Category Archives: Security

Am I an academic?

My good friend Sven Biscop at Egmont – Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels wrote this witty piece last year. I have just rediscovered it while clearing out old e-mails. It reminds me of teaching experiences; debates on research versus analysis; inventing labels to prove originality, but which are clear only to the inventor; and my eternal frustration about certain uses of footnotes (from legalised plagiarism to citing friends or renowned academics, because it is the thing to do) that just add nothing to the train of argument. With Sven’s permission, I reproduce his thought piece here.

I know: it is not about disarmament or chemical and biological weapons. But it has an enormous lot to do with the field I work in. Self-reflection is good.

Jean Pascal

Am I an academic?

‘We have invited think-tankers and academics’. This sentence, often spoken by conference organisers, never fails to annoy me. Certainly if in the next sentence gratitude is then expressed for the think-tankers’ willingness to convey the academics’ ideas to policy-makers. Read: nothing very substantial is expected from the think-tankers themselves. Their job is just to translate academic brilliance into terms that even practitioners, who apparently are even lower in the academics’ esteem, can understand. read more

An appeal from the Pugwash Council to the 2015 Paris Climate Conference

Avoiding threats to human civilization

An appeal from the Pugwash Council to the 2015 Paris Climate Conference

Since the middle of the 20th century, scientists have consistently raised alarm about the risks posed by climate change due to the increase of carbon in the atmosphere emanating from human activities. Collective scientific endeavour of thousands of researchers organized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, warns of unequivocal global warming that under the current conditions is likely to lead to further environmental degradation mass migration and increase global insecurity. The impacts of climate change will be uneven across the planet, and less developed and vulnerable communities will be more severely affected. Moreover, climate change is not just a peril for humanity today: it poses existential challenges for future, as yet unborn generations. read more