The Conflict, Security and Development Conference is an event organised by postgraduate students from the War Studies Department of King’s College London. The Conference aims to bring together students, policymakers and academics to explore pressing issues in the security and development sectors against the backdrop of some of the most complex geopolitical circumstances of our times. This year’s conference is dedicated to understanding the future of conflict and how emerging trends will impact those living in active conflict zones.
How do identity dynamics impact order and conflict in the Middle East? In this panel, we bring together 4 experts from a range of backgrounds to examine the role of identities in contemporary conflicts, and their role in fueling or complicating relations within the region more broadly in coming decades. In this context, we also aim to discuss a diversity of approaches to fostering peace through intercultural and interfaith dialogue.
The pace of technological developments has reached unprecedented levels since the turn of the 21st century, fundamentally shifting the social, economic and political underpinnings of societies around the world–both in peace and wartime. Join our panel of industry experts to explore the many ways in which technological innovation has shaped past and current methods of war and reflect on their implications for future conflict.
In a time when internet access is nearly universal, someone only needs a smartphone or laptop to become a potential reporter. The impacts of this phenomenon have been particularly evident in Ukraine, where open-source analysis has in many ways changed the nature of the conflict. In this panel, we draw upon the experiences of 4 experts and journalists to assess how war reporting has changed in recent years, and what the future holds for this field.
Open Source Analysis and the Future of Reporting from Conflict Zones
Emerging Technology and the Future of Warfare
Opportunities and Challenges
Understanding Climate, Conflict, and Migration
Small Island Developing States
The geography of the Small Island Developing States make them highly vulnerable to non-traditional security threats such as climate change. This panel aims to understand the security implications of climate change including forced displacement and migration. We explore the themes of human security, the crippling economic implications, and the need for collective efforts to deal with this unfolding crisis.
Social Identities and Conflict
The Middle East
* Panel speakers are subject to change based on speaker availabilities and unforeseen circumstances.
Opening Keynote Speaker
CEO, Save the Children UK
Gwen is Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children UK. She was appointed in the summer of 2021, having previously served as Executive Director of Global Programmes since March 2018. Gwen is passionate about harnessing all the resources at Save the Children’s disposal to drive faster and more sustainable progress for children being left behind in the UK and around the world.
Gwen currently sits on the Save the Children Advisory Board for Malawi, providing advice and guidance to the Country Office on high-level strategic issues. As of June 2022, she also represents Save the Children on the Grand Bargain Caucus – which seeks to increase humanitarian funding to local partners. She is also a trustee for the UK Disasters Emergency Committee.
Gwen has worked in international development for 20 years, including as International Relations Director at the UK Government Department for International Development (DFID), and UK Executive Director for the World Bank Group (2012-2015). She has also held the post of Country Director for DFID in Bangladesh and Malawi.
Dr. Babu Rahman
Closing Keynote Speaker
Senior Principal Anlayst, FCDO
Dr. Babu Rahman, a British diplomat since 1998 is a Senior Principal Research Analyst at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. Dr. Rahman holds a PhD in International Politics from Aberystwyth University and was appointed an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen in 2015 for services to peace-building in Somalia. Between 2013 and 2015, he took leave from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to serve as Senior Special Assistant to the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Somalia, based in Mogadishu.
As a member of the Research Analysts Cadre, he specialises in the UN and thematic issues, particularly with conflict and human rights. Dr. Rahman’s roles include a number of front-line diplomatic roles including numerous UN negotiations in New York and Geneva, and in 2006 serving at the UK Embassy in Kabul. From 2019 to 2020, he was the Special Adviser to the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan. He has worked extensively on civil-military integration in the UK’s cross-government Stabilisation Unit alongside UK, NATO and African Union forces in the field.
Open- Source Analysis and the Future of Reporting
Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Steve Coll is Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he is also the Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism. He is a staff writer at The New Yorker, the author of eight books of nonfiction, and a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Between 1985 and 2005, he was a reporter, foreign correspondent and senior editor at the Washington Post. There he covered Wall Street, served as the paper’s South Asia correspondent in New Delhi, and was the Post’s first international investigative correspondent, based in London. He served as managing editor of the Post between 1998 and 2004. The following year, he joined The New Yorker, where he has written on international politics, American politics and national security, intelligence controversies and the media.
Coll is the author of “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001,” published in 2004, for which he received an Overseas Press Club Award and a Pulitzer Prize. His 2008 book, “The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century” won the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction in 2009 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. His book “Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power” won the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Award as the best business book of 2012. His most recent book "Directorate S," a follow-up to "Ghost Wars," received the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
Video Lead, WITNESS
Dalila leads WITNESS’ Video As Evidence Program and Ukraine project. She has over 15 years of experience working with grassroots organizations around the world on issues including transitional justice, protection of at-risk youth, environmental defense, and grave crimes. Currently, she supports activists and lawyers capturing, analyzing, and using audio-visual documentation to secure justice for their communities. Dalila’s work and research is committed to exploring and opening up access to skills and learnings on demonstratives, OSINT, and emerging uses of technology for human rights defense and accountability.
Human Rights Inestigator, OSINT Expert
Rawan Shaif is an investigator and former investigative journalist focused on using open-source tools to identify human rights violations, the proliferation of arms and the applications of weapons in state and non-state armed conflicts. Rawan previously led the Yemen team at Bellingcat, looking at creating a database of violations using open source information and creating replicable methodologies and collection protocols built to an evidentiary standard for a range of investigations that address accountability in both Yemen and the wider region. She also previously led the Sudan work at the Sentry and worked for the United Nations in Iraq. Prior to this, Rawan was based in Yemen for four and a half years documenting and investigating airstrikes, diversion of aid, local manufacturing of drones as well as other incidents tied to human rights violations.
Journalist, BBC Monitoring and BBC World Service
Shayan Sardarizadeh is a journalist specialising in open-source reporting, content verification, and investigating online disinformation, conspiracy theories and extremism at BBC Monitoring. He has been involved in investigations into the rise of online extremism, conspiratorial narratives, misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic and most recently, the war in Ukraine. He also produces instructional videos for the BBC on how to verify online information and identify fake news.
Paul Scharre is the Vice President and Director of Studies at CNAS. He is the award-winning author of Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. His first book, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, won the 2019 Colby Award, was named one of Bill Gates’ top five books of 2018, and was named by The Economist one of the top five books to understand modern warfare.
Scharre previously worked in the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) where he played a leading role in establishing policies on unmanned and autonomous systems and emerging weapons technologies. He led the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) working group that drafted DoD Directive 3000.09, establishing the department’s policies on autonomy in weapon systems. He also led DoD efforts to establish policies on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance programs and directed energy technologies. Scharre was involved in the drafting of policy guidance in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, and secretary-level planning guidance.
Social Identities and Conflict
Prof. Mary Kaldor
Professor Emeritus, LSE
Mary Kaldor is Professor Emeritus of Global Governance and Director of the Conflict and Civicness Research Group at the London School of Economics. She has pioneered the concepts of new wars and global civil society. Her elaboration of the real-world implementation of human security has directly influenced European and national governments. She is the author of many books and articles including New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era (3rd edition, 2012), International Law and New Wars (with Christine Chinkin, 2017) and Global Security Cultures (2018).
Professor Kaldor is highly regarded for her innovative work on democratisation, conflict, and globalisation. She was a founding member of European Nuclear Disarmament (END), a founder and Co-Chair of the Helsinki Citizen's Assembly, and a member of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, established by then-Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson. At the request of Javier Solana, she was Convener for the Study Group on European Security Capabilities, which produced the influential Barcelona report, 'A Human Security Doctrine for Europe'.
Dr. Craig Larkin
Reader in Middle East Politics and Peace and Conflict Studies and Director of CSDS
Dr Craig Larkin is a Reader in Middle East Politics and Peace and Conflict Studies and Director of the Centre for the Study of Divided Societies (CSDS) at King’s College London. He is Co-Convenor of the War Studies MA Programme, Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies. He is also a Research Lead on Memory and Conflict [Violent and Peaceful Behaviours] for the FCDO funded Cross-Border Conflict Evidence, Policy and Trends (XCEPT) research programme. Prior to joining King’s he was an ESRC Research Fellow at the Department of Politics, University of Exeter working on an ESRC funded project, ‘Conflict in Cities and the Contested State’ (2008-2012). Craig holds a PhD in Middle East Studies from the University of Exeter (Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, 2009), an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice (LLM, 1999) and a BA(Hons) in Law and Politics (LLB, 1998) from Queen’s University Belfast. He also studied Arabic at Damascus University (2002-2004) and worked in community development projects in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
Gillian Dare OBE
Retired Diplomat Trustee
Emerging Technologies and the Future of Conflict
Remote Warfare Senior Analyst at International Crisis Group
Camilla joined Crisis Group in September 2022 as a Senior Analyst for Remote Warfare, where she is responsible for conducting research on the use of remote warfare, and its role in, and impact on, conflict and instability. Working independently and with country analysts, Camilla provides qualitative and quantitative research outputs on specific geographic developments and global trends in remote warfare. Camilla previously worked across government, civil society and diplomacy covering conflict, security, human rights and foreign policy. Prior to joining Crisis Group, Camilla was Director of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones and Modern Conflict, the UK parliament’s most impactful source of research, analysis and policy advice on remote warfare. Camilla has also worked as the Human Rights Officer at the Norwegian Embassy to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman and Bahrain. Camilla holds a MSc in Global Governance and Ethics from UCL, London
Recorded message Paul Scharre
Vice President and Director of Studies, Center for a New American Security, and author of Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Gillian has extensive experience of multi-lateral work based on 20 years in the UK Diplomatic Service. During that period she has been based in several Sub-Saharan African Missions and in Brussels with theUK’s Permanent Representation to the EU. She has also worked from London with the FCDO Middle East and South Asia Directorates on several countries, holding positions such as Conflict and Stabilisation Strategy Manager for the MENA region for the first three years of the Arab Uprisings, Commonwealth Co-ordination Department, Security Policy Officer for Pakistan, the UK Resident Representative to Liberia (Ambassador equivalent) which hosted the largest UN Peace keeping Mission and all UN Agencies, and the UK's Senior Policy Officer on Women Peace and Security. Since retiring she has been elected as a Trustee to several small NGOs operating in regions affected by conflict., is a member of the UK FORB Foruma and is a First Responder to Victims of Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery.
Understanding Climate, Conflict, and Migration
Dr Farah Faizal Opening Remarks
High Commissioner of the Maldives to the UK r
Dr Farah Faizal is the High Commissioner of Maldives to the UK, having presented her Letters of Credence to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace, London on 29 October 2019. Dr Faizal is also the Ambassador of Maldives to France, Ireland and Spain (non-resident). She is also the Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Dr Faizal also served as the High Commissioner of Maldives to the UK as well as non-resident Ambassador to Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Spain and Sweden from 2009 - 2012. Following the overthrow of the government in Maldives in February 2012, Dr Faizal resigned and served as the Spokesperson in Europe for the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). She represented the former President of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed at the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group during the CMAG’s enquiry into the change of government in Maldives as well as serving as a Foreign Policy Advisor to the MDP. With the change of government in November 2018, she was appointed Ambassador to the UK.
Dr Faizal graduated from the University of Keele, UK in 1989, with a BA (Hons) degree in International Relations, and in 1991 she completed her M.Phil. in International Relations at the University of Cambridge. In 1996, Dr Faizal completed a PhD in Politics from the University of Hull, UK. Her thesis was on the “Security Problems of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with particular reference to the SIDS of the Indian Ocean”.
Dr Faizal co-edited a book "A clearing in the thicket: Women, Security, South Asia" published in 2005 by Sage. The book explores women's perspectives on matters of security and related policy, focusing on women in South Asia who are battling society, insecurity and violence.
Prof. Ilan Kelman
Professor of Disasters and Health, UCL
llan Kelman and is Professor of Disasters and Health at University College London, England and a Professor II at the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. His overall research interest is linking disasters and health, integrating climate change into both. Three main areas are: (i) disaster diplomacy and health diplomacy ; (ii) island sustainability involving safe and healthy communities in isolated locations; and (iii) risk education for health and disasters
Dr. Hillary Briffa
Lecturer and Assistant Director, KCL
Dr Hillary Briffa is a Lecturer in National Security Studies and the Assistant Director of the Centre for Defence Studies in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, where she read for her Ph.D, asking whether small states can have a grand strategy. She is also a founding member of the Centre for Grand Strategy at King’s, Chairs the Climate Hub of Circle-U (the European University Alliance), and serves on the College’s governing Council and Academic Board. Previously, she has taught courses across the spectrum of global politics, international relations, defence, foreign policy, security and strategy at the Royal College of Defence Studies, the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, University College London, Birkbeck University of London, and Queen Mary University of London. Beyond academia, she served as Malta’s official Youth Ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for three years, and worked at the Malta High Commission to the UK throughout Malta’s tenure as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office. After running peace-building projects in Eastern and Central Europe, in 2015 she was appointed an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, and in 2016 became a recipient of the U.S. State Department’s inaugural Emerging Young Leaders award.
Founder and Executive Director of Independent Diplomat
Carne Ross is an expert on diplomacy, geopolitics and climate. Carne was a high-flying British diplomat for fifteen years who resigned from the Foreign Office in 2004 after giving secret evidence on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Distruction to an official inquiry into the Iraq war (he served as the UK’s Iraq expert at the UN Security Council for 4 ½ years). He then founded Independent Diplomat, an award-winning international NGO that advises democratic governments and political groups on diplomatic strategy, supporting pro-democracy groups in Syria and Yemen, advising countries on EU accession and helping the Marshall Islands create and lead a coalition of a hundred countries that demanded – and obtained - a more ambitious Paris climate agreement in 2016. An author of two books (most recently, “The Leaderless Revolution”), he is a frequent commentator and writer on world affairs for the BBC, CNN, New York Times, Financial Times and other publications. He is the subject of the BBC4 documentary film, “Accidental Anarchist”.
Dr. Benjamin Petrini Recorded message
Research Fellow, International Institute for Strategic Studies
Dr Benjamin Petrini is a Research Fellow at the IISS, currently based in Washington DC. He conducts research and outreach activities on conflict, fragility and international development, with a specific focus on the Africa region. Benjamin’s expertise and focus areas span from the drivers of armed conflict and instability at regional, country and local levels and the development responses and strategies to address conflict and insecurity, to global challenges like forced migration. He also provides research support to the annual IISS Armed Conflict Survey publication.
Welcome Remarks by Olena Sotnyk
Opening Keynote: Gwen Hines
Panel 1: Open-Source Analysis and the Future of Reporting from Conflict Zones
Panel 3: Social Identities and Conflict
Panel 4: Climate, Conflict, and Migration
Opening remarks by Dr. Farah Faizal, Commissioner of the Maldives to the UK
16:45 - 17:30
Closing Keynote: Dr. Babu Rahman
Venue closes at 18:00
Panel 2: Emerging Technologies
and the Future of Warfare
Analytic Storyteller, Co-Founder of DC Analytics, Founder of Miribure
Suki Fuller, a competitive strategic advisor, author, analytical storyteller, acclaimed keynote speaker and Fellow of The Council of Competitive Intelligence Fellows. She is the Founder of Miribure, Co-Founder & Senior Vice President of DC Analytics and Storyteller for Group of Humans. She is a contributing author to A Practical Guide to Competitive Intelligence.
Suki is a fierce supporter of intelligence, ethical tech, #SafetyTech, Security, Privacy and Surveillance. Her eclectic 20-year career within strategic intelligence and technology has taken her from the US Department of Defense to teaching business students in China.
She currently resides in London, where she is an intrinsic part of the tech community as a Board Advisor for Tech London Advocates / Global Tech Advocates, which includes key positions as Co-Lead TLA Women in Tech, Vice-Chair for GTA Black Women in Tech and board member for TLA Young Entrepreneurs. Suki was recently named by the 5th Most Influential Woman in UK Tech by Computer Weekly 2022. Financial Times’ Top 100 Most Influential Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic Leaders in UK; Black Powerlist Top 30 Titans of Tech; Tech Nation’s 50 Most Inspiring and influential Black voices in UK Tech; London Tech Week’s 30 Changemaker to watch.