Public launch of the ‘Security in Transition’-programme

  • Date: 2 November 2011
  • Time: 18:30-20:00
  • Venue: Old Theatre, LSE
  • Chair: Professor Tim Allen,
  • Speakers: Lakhdar Brahim, Javier Solana, Professor Mary Kaldor,

Mind the gap: Javier Solana and Lakhdar Brahimi join Mary Kaldor to launch pioneering research programme on contemporary security.

On 2 November 2011, political luminaries gathered at the LSE to celebrate the launch of Security in Transition: An Interdisciplinary Investigation of the Security Gap, a major research initiative led by Professor Mary Kaldor, which explores the gap between outmoded state responses and contemporary security risks including terrorism, the financial crisis and environmental degradation.

Elder statesmen Javier Solana, former secretary general of NATO and the Council of the European Union, and Lakhdar Brahimi, who served as head of the UN assistance mission in Afghanistan, joined a distinguished advisory board of international academics and NATO representatives at a milestone meeting to discuss current security needs and capabilities, before addressing the public on contemporary security threats of a rapidly changing world. 

Solana told the audience: “This research programme is crucial to understand the problems we have today – not only the classic problem of security but problems related to the new, wider definiton of security. We are in the second wave of a transition that started in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The world of today is defined by a massive transfer of power from the Atlantic world to the Pacific world. This means that everything is changing, including the security component.”

Brahimi referred to our current “Orwellian world of double-speak” in discussing the implementation of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ in international relations over the past decade. ”When we speak about the responsibility to protect we speak about Sudan, we speak about Libya. But why not about Iraq? Why not about Palestine? The kind of world we are constructing leaves people very cynical – the richest, the smartest, the most powerful don’t mean what they say. So this study asks some very, very difficult questions and hopefully some people will pay attention.”

A podcast of the lecture is available to listen to below.