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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world

Research: BRICS & Beyond

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China and East Asia
Energy and Environment
Latin America
The private sector and development
Public Opinion and Diplomacy
Russia and Eastern Europe
South Asia

As Europe and North America struggle to cope with the impact of the financial crisis, newer powers, both within and beyond the G20, are making their presence known on the global stage. The BRICS & Beyond programme not only looks at the development and international impact of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa) nations but at a wide range of states from South America to South East Asia that are growing in stature and influence. It examines the extent and consequences of relative Western strategic decline and explores ideas for new international cooperation.


> FPC Briefing: How Investment Treaties have a chilling effect on Human Rights

By Sam Fowles.

In a new FPC Briefing Sam Fowles (Researcher in Law at Queen Mary University of London) argues that human rights are the ultimate arbiter of the relationship between the state and the individual, yet a new generation of trade and investment agreements are increasingly subjecting human rights to the interests of international investors.

Fowles writes that this 'Second Generation' of agreements has transformed provisions intended to protect investors from state overreach, into guarantees of preferential treatment. This allows investors to exert an unprecedented level of influence on governments. This has often been brought to bear in relation to human rights, with international investors able to compel governments to abandon or roll back measures indented to protect and promote rights. Fowles believes that with Brexit approaching, the UK must shortly embrace Second Generation treaties. Negotiators must, therefore, take account of the risks such instruments pose to fundamental human rights.

Download FPC Briefing: How Investment Treaties have a chilling effect (520 kilobyte PDF)

> FPC Briefing – The Coming Storm: US-China Relations Under Trump

By Dr Chris Ogden .

FPC Senior Associate Dr Chris Ogden sets out some of the political and strategic challenges facing US-China relations ahead of the coming Trump Presidency.

According to Dr Ogden both during and after the 2016 US presidential elections, China featured significantly in the campaign of eventual victor Donald Trump. In the President-elect's eyes Beijing is Washington's most dangerous strategic competitor that threatens the US's ability to control and lead the world. Following on from his victory, Trump has continued to directly condemn China, and has in many ways accelerated his attacks on Beijing. In doing so, the new American leader appears to be at best questioning, and at worst shattering, several of the key understandings that were thought to have underpinned US-China relations, which serves to suggest that the world's two largest economies are entering a stormy period.

Download FPC Briefing –The Coming Storm: US-China Relations and Trump (390 kilobyte PDF)

> FPC Briefing: Why Burma's political transition should be viewed with caution

By John Harley Breen.

John Harley Breen examines the challenges Burma/Myanmar faces as it attempts to transition to a more open political structure after decades of military and colonial domination. It looks at the history of military rule and the economic and political power structures that this embedded. The paper looks at relationship between the state and minority groups across the country and challenges around the emerging peace process.

Download FPC Briefing: Burma's political transition (400 kilobyte PDF)

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> Iran Human Rights Review: Economy

[Cover of Iran Human Rights Review: Economy]

Hossein Rassam (Ed.), Tahirih Danesh (Ed.)

June 2016

In this issue, the Iran Human Rights Review focuses on the relationship between Iran's human rights record and its economy. Activists and experts offer a range of perspectives on issues that impact Iran's economy, in light of the human rights dynamics that place a spotlight on Iran. The Iran Human Rights Review: Economy issue highlights religious and economic freedoms, the environment and child labour among others.

The Iran Human Rights Review: Economy issue is edited by Tahirih Danesh and Hossein Rassam. It contains contributions by: Dr Leila Alikarami, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS); Professor Ali Arab, Georgetown University; Azam Bahrami; Kamyar Behrang; Dr. Abdolsattar Dushouki, Baluchestan Research Centre; Marcos Alan Ferreira and Hanna Belle, Federal University of Paraiba - UFPB; Brian Grim, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation; and Solmaz Ikdar; The issue also contains a foreword by Dr. Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of the Global Indicators Group at the World Bank.

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> Iran Human Rights Review: United Nations

[Cover of Iran Human Rights Review: United Nations]

Tahirih Danesh (Ed.), Adam Hug (Ed.)

October 2014

This new edition of the Foreign Policy Centre's Iran Human Rights Review (IHRR) focuses on the relationship between Iran and the United Nations. Academic and civil society experts put forward a range of different perspectives with a particular focus on how the country interacts with UN human rights mechanisms and its commitments under international law. The review looks at issues including the lack of access to Iran for UN Special Rapporteurs, the country's approach to the Universal Periodic Review process, the problems facing the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Islamic Republic Government's approach to questions of international law and practice in the context of the wider Iranian human rights tradition.

The Iran Human Rights Review: United Nations was edited by FPC Senior Research Associate Tahirih Danesh with Adam Hug, FPC Policy Director. Contributors include: Taimoor Aliassi (The Association for Human rights in Kurdistan for Iran-Geneva, KMMK-G), Elahe Amani (Women's Intercultural Network), Ali Ansari (University of St Andrews), Tori Egherman (Arseh Sevom), Hassan Nayeb Hashem (Südwind), Hossein Rassam (Rastah Consulting), Raha Shadan, Pardis Shafafi (University of St Andrews) and Dan Wheatley (Syracuse University).

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> Europe in the World: Can EU foreign policy make an impact?

[Cover of Europe in the World: Can EU foreign policy make an impact?]

Adam Hug (Ed.)

February 2013 Hard copy: £4.95, plus £1 p+p.

Download Europe in the World: Can EU foreign policy make an impact? (2.02 megabyte PDF)

The Foreign Policy Centre's new publication, Europe in the World: Can EU foreign policy make an impact?, examines both how Europe is seen on the world stage and the effectiveness of the new External Action Service in delivering on its key objectives: building an effective new diplomatic service, strengthening EU influence in the neighbourhood and developing relations with strategic partners. It explores the institutional and organisational challenges surrounding the creation of the EEAS and considers what tensions remain with other EU institutions and national governments, with particular reference to the UK's difficult relationship with Europe.

Europe in the World is edited by Adam Hug (Foreign Policy Centre). It contains contributions on a range of topics and different perspectives from: Dr. Jozef Batora (Comenius University), Thiago de Aragão (Foreign Policy Centre), William Gumede (Foreign Policy Centre), Jacqueline Hale (Open Society Foundations), Richard Howitt MEP, Stefan Lehne (Carnegie Europe), Dr. Simon Lightfoot and Dr Balazs Szent-Ivanyi (University of Leeds), Prof. Anand Menon (Kings College London), Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG, QC, MP, Edward Macmillan-Scott MEP, Prof. John Peterson (University of Edinburgh), Dr. Neil Winn (University of Leeds). Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander MP (Shadow Foreign Secretary) provides the foreword.

The findings of the Europe in the World publication have been extensively referenced in the UK Government's Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Foreign Policy paper.

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Past Events

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> Traditional religion and political power: Examining the role of the church in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova

OSF Logo

DATE: Wednesday 28th October 2015

TIME: 6.00pm-7.30pm

VENUE: Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament, Victoria Embankment, Westminster, London, SW1A 2LW


  • Gordon Marsden MP, Secretary, All Party Parliamentary Group on Georgia (Labour)
  • Dr. Katja Richters, Department of Orthodox Christianity, University of Erfurt
  • Adam Hug, Policy Director, Foreign Policy Centre
  • Felix Corley, Editor, Forum 18 News Service

Chair: Baroness Berridge, Chair of the All Party Group on International Freedom of Religion and Belief, (Conservative)

This Traditional religion and political power: Examining the role of the church in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova seminar (kindly supported by the Open Society Foundations) will provide an opportunity to examine the political and social role of the Orthodox Churches in Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova and of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The seminar will examine some of the key themes addressed in a new Foreign Policy Centre publication, including:

  • the role the churches play in the development of new and re-emerging national identities
  • the role of religious institutions as civil society actors in their communities
  • the relationship between the church and the state, exploring the mutual support dynamic in the states that have given political space for the church to grow in return for political backing, examining the developing role of the church as a political actor
  • the approach of the churches in promoting 'traditional' values in their societies and challenging the influence of 'Western/Liberal' values, with a particular focus on traditional gender roles and sexuality
  • the reaction of the church to minority religions, particularly newer proselytising groups, exploring the approach to freedom of religion in these countries
  • the way in which churches are expanding their role in education systems and the curriculum
  • the role of religious institutions as economic actors and how this impacts their organisational strength and resources
  • the parallels with Russia where the Orthodox Church has formed a central part of President Putin's national agenda
  • the links between the Russian Orthodox Church and its counterparts in the region exploring the extent to which ecumenical collaboration and the supervision of certain denominations is used to extend or restore Russian influence

The event is free and open to all. Please RSVP to

Free copies of the new publication will be available

Download Traditional religion and political power seminar flyer (510 kilobyte PDF)

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> The Foreign Policy Centre at the 2015 Conservative Party Conference

Tuesday 6 October - Manchester

The Foreign Policy Centre is hosting a fringe event at this year's Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Please click below to download the flyer. The event is free and open to all, however Conference accreditation WILL be required to gain access to the venue which is located inside the secure zone.

Download FPC fringe at the 2015 Conservative Party Conference (210 kilobyte PDF)

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> What role can financial inclusion play in driving employment-led growth?

supported by Barclays

Part of the 'Africa Rising? Building Africa's Productive Capacity for Inclusive Growth' series

Financial inclusion and jobs: Drivers of development and growth in Africa?

How might improving the access, distribution and use of a wide range of affordable and appropriate financial services and products (financial inclusion) facilitate job creation and stimulate balanced economic growth across Africa? In addition, how might the private sector build partnerships to champion strong leadership, sustainable innovation and responsible engagement in order to help develop an enabling environment where universal financial inclusion and employment-led growth can thrive?

FPC Roundtable series: Building an agenda for action to shape a post-2015 development agenda

At a series of three roundtable discussions and through the publication of a report supported by Barclays, the Foreign Policy Centre seeks to explore how greater financial inclusion has the potential to help drive the development of new businesses and new jobs, thereby igniting development transformation across Africa. In an effort to support action to help redefine the international development agenda post-2015, the event series seeks to explore the interface between financial inclusion and employment creation – two pressing global public policy priorities.

The event series is scheduled to take place during February 2014 to June 2014. Following the roundtable discussion series, the FPC will produce a report (to be launched in the autumn/winter of 2014) that will build on the discussions and insights exchanged during the course of the event series. The report will capture the salient issues discussed and key findings identified.

Should you have any queries about this event series, please feel free to contact the FPC on

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