skip to content

Centre for Geopolitics

Providing historically-grounded solutions to enduring geopolitical problems

The two-day online symposium is convened by the journal Global Responsibility to Protect, the Centre for Grand Strategy at King’s College London, and the Centre for Geopolitics at the University of Cambridge.

About the symposium

This symposium will look at the past, present, and future(s) of intervention for humanitarian purposes.  The last two decades have demonstrated the difficulty of military intervention for humanitarian purposes, and the cost in resources and lives lost of often unsuccessful missions.  We will explore forcible and non-forcible intervention, in a broad historical perspective.  In a time of fracturing multilateralism and a complicated legacy of earlier missions, how can a demand for action be matched by political will and military capability?   This symposium will bring together scholarship developing a finer grained appreciation of historical approaches to ‘saving strangers’, ask where these stand in the context of R2P, and how the rapidly evolving international order will shape future responses

6 September 


Keynote Conversation 1

Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King's College London in conversation with Jonathan Powell, Downing Street Chief of Staff from 1997 to 2007. Hosted by Dr Cecilia Jacob, Co-Editor-in-Chief Global Responsibility to Protect and Fellow in the Department of International Relations at the Coral Bell School, Australian National University.



Panel 1: International Order(s)

Moderated by Cecilia Jacob (Global Responsibility to Protect and Australian National University

  • Luke Glanville (Australian National University): New and old habits of human protection: Is the R2P era so different from the 1990s or even the 1890s?
  • Anastasia Prokhorova (Central European University): The Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect: Performing Norm Leadership
  • Patrick Wight & Yuriko Cowper-Smith (Independent Researchers): The Limits of Non-Interventionism in Response to Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing



Panel 2: National & International Policy

Moderated by Kate Ferguson (Protection Approaches)

  • Blanka Jamnišek (Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and Vasilka Sancin (University of Ljubljana): Operationalization of Responsibility to Protect Through Peace Missions: Experience of Slovene Armed Forces
  • Blake Lawrinson (University of Leeds): Implementing the Integrated Review in a post-liberal order: Towards UK global soft power leadership on human protection
  • Csaba Törö (Karoli Gaspar University of the Reformed Church in Hungary): Lessons from the Syrian carnage: collective subsidiary remedial action without UN mandate as a possible way out of institutional deadlock in the Security Council in times of humanitarian emergencies?

7 September 2021



Panel 3: Civil Societies

Moderated by Charlie Hunt (Global Responsibility to Protect and RMIT University / UN University)

  • Christopher Tuckwood, Drew Boyd, and Yuriko Cowper-Smith (The Sentinel Project): The role of NGOs in genocide prevention: The Sentinel Project in action
  • Felicity Gray (Australian National University): Relational R2P? Civilian-led prevention and protection against atrocity crimes
  • Samuel Owusu-Antwi (University of Ghana): Beyond the Libya intervention narrative: (How) Does R2P still matter to Africa?



Panel 4: Theories

Moderated by Thomas Peak (University of Cambridge)

  • Adithya Anil Variath (Maharashtra National Law University): “Law of Gravity” and the Cosmopolitan discourse of R2P in the post-Liberal International Disorder
  • Timo Kivimäki (University of Bath): Can Military Power Save Strangers? Discourses and Practices
  • Flamur Krasniqi (University of Cambridge): A Responsibility to Respond: Violence interdependence and territory as a resource




Keynote Conversation 2

Professor Jennifer Welsh, Canada 150 Research Chair in Global Governance and Security and Director of the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies at McGill University in conversation with Ms. Karen Smith Special Adviser of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect. Hosted by Dr Thomas Peak, Research Associate at the Centre for Geopolitics, Cambridge University

Register to attend on Zoom

If you'd like to see how we use your information when registering for an event, click here

Monday, 6 September, 2021 - 09:00 to Tuesday, 7 September, 2021 - 15:00
Event location: