Who sets the security agenda?
Leiden University is organising two international conferences on security from 7 to 10 November in The Hague. Power relations, negotiating with extremists, cyber espionage, and the experience of a real crisis situation are some of the issues on the agenda. The conferences will be opened by Mayor Jozias van Aartsen and Professor of Terrorism and Counterterrorism Edwin Bakker.
Such threats as terrorist attacks, cyber strikes and modern warfare are increasingly being looked at from an interdisciplinary perspective. It is not just security agencies, but also schools, associations and local police departments that are becoming more involved in security within society. New forms of collaboration are emerging, which is raising such questions as: What are the challenges that this development brings with it, and does it take us closer to a situation of security? Leiden University and representatives from practice will be exploring these questions during two international conferences in The Hague.
Stage for practitioners
The first conference is being organised on 7 and 8 November by the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) at Leiden University and the Society for Terrorism Research (STR). The event will focus specifically on understanding, combatting and preventing present-day terrorism. 'It is an honour to be able to stage the STR conference this year in The Hague at Leiden University,' commented Bart Schuurman, organiser of the conference and researcher at Leiden University. 'What's so special about this conference is that as well as scientific research it also offers a stage to people from the practical world of counterterrorism. That makes it easier to forge good contacts and exchange ideas between researchers and policymakers, something that happens far too little.'
Who takes the lead in security?
The second international conference, entitled ‘Who determines the security (research) agenda?’, is being organised by the ISGA on 9 and 10 November and will focus on managing security. 'The changing dynamics in the field of security are not always a guarantee of success,' says Edwin Bakker. ‘Opposing interests, political dilemmas and lack of information sharing are the order of the day. That's why it's important to really examine this development and ask ourselves some critical questions. Questions like: What perspective do we take when considering particular security issues? And who should take the lead in these issues?'
Interdisciplinary security institute
The ISGA focuses specifically on national and international security issues. The institute is involved in research and teaching on terrorism, cyber security, changing power relations and handling crises. 'What's unique about the ISGA is that we keep the lines of contact between science and practice short,' says Bakker. Identifying important issues, and critically anaysing such themes as terrorist attacks and cyber strikes is part of the ISGA's DNA. Bakker: ‘That means that close links between science and society are essential. These two conferences are a vehicle for the ISGA to place even stronger emphasis on the importance of these close links.'