Universiteit Leiden

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European security: Does Geography Matter?

Monday 5 November 2018
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague
Spanish Steps

About the discussion

Europe faces risks to its east and to its south. To the east, Russia continues to look for various opportunities to challenge European cohesion and security. To the south, instability and conflict bring the challenges of migration and terrorism to European countries. Each State´s geographical location and strategic culture inevitably shape its perception of security. On the other hand the digital area has widened the platform for hybrid threats and invisible frontlines all over Europe. What is the contribution of the Baltic States to the European and Trans-Atlantic security?

About moderator

Rob de Wijk is the founder of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) and Professor of International Relations and Security at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University. He studied Contemporary History and International Relations at Groningen University, and wrote his PhD dissertation on NATO’s ‘Flexibility in Response’ strategy at the Political Science Department of Leiden University. Prof. De Wijk started his career in 1977 as a freelance journalist and later became head of the Defense Concepts Department of the Dutch Ministry of Defence, head of the Security Studies at the Clingendael Institute, and Professor of International Relations at the Royal Netherlands Military Academy. 

About panellists

Paul Teesalu is a Deputy Foreign Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. Paul has graduated from Faculty of Theology in Tartu University in 1997. He joined the Estonian Foreign Service in 1998 and has held various positions in the Foreign Ministry. He was Estonian Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt and Permanent Representative to the League of Arab States in 2010 - 2014. Afterwards he was appointed as a Director General of Political Affairs in the Foreign Ministry and since 2018 as a Deputy Foreign Minister.   

Tomas Jermalavicius is a Research Fellow and Head of Studies at the International Centre for Defense and Security in Estonia. Tomas holds a BA in political science from the University of Vilnius, an MA in war studies from King’s College London and an MBA degree from the University of Liverpool. Prior to joining ICDS in the end of 2008, Tomas worked at the Baltic Defense College (BALTDEFCOL), first as deputy director of the College’s Institute of Defense Studies in 2001-2004, and later as dean of the college in 2005-2008. Prior to that, he held various positions in the Ministry of National Defense in Lithuania.

Ambassador Andžejs Viļumsons is the Permanent Representative to the Political and Security Committee at the Permanent Representation of Latvia to the EU. Previously he has been working in a number of security and defence related posts at the Foreign Service – Director for Security Policy, Deputy Permanent representative to NATO. He has also had experience at the Ministry of Defence of Latvia – defence adviser at the Embassy in Washington and later the Director for Security Policy and Planning.

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