Global Insecurities conference success
Postgraduate research students in the School of Politics and International Studies celebrate success with their Global Insecurities conference, which included keynote speech from BBC News World Affairs Editor, John Simpson.
10 years after 9/11 changed the course of politics so dramatically, the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds held a conference on the 5th and 6th September 2011 to analyse the nature of global political insecurities since those deadly attacks on the twin towers. More than anything, the conference addressed and examined the nature of insecurities through a multi-disciplinary discussion; Over 70 Scholars and professionals of Politics, Economics, Law and History, originating from 6 different continents, travelled to Leeds for the conference.
This varied and diverse group participated in 20 different sessions which covered issues from the political theory of counterinsurgency, to first-hand accounts of fighting terrorism in Indonesia, to discussions on human security. Dr. Brad Evans also made available his video, 10 Years of Terror, which was screened on both days of the conference, coinciding with the launch of his Histories of Violence project.
Of note was a keynote address made by BBC World Editor John Simpson. Mr Simpson raised the interesting idea of adding a temporal aspect to the discussion of insecurities, potentially opening up new avenues of inquiry and ways of thinking that contrast to otherwise short-sighted responses to contemporary insecurities. In addition keynote addresses were given by Professor Mark Duffield and via video link from New York, Dr. Benjamin Barber.
The conference was organised and run mainly by a group of current PhD students at POLIS. PhD student Simon Mabon and his colleague Dr. James Worrall, who recently obtained his PhD from Leeds, conceived the idea for a conference late in 2010, and by January 2011 had recruited a team to help plan and run the event from other PhD students at the department. Faiz Sheikh, Anne Flaspoeler, Daniel Bumke, Ben Cislaghi, Gordon Clubb Terry Hathaway all came on board in January 2011 and the team worked quickly and efficiently, with the invaluable support of School administrators Caroline Wise and Helen Philpott, to make the best use possible of the funding graciously given to the conference by Professor Jason Ralph.
Over-all the two days were a resounding success. The conference received many positive comments and feedback from many of the participants, including researchers and students from a variety of HE institutions all over the globe, as well as from POLIS staff members Jason Ralph, Clive Jones, Graeme Davies and Alan Craig, who all participated at the conference. It is hoped that the success helps to raise the profile of POLIS both within the UK and abroad.
Given the fantastic experiences had by those who participated in the conference, and the valuable operational knowledge that the organisers gained, it is hoped that PhD students and the department at large can get together to hold another successful event next year.