Past Annual Lectures
Here you can find an overview of the past Annual Lectures run by the David Davies Memorial Institute. For other past events, please click HERE.
22 February 2016
DDMI Annual Lecture 2016 - 'Losing the Narrative: The United Kingdom and the European Union' by Lord William Wallace
12 November 2015
2015 David Davies Memorial Institute Annual Lecture titled 'Remember Humanity: Security Imperatives to Ban Nuclear Weapons' by Dr. Rebecca Johnson
27 February 2014
Professor Rosemary Hollis is a leading analyst of Middle Eastern affairs. She is presently Professor of Middle East Policy Studies and director of the Olive Tree Programme at City University London. She delivered her lecture, ''Britain and the Palestine Question, 1914-2014,'' in the Main Hall of the International Politics Building on 27 February 2014. The vidcast of her lecture is now availalbe.
12 March 2013
The 2013 DDMI Annual Lecture was given by Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, in the United States Department of State. His lecture was entitled "Is it realist to think we can advance democracy and human rights?" and took place on Tuesday 19 March in the Main Hall of the International Politics Building, Aberystwyth University.
01 November 2012
The internationally esteemed historian Professor Norman Davies gave the 2012 Annual Lecture on 1 November 2012 in the Old Hall Lecture Theatre, Old College, Aberystwyth University.
05 May 2011
Professor Robert Jervis of Columbia University, New York, is one of the leading academics internationally, and it was a considerable coup to get him to deliver the Annual Lecture on Thursday 5 May 2011.
28 April 2010
"The Importance of Political Leadership in Achieving a Nuclear Weapon Free World" - The Rt. Hon. Des Browne
28 April 2009
"Rescripting Security: Gender and Peacebuilding in South Asia" by Dr Meenakshi Gopinath
23 April 2008
"The Responsibility to Protect: An Idea Whose Time has Come… And Gone?" - The Hon. Gareth Evans, AO QC
26 April 2007
"After Trident: Peace or Proliferation?" by John Gittings
24 April 2006
"Globalisation or Polarisation: Where are we Heading?" by Sir Jeremy Greenstock
28 April 2005
Sir Emyr Jones Parry (the UK Permanent Representative to the UN) delivered the first Annual Lecture of the DDMI since it moved to Aberystwyth in 2002.
In this lecture H.E. Dr. Abdel-Meguid shared his thoughts on recent developments in the Middle East. While acknowledging its limitations, he defended the Arab League as “the overall institution which binds all the Arab states together.” The recent Gulf crisis demonstrated the importance of regional institutions, especially given the lack of long-term legitimacy with externally imposed systems of security. He suggested that there were many positive signs for peace and cooperation in the Arab world: the readiness of all peoples in the area to construct a durable peace, the common resolve of the two superpowers in the area, singling out especially President Bush and Secretary of State Baker, and finally the participation of the European Community. He noted that there were still problems with Israeli policy that was holding back progress, especially its building of new settlements and its refusal to accept the Land for Peace deal, but understood from historical experience in the area that negotiation is often a difficult process that requires patience and perseverance. He called on all parties to engage in good faith negotiations to solve their differences.
In this lecture Jan Urban warned about the uncertainty involved in the democratisation of Central of Eastern Europe with the overthrow of the Communist dictatorships in 1989. He noted that the historical experience of fledgling democracies that cannot economically provide for their populace was not very encouraging. This was especially the case given that most countries in Central and Eastern Europe had little history of democracy. There were already some signs of nationalist politicians using populist issues to successfully gain popularity. Western governments needed to ensure that there was a plan to successfully democratise Central and Eastern Europe focusing on economic problems dealt with through supra-national economic systems, not by supporting individual states. In addition, regional not national development projects needed to be fostered. Urban explained that Central and Eastern Europe had the resources and labour to compete successfully with some initial help. Cultural and political exchanges, the creation of constitutions, setting up proper civil services and drafting legislation should be prioritised.
In this lecture Dr. Martin Holdgate discussed the potential changes that will occur in the global environment as of 2030. He focused on what he called ‘unstoppable trends,’ or those trends which are caused by a large number of people through innumerable small actions which themselves cannot be seen a detrimental and which have substantial lags between cause and effect. The population boom was the first, a tribute to modern medicine. In some areas nutrition will limit this growth because water supplies are inadequate or the soil becomes over-exploited. Populations in these situations are likely to migrate, threatening the stability of some nations. The second unstoppable trend was cited as the deforestation through increased agricultural demand - although not all deforestation causes environmental disaster as conservation efforts can create sustainable patterns of development. The third unstoppable trend was desertification or land degradation - though once again recent advances in science help negate such problems. Fourth, a continuing loss of biodiversity that even with conservation efforts, is likely to continue. Fifth, Urban discussed the problem of pollution, especially given some of the long-term damage already done to the environment. Lastly climate change was cited as having potentially catastrophic effects, especially to those living in coastal zones. It was suggested that the solution to these problems lie in politics, as recent experience has shown that science and technology are likely not to be the limiting factors. Still, we need to continue to share scientific knowledge, help developing countries evaluate environmental trends, take steps to reduce CFCs and greenhouse gases and transfer environmentally-friendly technologies to the developing world.
In this lecture The Honourable Abba Eban discussed the political, social and economic conditions of Israel. He noted its successful growth and defence from its creation. He also mentioned that the initial international acceptance of the state of Israel came at the cost of not being able to claim all land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea; instead, they would have to share sovereignty and territory with the Palestine people. This non-monopolisation of territory and sovereignty, essential for the birth of the nation, needs to be considered in modern debates. Equally, those Palestine Arabs who want one hundred percent of the land back only harm their cause, as in diplomacy those who ask for all or nothing are more likely to get nothing than to get all. The only way forward comes when both parties find the existing position unsatisfactory. This is especially the case with Israel, given the conditions faced by the Palestinians are clearly disagreeable. It is clear that the current situation is also bad for the state of Israel in that it weakens its economy, distorts its image and complicates its regional and international relations. A third party is necessary for success given the lack of initial confidence and credibility between the two sides.
In this lecture Dr. Garet FitzGerald discussed the nature of identity in conflicts with a focus on Northern Ireland. He noted that the source of identities are not known – some have long historical experience, others do not, some are based on language, some not, some on religion, some not. There must be some type of differentiation, but this can come in many shapes. He reviewed the complex issues at work with respect to identity in Northern Ireland, especially the fractured and contested nature of both the Unionists and the Nationalists. He continued to explore the interests and responsibilities of both the Irish and British governments in Northern Ireland.
In this lecture Sir Oliver Wright examined the British view of America, questioning why it was so poor. He believed that the opposition was the result of a misunderstanding of American character grounded in different historical experiences. He looked at the political differences between the two states – the American distrust of executive power led to a Constitution where power is diversified, the President as the only elected official to take decisions on the electorate’s behalf, the maze of administrative politics and the decline of the eastern establishment in the United States that had more in common with Britain. He discussed the appeal of Reagan and the problems in Iran. He called on the British to make more effort to understand the character of America, noting the potential positive contributions that state could make on the world state.
In this lecture Professor Inis Claude, Jr. discussed seven myths concerning how people conceptualise states. The first, the ‘peas in a pod’ myth, is where states are seen as essentially equal units. The second, the ‘solid state’ myth, is where states seen to be marked by internal solidarity and consensus. The third, the ‘monolithic government’ myth, occurs when states are conceptualised as having institutional unity. The fourth, or the ‘almighty state’ myth, occurs when the state is seen as an omnipotent entity who can wield power to oppress or destroy, and is therefore the most important threat to humane values. The fifth, or the ‘bloodthirsty state’ myth, happens when people become over-concerned with the ability of states to make war with the assumption that military potential leads directly to a propensity to war. The sixth, or the ‘immoral state’ myth, happens when people see international life as totally selfish and irresponsible. The last, or the ‘outmoded state’ myth, describes when people believe the state is obsolete or rapidly becoming so.
In this lecture Maurice F. Strong looked at the problems facing Africa through the lens of colonialism. Noting how it wrenched Africans from their traditional ways of life and made them subject to alien political and economic interests, he argued that many current problems emanate from this historical context. The recent famine in Ethiopia was as much caused by the political conditions as it was from a lack of rainfall over consecutive years, specifically the deficiencies and imbalances within the development processes in different African societies. Some of the more stable African countries were able to successfully implement drought preparedness programs, but for others such as Ethiopia the scope of the problem was overwhelming. In addition, logistical problems and the lack of sufficient infrastructure meant that though food aid was plentiful, transportation for the food was not. This was all part of a backdrop of population growth that exceeds agricultural growth, low commodity prices - combined with the 1970s oil crisis leading to the debt crisis - and rising military expenditures. On the other hand, Africa has a higher ratio of arable land per capita that any other developing region, a strong culture and value system based on the extended family and mutual support to promote development, energy and mineral resources and receives substantial foreign aid. He finally reviewed the Lagos Plan of Action on development and critiqued some of its elements.
In this lecture the Crown Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan examined the role of Jordan in the Middle East Peace Process, noting how they have firmly supported all international initiatives to solve the Palestine and other Middle Eastern problems. However, the failure of these initiatives to date stems from the incoherence and contradictions of the various processes. He noted that despite the problems with Israeli foreign policy – forging a separate peace with Egypt without offering similar agreements to other states, the invasion of Lebanon and the treatment of the Palestinians – Jordan still persisted in finding constructive policies for a peaceful settlement. Jordan currently negotiates not just with the PLO but with several West Bank leaders and liaises with other Arab countries to promote Arab consensus on the peace process. He also discussed the important but problematic role of the United States in the process and the contributions the European Community could make to the situation.
In this lecture Sir John Adams looked at the relationships between scientists and politicians or civil servants. Up to World War II, he argued that the two groups existed relatively independently. However, after the end of the war statesmen become increasingly interested in putting public money into scientific endeavours, causing them to be heavily involved with each other. Using his experiences at CERN, he showed how this relationship developed from the first proposal to create this international research institute in Europe in 1949. He referred to the political problems arising from choosing locations for later projects, especially when the post-war boom began to slow down. He noted that because the scientists came from similar university background with shared experiences, they would normally be the ones who had the unity to take the initiative to lobby European governments for new equipment. He also noted that civil servants would often be associated with CERN projects over many years, creating long-term continuity in state governments. This would change their interests, making them more likely to support project. This was the opposite for politicians, who having relatively short terms would only be involved for major decisions. He concluded by making some recommendations based on his experiences.
In this lecture Michael Howard discussed the relationship between the maintenance of national armaments, especially nuclear armaments, and the preservation of international peace. He offered a critique of those who believe that increasing nuclear weapons will lead to greater instability in the international system. He noted that an essential requirement of peace was order, but not any order. There will be status quo powers for whom the international system is satisfactory, but also revisionist states for whom it is not. This imbalance leads to international instability and is a far larger threat to peace than an increase in armaments as such. Thus, peace must mean the maintenance and incremental improvement of the existing international order. He also discussed the role of bellicist states, or those that see war as a natural or superior way to settle contentious issues. Thus, armaments themselves do not create a threat to peace, especially those who believe that an increase in the number of armaments will destabilise the system. Instead, it is the high cost of a nuclear strike from the other side that makes it difficult to conceive of any political objective that would warrant the cost. This nuclear dread is what will keep the system stable and drive states to the conference table.
In this lecture the Honourable Georgy P. Shultz spoke to how risk and uncertainty dominate international affairs. He argued that this was especially the case in the economic sphere, potentially leading to a loss in investment and decreased trade. It is necessary to take these uncertainties, identify then and convert them into manageable risk. He stressed the need for trading rules and institutions, suggesting a Bretton Woods II focusing on trade, investment, development and national economic policy. He concluded by giving many suggestions in each of these areas.
In this lecture the Right Honourable Lord Carrington commemorated the 25th anniversary of the first DDMI annual lecture, noting now the question for peace is an ongoing process. He discussed the history and meaning of interdependence, focusing on technological revolution and ideological revolution before comparing the two. He attacked Marxism as a false pseudo-science and used the invasion of Afghanistan as a case study to highlight the nature of interdependence and the role of the West. He called on the West to reduce armaments, deal with North-South inequality, develop coherent nuclear energy strategies, stabilise the international monetary system and break out of inflation, recession and unemployment.
In this lecture Dr. Guido Brunner spoke about the problem of securing energy sources for Europe. He reviewed the reaction to the original OPEC crisis in 1973/74 that created unemployment and monetary instability in Europe. He forecasted that the waste society is coming to an end with a move away from an oil-based regime. He looked at how the European Community attempted to use market solutions to ease out of the crisis, but noted that the market is unlikely to respond properly to the future shortages immediately, so political decisions, both domestic and foreign, will have to be made. For instance, he called for the stabilisation of the Middle East and an expansion of energy-based instruments in European treaties. He also called for programs to help less developed countries for whom the costs of the oil crisis are much higher.
In this lecture Professor Sir Hermann Bondi discussed the implications for citizenship of the subject of defence. He believed that British defence is linked to the NATO Alliance whose main purpose should be the deterrence of military options by the Warsaw Pact Alliances always bring stresses and strains between members with respect to moral and physical burden sharing. When judging the actions of the United States, being in a dominant position with more responsibilities, we should give more benefit of doubt in their actions though sharing with them some of the pressing moral problems. Though acknowledging that nuclear weapons are ‘terribly nasty,’ he defended their necessity within NATO strategy from the view of deterring potential wars of limited liability by the great powers. Overall, the prevention of war is the primary goal of defence agencies. This involves not only an understanding of our allies, but also those on the other side. Stability is the most important aim, not because the world that we live in is the best of all possible, but because the forcible redrawing of borders is unlikely to make anyone happier.
In this lecture the Right Honourable George Thomson discussed the experience of Britain in joining the European Community. He noted how some of the more dire predictions, such as a flood of immigrants, had not transpired. He hoped that Britain could move from looking at whether the EC is 'good' or 'bad' to a position where the question is how Britain can play a part in the successful development of the community. He noted the many successes so far – the importance of Franco-German reconciliation, the lack of strategic protectionism in times of recession, the successes of the EC in foreign relations with the United States and Japan, the partnerships between the EC and developing countries and the creation of the EC’s Regional Development Fund. He warned that if national attitudes are allowed to hold sway in Europe, the economic future of the world will be determined by either the United States or Japan with Europe on the sidelines.
In this lecture Sir Michael Palliser took a retrospective look at British diplomacy since 1945. He argued that the fundamental problem with British diplomacy has been focusing on response or reaction over forethought and invention. He noted the large relative decline in power since 1945 with respect to the United States and other rising powers. Still, he argued that Britain exerts a disproportionate influence on the world. After the war, Britain successfully navigated two difficult challenges: the end of Empire and Europe’s post-war economic recovery. However, Britain has subsequently been overly reactive to European policy, especially concerning membership in the EC. Given the number of problems that are faced today, Britain needs more than ever to use the influence it has to successfully solve them. Britain must realise that it does not have the same power as before, but this should not lead to an exaggeration of its weakness.
In this lecture, the Right Honourable Sir Alec Douglas-Home spoke to the changes in British foreign policy after World War II. He pointed out that the shrinking power of Britain has caused this change, though this change must not be either over- or understated. The two common errors are either the failure to recognise that the position of Britain has changed or to believe that this change was so monumental that Britain has little to no power or influence. He gave a brief history of British power, noting the negative effects of World War II. He advocated greater participation in the European Union, noted the problems faced in the Cold War and the Middle East conflict, and suggested that the promotion of peace must always be the goal of British policy.
In this lecture, Alexander King discussed the relationship between science and technology on the one hand and social and economic development on the other. He noted the importance of scientific development for economic growth, however not all types of research induce economic growth. The latter requires innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, including effective management, good fiscal policies, the availability of capital and good marketing skills. He also addressed the social problems that arise with growth, including pollution and mass urbanisation, and the way in which governments have attempted to meet some of these new needs. He listed three main trends in future research: the continued need for research to advance economic conditions, the management and control of this technology in relation to social life and the use of research to provide solutions to social problems under direct government supervision, such as education and health. He discussed ‘the problematique’ of modern economic societies, or the many social and economic ills whose interrelationship makes them resistant to discrete solutions. Governments, whose structures hail from an earlier and simpler time, have bureaucratic inertia that stifles change and continuous conflicts between short and long-term interests with election cycles, have had difficulty in properly dealing with the problematique. He discussed several developments, including a controversial report to the Club of Rome entitled ‘The Limits to Growth,’ which he discussed in some detail.
In this lecture, Dr. Rosalyn Higgins and Brigadier Michael Harbottle spoke on the issue of United Nations Peacekeeping. Dr. Higgins reviewed the legal basis for peacekeeping and some of its controversies, especially among those states who believed in a much more limited role. She argued, using historical examples, that despite these reservations, peacekeeping has been driven by pragmatism that prevented vetoes against certain peacekeeping missions from being used in the Security Council. She discussed the controversies over the role of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in peacekeeping, with the Soviets trying to limit the position’s role in favour of the Security Council. She expressed some dismay at the financial problems peacekeeping faces given the voluntary nature of the current funding process. She looked at the role of host government consent and explored ways in which reports from the field could come back to the United Nations. Brigadier Harbottle claimed that since its inception, peacekeeping had more successes than it had failures. He noted that those critical of the process generally have a broader understanding of peacekeeping - to both provide a peaceful settlement and resolve the conflict - than their mandate generally gives them, and provided historical examples of how the mission was successful but politics created a problem. He gave some suggestions to improve the service, including how to successfully operationalize Russian calls for the Security Council to control missions, the creation of a built-in early warning system in the United Nations, and some practical matters on preparedness and organisation for the different set of rules peacekeepers operate under.
In this lecture, J. E. S. Fawcett discussed the growth in the complexity of conservation efforts. He noted the conflict between three major objectives of society: economic growth and development, the conservation of the environment and the security of basic rights and freedoms. Unlike ecosystems that strive towards balance, the demands of economic growth push things in an open-ended manner without a goal or limit. He discussed both the problem of non-renewable resources and the development that goes into finding alternatives. He also looked at how certain rights, like those to a family or property, could be affected by environmental concerns. He stressed the political nature of most environmental problems, noting that most have technical solutions that could be implemented should the political will exist. He called for the increased coordination and stream-lining of the activities between governmental and non-governmental bodies, where the expertise in conservation problems meet tests of independence and publicity. He explored the idea of international property in commodities and some models of sub-regional development.
In this lecture, F. S. Northedge reviewed the work of himself and others in the understanding of how to come to peaceful resolutions within international disputes. He noted the creation of the World Court at The Hague, attempts by the United Nations General Assembly and a study by the David Davies Institute conducted by Dr. Northedge himself as recent developments. He noted the difference between disputes - which arise within a context of generally amicable international relations - and situations of friction - where there is an antagonism between different ways of life, religion or ideology. He explained that in his study approximately 60% of all disputes were settled peacefully, showing that the international system already has a reasonable capacity to deal with these matters. However, he cautioned that many times disputes are settled only through the rise of new disputes. He continued to classify different types of disputes, pointing out the uniquely territorial nature of the state that does not allow physical escape from problems with its neighbours and also accounts for the most basic type of dispute – the demarcation of borders. More problematically, states are not unitary and can have internal wars that draw in neighbouring states. He notes that the advent of nuclear weapons and the creation of the United Nations are the two biggest aspects of modern dispute settlement. He finally addressed the issue of whether some states are more dispute-prone than others, focusing on the relation between state power and disputes.
In this lecture, C. Wilfred Jinks examined the relationship between Britain and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). He reviewed the history of its creation noting the large role the government of Britain and British citizens played both in its creation and sustenance. He pondered the future role of the ILO and how Britain could continue to influence the organisation. He looked to the future place of law, the place of labour/management relations, ideological conflict and co-operation between countries and what role Britain and the ILO. could play, giving recommendations for each.
In this lecture, R. R. Neild discussed the way in which disarmament had been almost abandoned as a subject of policy in the last five years. He noted the problem associated with the increasing amount of nuclear weapons, particularly the probability of accidental or intentional launch. Given these concerns, he believed that there had been little action to reduce the levels of nuclear weapons, that despite some progress such as the partial test ban and non-proliferation treaties nuclear development has continued to move forward. He pointed to the lack of intellectual and political leadership in the disarmament camp, the way that intellectuals have been co-opted by the military or government and the rise of game theoretic and other abstract mathematical methods as the cause for this lack of concern. He critiqued the 'small-c' conservatism of conventional wisdom and the lack of creativity or foresight in realism. He also spoke against the recent decision for the United States to create a ballistic missile defence system. He finally called on the government of Britain to be ready to act with greater independence, openly disagreeing with the United States when their values differ and showing leadership in the disarmament issue.
In this lecture, the Right Honourable Sir Edward Boyle spoke to the need to promote an international understanding within the British education system. He presented four reasons why introducing this into the curriculum would be beneficial: because it permits an understanding of the economic needs of others for trading purposes, it promotes the ability to think beyond the national group, it finds itself in a synergy with the current tendency for young British people to be interested in visiting other states, especially when paired with development projects, and it has the ability to mitigate some of the problems of immigration within Britain. He proceeded to give some examples of successful programmes and listed some priorities, including the purchasing of audio-visual equipment, the need for textbooks to encourage discussion on contemporary topics, and the creation of new research centres at British universities to study world order.
In this lecture, J. E. S. Fawcett discusses some of the new problems facing states now that we have the technology to put both machines and ourselves into space. He stressed the need to create agreements, like that of the Antarctica Convention, which will regulate this space. He reviewed some of the progress made in manned and unmanned craft that orbited earth or explored other celestial objects. He warned against the possibility of contamination of these ships should they return to Earth with, for instance, alien viruses. There are also potential environmental problems involved with larger rockets or nuclear testing in the upper atmosphere. He then examined the current progress made on the issue between the United States and the Soviet Union.
In this lecture, Sir John Cockcroft explored some of the reasons why nuclear and conventional disarmament should be a goal for the superpowers and some of the problem associated with a successful disarmament program. He noted that the amount of nuclear weapons was enough to bring disaster to the world, and that sooner or later proliferation would occur, only further increasing the potential for any state to use these weapons. He described a three state disarmament program where an International Disarmament Organisation would be set up and conventional armed forces cut followed by a cut in nuclear weapon delivery systems by 30% and a subsequent reduction of fissile material production and its transfer. He noted that there were problems with verification and the potential to quickly remobilise conventional forces.
In this lecture, Lord Salter discussed the institutional problems facing the United Nations and suggests some solutions. He noted that the primary problem is that the Security Council is bound up in superpower rivalry, leading to a constant succession of vetoes without any decisions being made. He reflected that the League of Nations was based on an idea of consent even stronger than that of the United Nations, extending power to smaller as well as larger nations. This idea, he claimed, was at least more logical. Either way, the success of either institution is dependent on agreement between its most important members. As to alternatives, he explored three ideas: that the Assembly be given new powers to make legally binding decisions, the Charter be amended to remove the veto powers of the permanent members of the Security Council, or that the project be abandoned all together in order, all of which he disagreed with. On the other hand, he supported ideas to supplement the United Nations with an international system that is consistent with the Charter but outside of it.
In this lecture, Dr. Gilbert Murray reviewed the intellectual history leading up to the creation of the League of Nations. He discussed some of the major works and organisations that created the backdrop necessary for the League’s creation, focusing on the many difficulties that arose in both competing visions and practical matters. He believed that the League of Nations experience taught them the immense strength of national feeling and vanity that can be aroused under appropriate circumstances.
In the first DDMI Annual Lecture, Professor William E. Rappard, Director of the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva, spoke on "The Quest for Yesterday and Today." Professor Rappard spoke at the Cowdray Hall, a popular central London venue, and the Rt. Hon. P. J. Noel-Baker, M.P, who had recently agreed to become chairman of the DDMI, was in charge of the proceedings.