Mary Kaldor

Human security in the age of geopolitics, terrorism and new wars

#KAPTalks celebrated the Human Rights Day on 10th December with a unique lecture on new, unconventional types of wars and ways to prepare for them with prof. Mary Kaldor of London School of Economics.

Monday 10.12.2018

We are living through a period of transition, which is characterized by competing conceptions of power and competing ways of doing security. In contrast to the Cold War and indeed the whole period of modernity, the combination of new wars and the war on terror in places like Syria, DRC, or Yemen is undermining many of the norms and laws of war associated with traditional geo-politics – bombing schools and hospitals, long distance assassination, the use of poison as a weapon or beheadings and sexual slavery – and producing large-scale forced displacement.

Against this background, the Kapuscinski Development Lecture with Professor Mary Kaldor argued that the European Union potentially represents a new form of political authority – a model of global governance in contrast to traditional states like the US, Russia or China. This is illustrated by its security culture as represented by the European Union Global Strategy on foreign and security policy. The Global Strategy aspires to a form of Liberal Peace that is based on human security rather than national security. The evolution of the EU, she argued, depends to a considerable extent on whether the EU adopts a closed-in traditional inside-outside bordered approach to security or alternatively whether it pursues a global human rights-based approach and is able to respond effectively to its crisis-ridden neighborhood. To this end, the promotion of sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions will be of vital importance.

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Mary Kaldor is a Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics. She directs the unit’s largest research project, the Conflict Research Programme (CRP), an international DFID-funded partnership investigating public authority through a theoretical lens of the political marketplace and the concept of civicness across a range of countries in Africa and the Middle East. Professor Kaldor is highly regarded for her innovative work on democratisation, conflict and globalisation. She was a founding member of European Nuclear Disarmament (END), a founder and Co-Chair of the Helsinki Citizen's Assembly and a member of the International Independent Commission to investigate the Kosovo Crisis, established by the Swedish Prime Minister. Professor Kaldor pioneered the concept of new wars and global civil society and her work on the practical implementation of human security has directly influenced European and national politics. Her books include: The Baroque Arsenal, New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era, Global Civil Society: An Answer to War and Human Security: Reflections on Globalization and Intervention. She is also the editor and co-author of the annual Global Civil Society Yearbook. Her books International Law and New Wars (2017), co-authored with Professor Christine Chinkin, and Global Security Cultures (2018) were the outcome of an ERC Advanced grant. At the request of Javier Solana, she was Convener for the Study Group on European Security Capabilities, which produced the influential Barcelona report, 'A Human Security Doctrine for Europe'.

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