By Professor Brendan Simms, Director, and Bill Hurst, Deputy Director

The past year has been one of growth and change for the Centre. When it began, we were – like the rest of the country – still in lockdown, continuing to provide a rich online offering on past and present geopolitics; as the year ends, we are already able to look back on a number of highly successful in-person meetings. With more than 30 events, 18 podcasts, a strong and impactful publication record as well as an active outreach strategy, reflected in both the Centre’s evolution and expansion, we made tremendous progress in 2021.

We are delighted to say that 2021 witnessed a breakthrough in our fundraising. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to increase our research output and have been enabled to do so even more from next year. Here I would like to mention particularly the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit. Their support for the Engelsberg Applied History Programme has allowed us to collaborate with other experts on historically-grounded research, and their new grant to us as a member of the newly founded Ax:son Johnson Institute for Diplomacy and Statetcraft (AJI), is a real game-changer for the Centre for Geopolitics moving forward. We also secured a number of other donations which enabled us to sustain and expand our research capacity.

This year saw a changing of the guard: we bade farewell to our Deputy Director Dr Kun-Chin (KC) Lin who did sterling work in developing the Centre’s work on the Indo-Pacific. We were very fortunate to have been able to win Professor William (Bill) Hurst, Chong Hua Professor of Chinese Development, as our new Deputy Director. Thanks to a generous grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, he will be able to take forward our work on the Indo-Pacific through a series of panels, lectures, and roundtables.

An era also ended with the departure of our Centre Coordinator, the legendary Karri Aston, who substantially transformed the organisation and culture of the Centre. Drs Patrick Milton and Thomas Peak, both mainstays of the Westphalia for the Middle East project, left us as their Fellowships came to an end. We thank them profoundly for their service. Simultaneously, Dr Donatas Kupčiūnas arrived as the Baltic Research Fellow as part of the expansion of our activities in the highly successful Geopolitics of the Baltic Sea Region programme and he has already made a significant contribution to our work. The contribution of all of our Centre’s research assistants and associates has also been invaluable.

The Centre for Geopolitics’ full Annual Report 2021 is available here.

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