Debating Security Plus 2018: Conflict, competition and cooperation in an interconnected world

Past event

Peace, Security & Defence


Friends of Europe hosted its sixth worldwide online security forum Debating Security Plus (DS+) in June. The global online brainstorm brought together a unique coalition of over a thousand stakeholders from all over the world with the aim of crowdsourcing policy recommendations to the world’s security threats. A thread running throughout this year’s brainstorm is the strain on the liberal and rules-based world order undermining Western democracies. With the multiplicity and interconnectivity of threats that know no borders, there is a need for collaborative responses from the world’s leaders.

Launched at our Annual Security Summit “A brave new world: Adapting to a changing security landscape” that took place on 20 September, the DS+ report brings together our top 10 recommendations addressing practical policy goals, which are underpinned by a realistic roadmap for implementation.

Recommendations from previous Debating Security Plus reports have impact in ongoing policy discussions, for example on strengthening Europe’s legal migration options to counter human trafficking or recalibrating NATO’s defensive deployment to its Eastern neighbourhood. Last year’s call to strengthen Europe’s defence capabilities toolkit has been reflected in the rapid development of the European Union’s Permanent Structured Cooperation in defence (PESCO).

Building on these, the 2018 recommendations include:

  • Creating an international code of conduct on the military use and security implications of AI
  • Building a credible and effective cyber-deterrence framework
  • Promoting an OSCE-type body for the Middle East
  • Including both nuclear and non-nuclear states to guide the process of tangible denuclearisation
  • Using criminal rehabilitation programmes as a model for re-integrating violent extremists back into society


You can register for the debate here

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Debating Security Plus (DS+) is a unique global online brainstorm that aims to yield concrete recommendations in the area of security and defence. Gathering several thousand participants from around the world, it is the only platform that permits a truly global whole-of-society consultation providing innovative recommendations for some of the world’s most pressing security challenges.

For the sixth time, the 2018 brainstorm will bring together senior international participants from the military, national governments, international organisations and agencies, along with voices from NGOs and civil society, business and industry, the media, think-tanks and academia. Their involvement in our security policy brainstorm will help bridge the gaps between experts and citizens, and their recommendations will aim to inform the implementation of the EU Global Strategy, as well as the policies of national governments and other international institutions as they shape their approaches to peace, security and defence.

From 19 June, 09:00 CEST to 20 June 20:00 CEST, the international security community will debate ideas relating to six different themes where challenges and policy solutions will be discussed by VIP debaters. The discussions will be moderated by leading international think tanks and organisations that will steer discussions towards concrete recommendations.



Theme 1: Countering hybrid threats in the cyber age
Expand Theme 1: Countering hybrid threats in the cyber age
Moderated by the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Finland) & Gateway House (India)

From cyber-espionage and disruptive attacks on critical infrastructure to interference in elections, propaganda, and disinformation campaigns, institutions around the world are increasingly under threat from state or non-state operations. These (mostly digital) risks – if unmitigated – have raised fears of serious breakdowns in states’ economies and societies, increasing the risks of conflict and threatening societal resilience.

  • Should NATO and the EU be developing the use of offensive cyber capabilities in the face of malicious attacks?
  • Can we create a global cyber convention to set out international definitions and rules in cyberspace?
  • How prepared are military forces, including NATO, for AI warfare? Is the West already losing the AI arms race to China and Russia?
Theme 2: Europe as a global security actor
Expand Theme 2: Europe as a global security actor
Moderated by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (The Netherlands) & NATO Strategic Direction South (Italy)

With its emphasis on soft/smart power and multilateral diplomacy, the EU appears to be out of step with a multipolar world increasingly characterised by hard power, great power rivalries and zero-sum games. With the US no longer ready to continue its lead on global security issues, Europe is looking more carefully at its own defence capabilities and role as a global security actor.

  • With the United Kingdom one of only two true military powers in Europe, what impact will Brexit have on the security and defence of Europe, and the EU’s global operations?
  • What role should Europe play in bringing peace to Syria, given the growing involvement of Iran, Russia and Turkey?
  • How should Europe respond to China’s growing power, especially in the South China Sea and as regards the security implications of the Belt and Road Initiative? Is the EU seen as a credible security actor by the rest of the world, and especially in Asia?
Theme 3: Regional approaches to global migration
Expand Theme 3: Regional approaches to global migration
Moderated by the Institute for Security Studies (South Africa) & the OCP Policy Center (Morocco)

Responses to global migration- caused by a multiplicity of interrelated factors including conflicts, resource scarcity and climate change- remains largely uncoordinated at the global level. The UN recognises the need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and is working on adopting global compacts on migration and refugees in 2018. But such initiatives face many obstacles on an international level. As such, learning from local challenges in different parts of the world can help us better understand and address the linkages between migration, security and development.

  • How can the EU improve its responsiveness and preparedness for migrants arriving at its borders?
  • What are the lessons learned from MENA countries as regards the mass waves of migration? How important is the role of development aid in addressing migration in this region?
  • Is Latin America prepared to deal with instability and migration?
Theme 4: Fraying arms control regimes
Expand Theme 4: Fraying arms control regimes
Moderated by the Russian International Affairs Council (Russia) & TBC

The global nuclear order has been changing in recent years. Energy security, fluctuating oil prices as well as uncertainties caused by climate change have contributed to a renewed interest in nuclear power as an energy source for the future. However, states continue to modernise their strategic arsenals and in practice the reality suggests arms control agreements are far from ideal – North Korea’s recent testing of a nuclear weapon and missiles claimed to have the ability to reach the US is one of such examples. Enforcement of international arms control regime continues to struggle, failing to discourage states that seek to acquire their own nuclear capabilities.

  • How can this global community, including NATO and the UN, improve the capability of regional players—such as China—to approach and manage nuclear proliferation?
  • How can we better engage regional powers to de-escalate nuclear tensions?
  • Thinking beyond nuclear, can we encourage progress in arms control regimes in areas such as chemical weapons, as well as in new areas such as cyber and artificial intelligence?
Theme 5: Realigning the crime-terror nexus
Expand Theme 5: Realigning the crime-terror nexus
Moderated by Hedayah (UAE) & Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (Argentina)

Over the past year, the Islamic State has sustained increased pressure and further military defeat of the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq is expected. However, the severity of the threat in Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa must not be underestimated, and may even increase. Continuing instability in the Middle East and North Africa, including the establishment of new footholds by the Islamic State into the Maghreb, is a major security challenge. The last years have also seen an increase in terrorist attacks by extreme right, left-wing and anarchist groups, causing a significant threat to governments in the West.

  • How can the relationship between the police and the judiciary be reinforced to tackle the connection between human and drugs trafficking and the financing of terrorism?
  • Do local entities, including community police have the right training and resources to tackle radicalisation and violent extremism?
  • What role can the police play in developing better early warning systems by harnessing the intelligence within local communities?
Theme 6: Russia, Europe and the US - scenarios of the future in a turbulent time
Expand Theme 6: Russia, Europe and the US - scenarios of the future in a turbulent time
Moderated by the German Council on Foreign Relations – DGAP (Germany) & Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Transatlantic Relations (USA)

What will the world look like in 2028? What effect will the political decisions made by today’s leaders have in ten years’ time? Are we moving towards ‘the end of history’, a new Cold War, or even World War 3?

Cascading and unpredictable crises are becoming the new normal. With relations between Russia and the West at the lowest point in decades, and at a time of fundamental change not only in the West’s relations with Russia but also within the EU and in the transatlantic partnership, now is the time to think ahead and consider what future relations between Russia, Europe and the US could – and should – look like.

In partnership with the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and the Robert Bosch Center at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the 2018 DS+ brainstorm will test out different “scenarios of the future” for Russian-European-American relations.
Four alternative futures of Russian-Western relations in 2028 – some more likely than others- will be presented, with participants asked to work through the implications and consequences of such scenarios, and how we might anticipate and/or address them. How did we get to that particular future and how could we avoid it? Or alternatively, how did we get to that future and how could we make sure we do get there in 10 years?

Based on the feedback from participants on these scenarios of the future, we will thrash out policy recommendations to be presented to key decision-makers, enabling them to reflect on the potential ramifications of the choices and policy decisions they are faced with today.



Maureen Achieng
Maureen Achieng

Chief of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union

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In her current role, Maureen Achieng ensures effective IOM support to the Ethiopian government as well as the broader Horn of Africa region in responding to migration challenges. She is also the IOM Representative to the African Union, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), helping to formulate policies and implement initiatives that uphold the rights and needs of migrants, promote effective migration management, and mitigate migration-related risks. 

Saad Amrani
Saad Amrani

Chief Commissioner and Policy Advisor, Belgian Federal Police

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Saad Amrani is a leading actor in Belgium’s fight against radicalisation and ISIS, and is responsible for securing international high-level meetings, maintaining public order at demonstrations, matters dealing with foreign-born communities and international issues. Among other flagship projects, Amrani led an exchange program between the Moroccan anti-terrorist police and the Belgian police on radicalisation issues in the context of the Syrian war. He recently co-founded the think tank “Committee D”, attached to the Belgian Home Affairs Ministry, that promotes a new and “disruptive” approach to security issues.

David Andelman
David A. Andelman

Executive Director of The RedLines Project

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David Andelman is a veteran foreign correspondent, author and commentator contributing frequently to CNN on international security policy including nuclear and cyber threats as well as global diplomacy. Andelman recently joined the Centre on National Security at Fordham University Law School as a visiting fellow, and previously served as Editor-in-Chief of the World Policy Journal. His CNN columns received the 2018 Deadline Club Award for Opinion Writing by the prestigious Society of Professional Journalists. Andelman is also the author of A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today, which looks at the origins of many of today’s deepest global crises.

Dirk Aßmann
Dirk Aßmann

Director-General at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

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One of the world’s most renowned development agencies, GIZ is currently implementing more than 100 projects worldwide to support refugees and migrants. One of its flagship projects is the Better Migration Management programme, which aims to address the trafficking and smuggling of migrants within and from the Horn of Africa, strengthening the rights of migrants and protecting them better from violence, abuse and exploitation. With more than 15 years of experience at GIZ, Dirk Aßmann’s current portofolio includes migration issues. He is a member of the GIZ internal Task Force on migration.

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Stefanie Babst

Senior Associate Fellow of the European Leadership Network and former deputy assistant secretary-general for public diplomacy and head of the strategic analysis team at NATO

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Stefanie Babst leads a team that advises the two most senior leaders of the transatlantic Alliance – the NATO Secretary-General and the Chairman of the Military Committee – on strategic and global security challenges. In this capacity, she is responsible for preparing comprehensive assessments on potential upcoming crisis situations and their implications for NATO. A highly-regarded expert on international security policy, she also previously served as NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary-General for Public Diplomacy. 

Christian Friis Bach
Christian Friis Bach

Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Nordic Impact Fund, former Danish Minister for Development Cooperation

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Christian Friis Bach leads Denmark’s largest international humanitarian organisation, which works in more than 30 conflict-affected countries worldwide. The organisation has developed a strong reputation as a leading actor in insecure environments and in assisting refugees along every phase of the displacement cycle. Prior to joining the DRC, Friis Bach served as Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation and as UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). 

Franziska Katharina Brantner
Franziska Brantner

German Parliamentary State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Franziska Brantner is a German politician, who currently serves as Parliamentary State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. She is also the ministry’s Special Coordinator for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Prior to this, Brantner was a member of the Bundestag and a member of the European Parliament, where her work focused on foreign affairs, conflict resolution and rapid crisis response. She also conducted negotiations on the reform of the European External Action Service. Before entering politics, Brantner worked for the Bertelsmann Foundation and the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

Photo of Gilles De Kerchove
Gilles De Kerchove

EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator at the Council of the European Union General Secretariat

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Gilles de Kerchove has been the EU’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator since 2007, where he plays a central role in monitoring the implementation of the EU counter-terrorism strategy. Prior to this position, he served as Director for Justice and Home Affairs at the EU Council Secretariat and was also worked in national government as the Chief of Cabinet to the Belgian Minister of Justice. Kerchove was the Deputy Secretary of the Convention which drafted the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.   

François De Kerchove d'Exaerde
François De Kerchove d'Exaerde

Permanent Representative of Belgium to NATO

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During his nearly 30-year diplomatic career, François de Kerchove d’Exaerde has held such prestigious positions as Director of Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs, Director for Security Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador for the European Union’s Political and Security Committee (PSC), as well as various diplomatic postings in Japan, Kuwait and Berlin. De Kerchove d’Exaerde also served as Director General of the Egmont Institute.

Tobias Feakin
Tobias Feakin

Australian Ambassador for Cyber Affairs

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Tobias Feakin leads Australia’s international engagement for national security and foreign policy in cyberspace. He was a member of the panel that supported the Australian Cyber Security Review to produce the 2016 Cyber Security Strategy. He was previously the Director of National Security Programmes at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, where he established the institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre. He has also held a number of research and advisory positions, including with the Royal United Services Institute, Oxford University and the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace.

Sasha Havlicek
Sasha Havlicek

Co-founder and CEO of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD)

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As ISD’s founding CEO, Sasha Havlicek leads the organisation’s pioneering programmes, advising governments and working with businesses and civil society to deliver solutions to conflict, extremism and terrorism. She has spearheaded the largest global network of former extremists (AVE) in partnership with Google’s Jigsaw; the Strong Cities Network, the first global counter-extremism cities network; and the Innovation Hub, a partnership with Facebook, Google and Twitter to counter extremists’ online efforts. She recently launched with Sheryl Sandberg the Online Civil Courage Initiative, aimed at challenging hate speech and extremism online.  

Leo Hoffmann-Axthelm
Leo Hoffmann-Axthelm

EU Representative of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

Show more information on Leo Hoffmann-Axthelm

Working on the implementation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Leo Hoffmann co-founded the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in Germany. In addition to his current position at ICAN, he is a Research and Advocacy Coordinator at Transparency International, and previously worked at the European Commission on economic and financial affairs and at the Joint Research Centre, the Commission’s science and knowledge service. Hoffmann also previously served as a disarmament attaché for the pacific island Republic of Nauru at the UN.

Shamil Idriss
Shamil Idriss

Chief Executive Officer of Search for Common Ground

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As Chief Executive Officer of the world’s largest dedicated peacebuilding organisation, Shamil Idriss has led Search’s efforts to end violent conflict in more than 35 countries globally, including some of the most devastating conflict zones in the Middle East and Africa. Previously, Idriss was the Deputy Director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, supporting high-level political and religious leaders to improve cross-cultural relations between Western and Muslim-majority countries, before, during, and after the Arab Spring revolutions.

Bjørn Ihler
Bjørn Ihler

Founder of Khalifa-Ihler Institute and Kofi Annan Extremely Together Young Leader

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Bjørn Ihler is an international counter extremism expert and activist working as a filmmaker, editor and writer to develop spaces for dialogue and peace-building between different people and communities. In 2016, he co-founded the Khalifa Ihler Institute that works for peace through knowledge, technology and design. Since 2016 Bjørn has also been part of the Kofi Annan Foundation initiative Extremely Together, and he explores means of countering violent extremism as one of ten young leaders in the field from across the world. Bjørn is building his work on a foundation in communication, technology, data and computational sociology as well as his academic background in peace and conflict studies.

Photo of Edvinas Kerza
Edvinas Kerza

Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Defence

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In his current role, Edvinas Kerza is responsible for the Baltic state’s national cybersecurity policy. As an IT professional and an expert in all things cyber, Kerza was previously in charge of managing key information systems projects at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, and has participated in several international conferences on this subject. Kerza also previously served As Chief Specialist at the Permanent Representation to the European Union.

Khalid Koser
Khalid Koser

Executive Director of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), Switzerland

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A leading expert on migration issues, Khalid Koser has published widely on the prevention of violent extremism, international migration, asylum, refugees and internal displacement. In addition to his current position, he is the Сhair of the Global Future Council on Migration, Editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies, and holds fellowships at a number of top research institutes including the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Brookings, the Lowy Institute and Maastricht University. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. 

Maqsoud Kruse
Maqsoud Kruse

Executive Director of Hedayah, The International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, UAE

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Maqsoud Kruse leads Hedayah, the first independent and international think & do tank aiming to counter violent extremism by supporting dialogue, capacity building, and research. Kruse also serves as a Steering Board Member of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, a public-private partnership supporting local initiatives to counter violent extremism. Kruse previously served in the UAE Armed Forces working on military psychology, strategic planning and leadership development. In addition to violence and extremism, Kruse also has strong expertise in political Islam, political communication and propaganda.

Photo of Negar Mortazavi
Negar Mortazavi

Journalist and 2017 MENA Young Leader (EYL40)

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Negar Mortazavi is an Iranian-American journalist and columnist, who exclusively covers stories about Iran in both English and Persian. She is also the host of the Iran Podcast and a frequent commentator on Iranian affairs at MSNBC, BBC, PRI, The New York Times, Aljazeera, HuffPost and international outlets across the world, including Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, Switzerland and Japan. Mortazavi previously worked as a TV presenter at Voice of America (VOA) Persian, where she hosted a daily hour-long interactive show that discussed current affairs with Iranians across the world.

Robert Muggah
Robert Muggah

Co-Founder and Research Director of the Igarapé Institute, Brazil

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Robert Muggah is the co-founder of the Igarapé Institute, a Brazilian think and do tank working on security and justice in Latin America and Africa. Muggah is also the co-founder of the SecDev Foundation. He consults with governments, the UN, the World Bank and firms ranging from Google to McKinsey. He is known for designing award-winning interactive data visualisations that track the global arms trade, homicidal violence, fragile cities, and climate change. He has also developed open source body cameras for police accountability and predictive crime dashboards.

Photo of Izumi Nakamitsu
Izumi Nakamitsu

UN Under Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

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In her current position, Izumi Nakamitsu is responsible for managing global threats posed by weapons of mass destruction, conventional weapons, and nuclear proliferation. She has previously held several high-level positions at the UN, including as Assistant Administrator for Crisis Response at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Special Advisor Ad Interim on the Follow-up to the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. She was named one of the 2018 World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune, praising her exceptional diplomatic skills, clearheaded pragmatism and quiet activism.

Jérôme Oberreit
Jérôme Oberreit

Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

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Having joined Médecins sans Frontières over 20 years ago, Jérôme Oberreit has worked in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Palestinian territories, and subsequently in Brussels where he has been managing medical–humanitarian activities over the past decade. Oberreit has developed particular expertise in working in conflict settings and in managing HIV programmes. In his current role, he worked on many migration-related issues such as a relevant and cohesive response to the 2014 Ebola West African epidemic and on supporting strong public positioning linked to the protection of the medical mission and people on the move.

Annalisa Piras
Annalisa Piras

Journalist, Film Director of ‘The Great European Disaster Movie’ and Founder and Director of The Wake Up Foundation

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Annalisa Piras is an award-winning Italian director, producer and journalist based in London. Her latest documentary, ‘Europe at Sea’, has gained exclusive access for the first time to the work of the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy at a pivotal moment in time, when Europe is confronted by a changing geopolitical landscape and pressing migration and security challenges. Piras’s prior award-winning documentaries include ‘The Great European Disaster Movie’ (2015) and ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’ (2012).

Photo of Maciej Popowski
Maciej Popowski

Deputy Director General of the Southern Neighbourhood, Turkey, Migration, Refugees and Security Issues at the European Commission

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Maciej Popowski is a Polish diplomat, who previously served as deputy director-general of DG NEAR before assuming his current role. He is the former deputy secretary-general of the European External Action Service (EEAS). Popowski has also previously served as the head of Jerzy Buzek’s cabinet, Poland’s permanent representative in the EU’s Political and Security Committee, and deputy head of the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the European Union. At the time of Poland’s EU accession negotiations, he was the director for EU affairs at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Photo of Giles Portman
Giles Portman

Head of the East Stratcom Task Force at the European External Action Service (EEAS)

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A senior EU diplomat, Giles Portman is responsible for communicating and promoting EU policies in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood, strengthening the region’s media independence, and improving the EU’s capacity to anticipate and respond to disinformation. The EEAS East Stratcom Task Force launched in 2015 the EU vs Disinformation campaign, to better forecast, address and respond to pro-Kremlin disinformation. With a career focused on the EU and its neighbourhood, Portman previously worked on EU-Turkey relations as chair of the working group that negotiated the opening of Turkey’s EU accession negotiations in 2005.

Wayne C. Raabe
Wayne C. Raabe

Director of Interagency Partnering at the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM)

Show more information on Wayne C. Raabe

Wayne C. Raabe leads a team that embodies a “whole of society” approach in building and strengthening sustainable partnerships to ensure regional security and stability to better execute EUCOM operations. With experience in the development and application of narcotic drug policy, Raabe previously served as Principal Deputy Chief of the US Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section. Raabe also has in-depth expertise in global maritime security, having served a 21-year career in the US Coast Guard.

Philippe Rio
Philippe Rio

Head of the EUCAP SAHEL Mali Mission

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The EUCAP Sahel Mali mission supports the Malian state in ensuring constitutional and democratic order, establishing the conditions for lasting peace and maintaining its authority throughout the entire territory. A high-ranking officer in the French gendarmerie, Philippe Rio has developed during his 37 years of experience in the gendarmerie and other civilian and military institutions a strong expertise in security-related issues, international cooperation, and crisis management. He previously served at the NATO military headquarters, the French permanent representation to the EU, the French Interior Ministry, and the European Union delegation in Libya.

Marietje Schaake
Marietje Schaake

President of the CyberPeaceInstitute, Director of Policy at the Stanford Cyber Policy Centre, former vice- chair of the European parliament delegation for relations with the United States and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Jamie Shea

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

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Retiring from NATO in September 2018 after 38 years at the organisation, Jamie Shea has occupied a number of senior positions at NATO across a wide range of areas, including external relations, press and media, and policy planning. As NATO’s spokesperson, he was the face of the alliance during the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts. He later worked as the director of policy planning in the private office of former secretary general Rasmussen during the preparation of NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept. Shea is also a regular lecturer and conference speaker on NATO and European security affairs.

Matina Stevis-Gridneff
Matina Stevis-Gridneff

Africa Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal

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Based in Nairobi, Matina covers economics and investment across Africa for the Wall Street Journal. She was previously based in Belgium, where she covered the eurozone crisis from the WSJ Brussels bureau. Before joining the WSJ, she wrote for the Economist, where she won the 2010 Marjorie Deane financial journalism award. Matina is particularly interested in migration-related issues in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. In 2015, she was one of the few foreign journalists reporting from Eritrea as part of an exclusive investigation into Eritrean refugees. She has written for other top media outlets such as Eleftherotypia and the Guardian and has appeared as a political commentator on European and Greek affairs on Al Jazeera English and the BBC.

Anna Terrón Cusí
Anna Terrón I Cusi

Director at FIIAPP, former Spanish secretary of state for immigration and emigration, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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With a rich political career spanning more than 20 years, Terron previously served as Spanish Secretary of State for Migration, Secretary for the European Union of the Government of Catalonia, and Member of the European Parliament. As President of Instrategies, Anna Terron offers strategic support to institutions, organisations and companies on managing diversity, immigration, asylum and international mobility. She is advised European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on migration and Mediterranean issues. She currently serves as Chair of the Advisory Board of the United Nations University’s Institute on Globalisation, Culture and Mobility.

Ramesh Thakur
Ramesh Thakur

Director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament at the Australian National University

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Ramesh Thakur is a leading expert on issues of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in Asia, and is the co-Convenor of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. He previously served as UN Assistant Secretary-General and Senior Vice Rector of the United Nations University, and was a principal architect of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. Thakur has also advised the Australian and New Zealand governments on arms control, disarmament and international security issues. 

Nathalie Tocci
Nathalie Tocci

Director at the International Affairs Institute (IAI)

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Nathalie Tocci is the architect of the 2016 European Global Strategy and is currently working on its implementation, primarily in the field of security and defence. An Honorary Professor at the University of Tübingen, she has previously held research positions at prestigious European and American research institutes. An expert on European foreign policy, conflict resolution, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, she was awarded the 2008 Anna Lindh award for the study of European Foreign Policy.

Marjolijn Van Deelen
Marjolijn Van Deelen

Head of Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Marjolijn van Deelen’s current portfolio includes all Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)-related Dutch foreign policy with priorities in nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament, nuclear security and NATO nuclear policy. She was part of the Dutch team for the chairmanship of the 2017 Preparatory Committee for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and currently leads on follow-up efforts. Van Deelen formerly headed the Ministry’s Europe Division and served as Deputy Permanent Representative in the Mission to the UN in Vienna dealing with Iran, Syria and DPRK non-proliferation issue.

Renske Van Der Veer
Renske Van Der Veer

Director of the International Centre for Counter Terrorism (ICCT), The Netherlands

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A leading expert in the field of counter-terrorism, Renske van der Veer has worked with various government organisations in the counter-terrorism field across the interface of local, national and international spheres. Prior to her recent appointment at ICCT, she served as coordinating senior policy advisor and deputy head of unit in the Counter-Terrorism Department of the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV), part of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security.

Vaidotas Verba
Vaidotas Verba

OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine

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Prior to his current role in Kyiv, Vaidotas Verba was team leader of the Odessa group of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in 2014. A Lithuanian top diplomat, Verba previously served as the country’s Special Envoy for the EU’s Eastern Partnership, Ambassador to the Netherlands, and Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He was also the Chief Coordinator for the preparation of the third Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in 2013.

Lamberto Zannier
Lamberto Zannier

High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

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Before his current appointment, Lamberto Zannier served as OSCE Secretary-General of the OSCE and was also UN Special Representative for Kosovo. An Italian diplomat with more than 30 years of experience, he played a leading role at the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry as Coordinator for EU Foreign Policy and as Director for EU Security and Defence issues, and also served as Italy’s Ambassador to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). He has authored several publications on security, conflict prevention and crisis management issues. 

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Lassina Zerbo

Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)

Show more information on Lassina Zerbo

Lassina Zerbo has been instrumental in cementing the CTBTO’s position as the world’s centre of excellence for ending nuclear testing, as well as in leading efforts towards the entry into force and universalisation of the Treaty. To further achieve this goal he created a group comprising of internationally-recognised decision-makers and experts to promote and advance the Treaty’s aims. In recognition of his work at the CTBTO and in the disarmament and nuclear proliferation field in general, Zerbo was awarded the 2013 “Arms Control Person of the Year”.



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