uncertain by the minute, as the United Kingdom flails around Brexit, Trump’s America turns away from Europe, and Europe looks to redefine what it means to be in the Union. All the meanwhile, the UK avoids the aging imperialist elephant in the room: who are we, what are we doing, and how can we do it? PS21 brought in an expert, an academic, and a practitioner to help disentangle the UK’s approach to grand strategy in the 21st Century.

Dr. Charlie Laderman, a lecturer in International History at King’s College London, first explained his definition of grand strategy, believing it to be the intellectual architecture that forms foreign policy. It is a historically British concept — although Dr. Laderman questioned whether Britain ever got it right — and is predicated on balancing peacetime goals with war and using limited resources to achieve a state’s goals. Dr. Laderman suggested that British foreign policy experts have a ‘maddening pragmatism’ that is borne out of Britain’s historical pole position in global politics but argued that it is imperative for the UK to break out of this mould and to reassess.

  The UK has long been perceived as the facilitator and bridge between the US and Europe, but this relationship is at risk. Trump’s de-Europeanisation policy and Merkel’s and Macron’s attempts at firming the bonds of European fraternity leave the UK out of the loop post-Brexit; therefore, Dr. Laderman believes the UK must engage in the business of trade-offs. Britain must consider how it can use its limited yet still formidable capabilities in defenCe, soft power, and international development to continue to be a reliable partner, as well as a global player. Lastly, Dr. Laderman noted that the UK needs a stable EU in order to thrive. Therefore, despite leaving the union, the UK must look to fortify it relationships with EU states and support the EU as best as it can.

Cllr Peymana Assada defence and international development expert, as well as a local councillor in the London Borough of Harrow, discussed how the UK must address its relationship with its imperialist and colonialist past to improve its foreign policy. Assad underlined the need for the UK to champion equality in its foreign policy, acknowledging that the UK could use soft power to correct some of its mistakes made under colonialism. Assad referenced her work in Afghanistan and recalled a conversation she had with Afghan tribal leaders about the Durand Line, the internationally accepted border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Afghan people were absent in this international decision-making process, she noted, which showed a disregard for the people directly affected by this decision. She argued that the UK’s grand strategy needs to be founded on principles of equality for all actors, both international and local, and it needs to address Britain’s imperial history and the suffering it caused.

To summarise she stated the focus should be on:

1) The key to establishing ourselves in the world is seeing all as equals – in order to do this we must understand the real impact of colonisation and imperialism on the counties we left behind, and how some of those actions of the past haunt us today.

2) We need to consider and seek opportunities with non-western powers like China and India, but also continue to facilitate between European and other allies such as the United States – it’s too important not to do both. We should not solely focus on Europe.

3) Use our soft power and understand that the world has changed, we can command more influence through art, culture and education by way of exchange and scholarships. India currently leads through music, film and education for example in the South Asian region.

Finally, Assad stated that in order to achieve this, we need to bring the British public with us, on the ride and convince them, that engaging with Europe and the non-western world, brings us benefits and also stops us being swallowed up in a world of constant changing super powers.

Georgina Wright, a research associate in the Europe Programme at Chatham House, began by stating that British foreign policy must be separate from the Brexit process. Britain has a privileged position in global affairs — it is both one of the leaders in official development assistance and a strong partner of both the US and the EU — and the UK should not forgo this position as a consequence of Brexit. Rather than turning further inwards, the UK should take the opportunity to engage more meaningfully and extensively with its allies. This change, however, must be managed carefully and swiftly to prove the UK’s commitment to the international community.

Wright outlined three risks the country faces post-Brexit: a more inward-looking Britain that is fully consumed by Brexit; incoherent external policy that is driven commercially rather than politically; and a failure to grapple with the changing international context, evidenced by the rise of China and Russia, as well as rising levels of inequality and popular insurgency.  Wright then proposed five areas the foreign office should focus on to form its foreign policy. First, the foreign office needs to clearly articulate the vision for Global Britain. Second, the UK must figure out how to do more with less and avoid commitment without impact. Third, without the stage of European Union politics for alliance building, the UK must prioritise how it uses the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and where. Fourth, the government must mobilise the entire British population, not just London, behind any grand strategy to ensure its success. Finally, the foreign office needs to be consistent. Wright ended by pointing out that Brexit will only become more intense with trade negotiations on the horizon and a plethora of actors and interests that will need to be balanced at home and abroad. Above all, the UK needs to ensure that it builds a strong, deep partnership with the EU despite its departure.

London Event 20 November – The Future of UK Grand Strategy

Tuesday, 20 November, 6pm, Bush House, South East Wing, 44-46 Aldwych, London.

A PS21 event in collaboration with Strife Blog at King’s College London

British foreign policy is at a point of inflection. After the recent decision to leave the European Union there is greater and greater consensus that Britain must reassess its role in the world. There is less consensus, however, as to what that role might be. Should Britain act as a facilitator for maintaining the strength of the traditional Western and European alliances? Should Britain seek out other opportunities with non-Western powers like China or India. Or should Britain simply retreat from the global international order altogether. Similar questions should be asked about the nature of these contending foreign policy visions. Will these relationships only go as far as issues of defence and security? Or should these be comprehensive alliances tackling everything from trade to human rights. In short, the UK must reassess its grand strategic priorities. To help this task we have an expert panel which will approach the question of what British priorities should be and how that strategy should unfold from distinct viewpoints.

Peter Apps (Moderator) – Global Affairs Columnist and Executive Director of PS21

Meia Nouwens – (twitter handle: @MeiaNouwens) Research Fellow for Chinese Defence Policy and Military Modernisation, IISS

Georgina Wright – (twitter handle: @georginaEwright): Research Associate, Europe Programme, Chatham House

Peymana Assad – (twitter handle: @Peymasad): Defence and International Development Expert, Plan International UK

Dr. Charlie Laderman – Lecturer in International History, King’s College London

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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