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Centre for Geopolitics

Providing historically-grounded approaches to enduring geopolitical problems.

Europe has always been shaped by an order – or orders. Historically, most of these have been internal to the continent, though over the past one hundred years external powers have become more prominent. Today, we once again find ourselves in the force-field of competing orders: the European Union, Brexiting Britain, the USA in the aftermath of Trump, or Putin’s Russia. Many of these actors are themselves internally conflicted about their place in the world and their attitude to Europe.

At this time of exceptional flux, the Centre for Geopolitics is convening events which bring together leading academics, policy makers, analysts and business people. The aim of these events is to explore various facets of future European orders(s), allow intellectual exchange, create networking opportunities and produce concrete outputs and policy impact.  The formats include recurring events such as annual non-hierarchical meetings of academics, NGOs and grass root activists to discuss concrete steps for a bottom up approach of European integration, and an annual high-level roundtable bringing together key decision makers from politics, business and civil society to explore visions for the European continent. In addition, the European orders project also organises thematical conferences, talks and lectures throughout the year focusing on specific political, economic or cultural challenges and chances for the European order.

In due course, the European orders strand hopes to offer research programmes dealing with the whole of the continent, paying particular attention to the United Kingdom’s ordering role, past and present, as well as the interaction between ‘Europe’ and the UK constitution as an incorporating union of four nations. In this context, the Baltic Geopolitics Programme, was launched in January 2020. It aims to understand the enduring role that the UK has played in this vital geopolitical space. The Cambridge seminar on the future of the island of Ireland series, co-hosted by the Centre and Sidney Sussex College, became part of the European Orders strand in June 2021. It explores,among other things, the triangular relationship between Ireland, the European Union and the United Kingdom. Disintegration studies is an additional aspect of the Centre's research which examines the weakening of European orders such as the European Union and NATO, alongside the popularity of national minority movements in multinational states across the continent. The programme asks what such phenomena means for the exisitng trading, social, and political structures, leading to discussion on what could replace these systems should they collapse.


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Professor Brendan Simms Professor Brendan Simms