Letter from the Directors, By Professors Brendan Simms and William Hurst

Taken from the Centre’s 2023 Annual Report

Now in its 10th year, the Centre for Geopolitics’ growth continued apace in 2023, in terms of both in-house expertise and engagement with our audiences. As ever, the heart of the Centre is our research that offers a deeper understanding of the world’s most pressing geopolitical challenges: where they come from, how they may develop and how they might be resolved.

We remain indebted to the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit, which through its ongoing support has enabled much of the Centre’s meteoric growth, including funding for three full-time postdoctoral researchers. In early 2024, thanks to the generosity of a benefactor, we will be welcoming a new Research Associate, specialising in the Baltic. This brings us to a total of five full-time ‘postdocs’, which will rise to six later in 2024.

In Michaelmas, we were delighted to bring Dr John Nilsson-Wright, a long-time Centre Affiliate, on board as Head of our new and rapidly expanding Japan and Koreas Programme. John’s addition to the Indo-Pacific team will also help us build a network of research institutions spanning Asia and the Pacific. We explain more about the plans of each research strand in the next section of this report.

The last year also saw more events and even greater engagement with our audiences than the high levels achieved in 2022. Our programme of more than 80 online and in-person events continued to address some of the most serious challenges facing global order and videos of many of them have been viewed thousands of times online, further growing our international impact. An overview of this year’s events programme is detailed on pages 18-21.

Over the Easter vacation, Directors Brendan Simms and Bill Hurst extended our global reach in person, with a very successful trip to Canada helped by Cambridge in America, which quickly bore fruit in the shape of a significant donation. As the Centre expands, our ability to draw on the knowledge of industry and governmental experts has also grown. At the beginning of the year, Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) allowed us to appoint long-term Centre Affiliate Suzanne Raine as official lead on Political/Policy Placement and expand her work with government analysts through our Visiting Scholars Programme (more on page 25).

HEIF additionally enabled the appointment of Michael Grundon as our Media Placement Consultant, working in partnership with our in-house experts to offer analysis to international press and broadcast media, and to establish the Centre as a valued and trusted source. More on the fruits of this engagement can be found on pages 28 & 29. Meanwhile, a generous donor enabled us to appoint Isabelle McRae as Development Consultant, helping to steward our existing donors and develop new sources of funding. We thank our supporters on pages 34 & 35.

Sadly, our long-serving Chair of the Management Committee, Bridget Kendall, stepped down in June when her tenure as Master of Peterhouse had run its term. The Centre is deeply grateful for her advice and support over the years. We were very fortunate to have the Master of Emmanuel College, Doug Chalmers, former Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, step into her shoes in November. We look forward to working closely with Doug, who will help guide the Centre through the implementation of its business and further growth, engagement and impact in 2024.

 

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