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> Trouble in the Neighbourhood? The future of the EU's Eastern Partnership- London launch

Date: Tuesday 10th February 2015

Time: 6.30pm-8.00pm

Venue: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Room, Houses of Parliament

Speakers:

  • David Bakradze, Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition,Georgia
  • John Whittingdale MP, Chairman, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and Chair, All Party Parliamentary Groups on Ukraine, Armenia and Moldova (Conservative)
  • Dr Kataryna Wolczuk, Reader in Politics and International Studies, Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies, University of Birmingham
  • Edward Lucas, Energy, Commodities and Natural Resources editor, The Economist
  • Adam Hug, Policy Director, Foreign Policy Centre

Chair: Gemma Doyle MP, Shadow Defence Minister (Labour)

This launch event for the Trouble in the Neighbourhood? The future of the EU's Eastern Partnership project, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK, will take stock of recent developments in the EU's relationship with the countries in its eastern neighbourhood: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine. The issue of the EU's role in the region and the influence of the Russian-led alternative the Eurasian Economic Union have been at the heart of a major geo-political upheaval. The decision by Ukraine's then President Yanukovych to reject Eastern Partnership under pressure from Russia in the summer of 2013 lit the spark for the dramatic subsequent events in that country, while Armenia made a similar switch under Russian pressure ahead of the key November 2013 Vilnius summit. This seminar will look at the key planks of the EU's approach to the region including the offers of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements, visa liberalisation, funding for reform projects and political engagement.

The seminar will act as the London launch event for the new publication Trouble in the Neighbourhood? The future of the EU's Eastern Partnership. Free copies will be available.

The seminar is free and open to all. Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk

Download Trouble in the Neighbourhood? London launch flyer (430 kilobyte PDF)


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> Human Rights in Iran: taking stock on the 5th anniversary of the 'Green Movement'

Date: Tuesday 3rd June 2014

Time: 6.00pm-7.30pm

Venue: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Room, Houses of Parliament

Speakers:

  • Prof Payam Akhavan, Associate Professor of International Law, McGill University
  • Shadi Sadr, Founder, Justice for Iran
  • Nazenin Ansari, Diplomatic Editor, Kayhan London
  • Dr Hadi Enayat, Visiting Lecturer, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (Aga Khan University)
  • Roya Kashefi, Head of the Human Rights Committee, Association of Iranian Researchers (ACI)

Chair: Jeremy Corbyn MP

June 2014 marks the fifth anniversary of the 2009 post-election uprising and the birth of the 'Green Movement' civil society phenomenon in Iran. The events of 2009 served as a meeting point for the pre-revolutionary generation of experts and activists and their post-revolutionary counterparts who are often young, tech savvy and post-ideological. However since the post-election protests were forcefully put down, both generations of activists have faced increased pressure from the security services who have tried to halt the increasing numbers of grassroots activists, networks and organisations that are working on human rights in Iran.

This seminar event will use as the basis for discussion the Foreign Policy Centre's Iran Human Rights Review project that aims to serve as a platform for the voices of both established and emerging figures involved in Iranian human rights research and activism. The event will particularly focus on the findings of the January 2014 Violence edition and the upcoming IHRR editions on the role of the UN and the concept of justice. The discussion will also touch on the findings of three previous editions on Youth, Access to Information and Religion. The panel of experts comprises some of the key contributors to these editions.

The event is free and open to all.

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk

Download Human Rights in Iran event (210 kilobyte PDF)


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> Shelter from the storm?

Date: Tuesday 29th April 2014

Time: 6.00pm-7.30pm

Venue: Committee Room 9, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

Speakers:

  • Chris Bryant MP, Shadow Minister and Vice-Chair Russia APPG
  • Dr David Lewis, Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter
  • Maisy Weicherding, Researcher-Eurasia, Amnesty International
  • Jago Russell, Chief Executive, Fair Trials International
  • Claire Rimmer Quaid, Senior Project Officer, European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)

Chair: Baroness Stern CBE

This Westminster Seminar event will launch a new Foreign Policy Centre publication, kindly supported by the Open Society Foundations, entitled Shelter from the storm? The asylum, refuge and extradition situation facing activists from the former Soviet Union in the CIS and Europe. The event will look at some of the key issues around asylum, extradition and the provision of refuge for human rights defenders, political and religious activists and other controversial figures from the former Soviet Union.It will examine the extent to which Russia and other CIS countries abide by their obligations under European and international law when facing extradition requests from fellow signatories to the Minsk Convention. It also will explore European asylum and immigration policies and how they impact on activists from the former Soviet Union.

The event is free and open to all.

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk

Download Shelter from the storm? (210 kilobyte PDF)


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> South Africa in BRICS: Salvation or ruination?

DATE: Monday 28 April 2014

TIME: 4.00-6.00pm

VENUE: Please note room change: Committee Room 5, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

Speaker: William Gumede, author of South Africa in BRICS: Salvation or Ruination? and Associate Professor and Convener in Political Economy, University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg)

As South Africans prepare to go to the polls for the 2014 presidential elections, what does the future hold for one of Africa's leading economies?

Developing economies are increasingly regarded as potential global growth engines which could power the world economy. Alongside China, Brazil, Russia and India, South Africa belatedly became part of the BRICS alliance, forged to provide leading developing countries with a greater voice with respect to global action.

Yet, might the differences between members in this disparate bloc far outweigh the similarities that bind them, compounding competition and tension within the group? Might the keenness of once eager investors have been cooled by the groups' more modest economic performance? This is

illustrated by China's immense economic restructuring which has led to contractions in its growth rates, which formerly boasted double digits. This is in addition to the turbulent currency crisis which fuelled further rises in already relatively high inflation and interest rates experienced across many emerging markets, earlier this year. As the US economy experiences a fragile recovery this has reduced the need to stimulate the economy and keep interest rates low. As such, the US Federal Reserve has begun to ease its injections of liquidity into the wider banking system. How might the BRICS in general and South Africa in particular, insulate its own markets from the turbulence generated by the fall in monetary stimulus which has considerably reduced investment inflows into developing economies?

More importantly, beyond political advantage, might the real gains of such an alliance for an economy like South Africa now seem far more limited than otherwise envisaged? Furthermore, with the advent of a so-called second generation of emerging economic giants which include Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey (the MINTs), might South Africa have sneaked into the wrong club?

This event is free and open to all. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by email to events@fpc.org.uk

Download FPC Seminar - South Africa in BRICS (80 kilobyte PDF)


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> The crisis in Syria and public opinion: views from the UK, US and France

Date: Tuesday 11 March 2014

Time: 6.30-8.00pm (please note amended start time)

Venue: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Room(off Westminster Hall), Houses of Parliament, London SW1A 0AA

Speakers:

  • Ian Lucas MP, Shadow Middle East Minister
  • Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Former Middle East Minister
  • Prof. Thomas Scotto, Professor of Government, University of Essex
  • Dr. Jason Reifler, Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter
  • Joe Twyman, Director of Political and Social Research, YouGov

Chair: Deborah Haynes, Defence Editor, The Times

Foreign Policy Centre is delighted to host upcoming panel, with the kind support of the University of Essex, which will examine some of the key findings of new research being conducted by the Universities of Essex, Exeter, and Texas-Dallas, with assistance of YouGov and a grant from the ESRC. The event will look to enhance public understanding of the nature and consequences of the reaction of citizens in three mature democracies (UK, US, and France) to the dynamic and volatile military and humanitarian situation in Syria. It will examine the size and effectiveness of aid contributions to the region against the backdrop of rising aid scepticism linked to the downturn.

The event will examine the findings of research surveys that explore the views of the UK,US and French publics as to:

  • whether people are capable of forming coherent and durable foreign policy judgments;
  • how people weigh costs and benefits of alternative courses of action that leaders propose to respond to the Syrian crisis;
  • what extent are public reactions to the Syrian crisis affected by attitudes about the political elite(s) proposing various responses;
  • what are citizens' beliefs about the morality of war and the necessity of humanitarian relief in their reactions to the Syrian crisis;
  • levels of public engagement with their country's responses to the crisis;
  • how core values and personality characteristics shape attitudes toward the Syrian crisis;
  • national and socio-demographic variation in responses to the crisis.

Download The crisis in Syria and public opinion (220 kilobyte PDF)


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> Renegotiation, Reform and Referendum: Does Britain have an EU future? Leeds Seminar

Date: Thursday 6th March, 2014

Time: 6pm-7.30pm

Venue: Conference Auditorium 2, University of Leeds

Speakers:

  • Alec Shelbrooke MP, Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell
  • Rebecca Taylor MEP, Liberal Democrats
  • Dr Richard Corbett, Member of the Cabinet of President Van Rompuy and Labour MEP Candidate
  • Dr Richard Hayton, Lecturer in Politics, University of Leeds

Chair: Bernard Ginns, Business Editor, Yorkshire Post

This upcoming Leeds seminar, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK and the University of Leeds, aims to examine the key details around the proposed renegotiation of competences, the options for reform of how the European Union operates and the planned 2017 EU membership referendum. The seminar will assess the objectives of different political and societal stakeholders as well as explore the key drivers of public sentiment. It will examine what reforms the EU is being asked to undertake by key business, NGO and union stakeholders on a regular basis through the development of ordinary EU legislation and where extra political impetus outside business as usual would be required to achieve key objectives. The seminar would explore the areas of EU competence that different stakeholders would like to see addressed as part of any UK renegotiation initiative. It will also review how such renegotiation proposals and the wider UK debate is regarded in other member states and how EU partners plan to respond to British requests.

The event is free and open to all.

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk

Download Renegotiation, Reform and Referendum: Leeds (420 kilobyte PDF)


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> Renegotiation, Reform and Referendum: Does Britain have an EU future? Edinburgh Seminar

Date: Thursday 20th February, 2014

Time: 6pm-7.30pm

Venue: Canongate Suite, Radisson Blu Hotel, Royal Mile, 80 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TH

Speakers:

  • Catherine Stihler MEP, Labour
  • Alyn Smith MEP, SNP
  • Jamie McGrigor MSP, Conservative
  • Professor James Mitchell, Professor of Public Policy, University of Edinburgh
  • Jade Holden, Liberal Democrat MEP Candidate

Chair: Adam Hug, Foreign Policy Centre

This upcoming Edinburgh seminar, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK and the University of Edinburgh, aims to examine the key details around the proposed renegotiation of competences, the options for reform of how the European Union operates and the planned 2017 EU membership referendum. The seminar will assess the objectives of different political and societal stakeholders as well as explore the key drivers of public sentiment, and explore areas of difference between the debate in Scotland and the wider UK. It will examine what reforms the EU is being asked to undertake by key business, NGO and union stakeholders on a regular basis through the development of ordinary EU legislation and where extra political impetus outside business as usual would be required to achieve key objectives. The seminar would explore the areas of EU competence that different stakeholders would like to see addressed as part of any UK renegotiation initiative. It will also review how such renegotiation proposals and the wider UK debate is regarded in other member states and how EU partners plan to respond to British requests.

The event is free and open to all.

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk

Download Renegotiation, Reform and Referendum: Edinburgh Event (450 kilobyte PDF)


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> INTERPOL and international justice: are authoritarian states using the system to silence dissent?

Date: Wednesday December 11th 2013

Time: 6pm-7.30pm

Venue: Committee Room 9, House of Commons, Westminster

Speakers:

  • Rt Hon Richard Ottaway MP, Chair, Foreign Affairs Select Committee
  • Libby McVeigh, Head of Law Reform, Fair Trials International
  • Bartosz Kramek, Chair, Open Dialog Foundation
  • William Browder, CEO, Hermitage Capital Management

Chair: Peter Oborne, Chief Political Commentator, Daily Telegraph

The Foreign Policy Centre is delighted to host a Westminster seminar, kindly supported by the Open Dialog Foundation, that aims to address important issues around the use and potential abuse of Interpol's legal mechanisms by authoritarian states. The event will examine the potential misuse of Interpol 'Red Notices', the international instruments that seek to locate and arrest those wanted by law enforcement agencies with a view to extradite or undertake similar lawful action, at the request of a member government. The use of Red Notices has come under fire from campaigners who argue that the mechanism is being used by authoritarian states to pressurise and potentially extradite dissident voices living in exile. There have been recent controversial Red Notice cases involving Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries.

The event will explore how effective Interpol is in upholding human rights values and complying with its own 'neutrality clause'. Red Notice subjects are required to appeal to the independent Commission for the Control of Interpol's Files (CCF). The event can explore whether the CCF has the capacity it needs to deal with political cases swiftly and fairly. The event could also examine how Interpol can work more effectively with other international institutions, civil society and external experts to improve its understanding of potential political cases submitted by its member states and look at how foreign and home affairs ministries can work to improve cooperation around challenging cases. The event will seek to place these issues within the wider debate around the UK's engagement with other international legal mechanisms such as the European Court of Human Rights and the European arrest warrant.

The event is free and open to all.

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk

Download Interpol and international justice (310 kilobyte PDF)


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> Nagorno-Karabakh: avoiding war and working for peace in the South Caucasus

Date: Wednesday 9th October 2013

Time: 6pm-7.30pm

Venue: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Room, Houses of Parliament

Keynote Speaker: Ambassador Philippe Lefort, EU Special Representative (EUSR) for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia

Speakers:

  • Dr Laurence Broers, Caucasus Projects Manager, Conciliation Resources
  • Dr Michael Kambeck, Secretary General, European Friends of Armenia
  • Craig Oliphant, Senior Advisor, Saferworld and FPC Senior Research Associate

Respondent: Con Coughlin, Defence Editor, Daily Telegraph

Chair: Gemma Doyle MP, Shadow Defence Minister

The Foreign Policy Centre is organising a Westminster Seminar event, kindly supported by the European Friends of Armenia, that will take stock of the current situation in the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The impact of 2013 Presidential election cycle in Armenia and Azerbaijan, coupled with end of a period of Russian shuttle diplomacy under Medvedev have contributed to a period of inertia in efforts to resolve the conflict. Although the OSCE's long-running Minsk process has helped prevent a return to war, it has not yet made significant progress in moving the parties in the conflict towards a peaceful resolution. The seminar would look at what opportunities exist in the new negotiation cycle and at the possibilities for reform of the Minsk Group to improve its effectiveness. It will examine the role of both the EU and the UK to support conflict prevention and progress in the peace process.

The seminar will look at the current situation in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh regarding attitudes to the conflict and some of the continuing challenges including levels of military spending, conditions in the armed forces, IDPs and refugees. The event will discuss the role of people to people contact in peace-building, looking at the work done by local and international NGOs and the response of the governments in the region to such initiatives. It will examine recent sources of tension and explore confidence building measures.

The event is free and open to all.

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk

Download Nagorno-Karabakh: avoiding war and working for peace (270 kilobyte PDF)


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