HELENE REY is currently completing a BSc in Archaeology. As well as volunteering for the society in our Schools Programme, Hélène will also be representing UCL at CUIMUN later this month.
On a cold Saturday morning, in the almost surreal decorum of the offices of Thomson Reuters in Canary Wharf, a small delegation from UCLUMUN had the opportunity to partake in something quite exciting: the launch of “Future Foreign Policy (FFP),” a think tank designed by and for students and recent graduates interested in foreign policy. The day-long conference was extremely well run and set a high standard for the nascent organisation. High-profile speakers included diplomats, researchers at Chatham House and foreign policy analysts. All their combine expertise and enthusiasm fuelled fascinating debates during the panel discussions.
In the morning, we participated in a session on “Are we overestimating the threat posed by terrorism?” which raised some thought-provoking questions and answers. It was interesting that most of the panellists were cautioning against the obsession with terrorism that seems to characterise our era and in particular, against the danger of contributing to the spread of fear and that of generating a widespread discrimination against specific communities. Further, the justifiability of certain counter-terrorism measures was also debated. In the afternoon, we attended the panel on “The past and future of UK Foreign military intervention” that discussed the increased difficulty of justifying military intervention and the importance of finding alternative and of building the resilience of civil society.
Outside of the panels, there were also two keynote sessions, one on International security and the second on UK’s place on the international stage. Both sessions, evidently very interesting in themselves, had also the great feature of incorporating a couple of pitches from attendees to the conference. For those delivering said pitches, it was an excellent opportunity to put their ideas to the scrutiny of the experts present whilst for FFP it was a practical application of the mission of the think tank.
This already substantial programme was complemented by two further sessions. The first was on careers in foreign policy and was probably that which provided the more useful insight into the industry and into the various ways that can lead to it. The day finished by a session on the future of foreign policy and in particular on the use of technology for crowdsourcing.
In sum, FFP was launched with panache. The discussions, the debates, and the general organisation of the day were impeccable from start to finish and few – if any – would have left Canary Wharf without the desire to get involved with what promises to be an extremely successful adventure in the land of foreign policy. I for one cannot wait to see it develop further.
For more information: http://futureforeignpolicy.com