skip to content

Centre for Geopolitics

Providing historically-grounded approaches to enduring geopolitical problems.
Chess plans

By Brendan Simms

In January’s newsletter, we looked ahead to what might be coming our way on the world stage. This time, we would like to share with you some of the Centre’s plans for the year to come. 2022 promises to be a transformative twelve months for us in several ways. First, it will see unprecedented growth, most of it arising out of the start of the Ax:son Johnson Institute for Diplomacy and Statecraft at the Centre. This initiative is a partnership with the Margaret and Axel Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit, and with three other universities: King’s College London, Johns Hopkins in Washington, and the Stockholm School of Economics. We are currently in the process of finalizing three full-cost PhD studentships beginning in October of this year. We have also advertised three two-year Post-Doctoral Fellowships in historical and contemporary geopolitics (we are particularly interested in candidates working on peace-making in the Middle East, Indo-Pacific Orders, and the UK Union) to be taken up at the same time. The successful candidates will be joined by the recently-appointed National Army Museum and Queens’ College Fellow working on British military history in the eighteenth century. So together with our Baltic Research Fellow, Dr Donatas Kupciunas, we will have five full-time post-docs at the Centre by October 2022!

Secondly, this year will also see our most intensive exchanges with the world of government and policy so far. There are several Roundtables on European Order and Indo-Pacific Orders planned including on one of the places where the two intersect, the role of the People’s Republic of China in the Baltic Sea Region.  Thanks to a generous grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, we will be able to take forward our work on the Indo-Pacific through a series of panels, lectures, and roundtables. We also plan to expand our offering on the island of Ireland, whose destiny is as ever tied up with the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, and to resume in-person meetings on the Westphalia for the Middle East Project.

Thirdly, now that some of the World is beginning to open up, this year will be a critical one for engaging with academics, the public, and other stakeholders. March will see a major conference at Cambridge on the role of the Baltic states in the dissolution of the Soviet Union, organized by Rt Hon Charles Clarke under the auspices of the Baltic Geopolitics Programme. In April, Brendan Simms will go to Paris to represent the Centre at a meeting of the Project for Democratic Union and Jacques Delors Institute on the state of Europe after the pandemic. The following month, the Baltic ‘team’ heads to Helsinki for meetings with our network partners.  In late May and early June, Brendan Simms and his co-author Steve McGregor fly to the United States to promote their new book on Midway and to meet with friends of the Centre in various parts of the country.

The Centre is also engaging more with the undergraduate student body, both at the University and more widely. This is reflected in our support for the Cambridge University Society for Geopolitics, which uses our seminar room and for which we provide speakers, the experimental summer school we are organising with the University of Vilnius in July 2022, and the panel we are fronting at the Cambridge Security Initiative Summer School later that month, which will be our first foray into this very important world.  We will also continue our engagement with graduate students. Each term, the Centre for Geopolitics at Cambridge University invites graduate students (Masters' and PhD level) to present their research in an online seminar. The seminar offers students the opportunity to engage with the wider Baltic geopolitics studies community and to get constructive feedback on their projects. This term we will have speakers from our Baltic Geopolitics Network partners at the University of Greifswald, the University of Tartu and the University of Latvia.