Event Highlights: Liberty and Security in a Time of Global Reordering
On March 5 and 6, 2012, a number of Boston University faculty took part in an international conference on human security at Boston University. The two-day event, entitled Liberty and Security in a Time of Global Reordering [download program], was organized by the Center for the Study of Europe at Boston University, in cooperation with the Center for the Study of Asia and the Center for International Relations, with funding from GR:EEN: a European Commission Seventh Framework program examining the current and future role of the European Union in an emerging multipolar world. Boston University is one of 16 universities around the world participating in the program.
The focus of the conference was on human rights and security issues and the ways in which rights are seen as a legitimate part of the security discourse. Panel discussions included “Power Relations and Global Challenges in a Time of the BRICS,” “The Rise of the BRICS: Emerging Issues,” “Europe, the US, and the Middle East,” “Religion, Radicalization, and Counterterrorism,” and “Cultural Discourses of Human Security”. Keynote speeches were given by Shaun Breslin, professor of politics and international studies at the University of Warwick—where GR:EEN is headquartered—and Andrew Bacevich.
Given the recognition that security can mean different things to different people in different places and at different times, the idea was to “fix” the concept of security by focusing on the core demands of humanity in relation to freedom from fear and freedom from want, an approach encapsulated in the concept of “human security.” It has been a core commitment of the European Union to work for the enhancement of human security, and thereby human rights, around the world. A key test of how the EU adapts to a reshaped world order will be whether it can retain its commitment to such values.
Prior to the conference, the center hosted an exploratory workshop entitled Actor Networks in International Political Economy [download program]. The workshop brought together scholars from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss actors and networks in the international political economy, with particular reference to the role of the state and learning and activism within policy networks.