Podcast by Geneva Centre for Security Policy
European approaches to international security and defence
European approaches to internatiolnal security and defence is episode 10/13 in the new GCSP Podcast Series. Dr Paul Vallet interviews Colonel Markus Schneider of Germany and Senior Defence Advisor to the GCSP,
Dr Paul Vallet: Welcome to the Geneva Centre for Security Policy weekly podcast. I'm your host, Dr Paul Vallet, Associate Fellow with the GCSP Global Fellowship Initiative. For the next few weeks, I'm talking with subject matter experts to explain issues of peace, security, and international cooperation. Thanks for tuning in. This coming week, May 9 is marked as Europe Day, 71st anniversary of the presentation by French Foreign Minister and “Father of Europe”, Robert Schuman of the draft Schuman Plan, which sealed post-war European reconciliation, reconstruction, and integration. In 76 years since the end of the Second World War, Europe has evolved to become a more peaceful and secure region and aspires also to provide more security for itself and its partners. To discuss this, I'm pleased to be joined today by Colonel Markus Schneider. Colonel Schneider is currently the Senior Defence Advisor to the GCSP, where he was seconded by the German Armed Forces the Bundeswehr in June 2020. Colonel Schneider is a graduate of the German Armed Forces, Command and Staff College in Hamburg, and comes to us after completing his latest command of the Logistics Department of the Rapid Forces Division in Stadenhoff. He's exercised an impressive number of command positions in operations abroad as well, in Kosovo, in Iraq, in representation at NATO, the EU and also in Israel, where he attended the National Staff College. And of course, as an instructor at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Hamburg, the Bundeswehr University in Munich, and , I believe all of this has been quite a fitting preparation for you for your tasks now at the GCSP. So, it's a real pleasure to have you for your insights here today. Welcome to the podcast.
"We each eat a credit card amount of microplastics every week"
"We each at a credit card amount of microplastics every week" is episode 7/13 in the new GCSP Podcast Series. Dr Paul Vallet interviews Mr Alexander Verbeeek, climate and environment expert and Associate Fellow with the GCSP's Global Fellowship Initiative
Dr Paul Vallet: Welcome to the Geneva Centre for Security Policy weekly podcast. I'm your host, Dr Paul Vallet, Associate Fellow with the GCSP Global Fellowship Initiative. For the next few weeks, I'm talking with subject matter experts explain issues of peace, security, and international cooperation. Thanks for tuning in. This past week, we marked Earth Day and the US President Joe Biden convened the virtual summit of 40 leaders to underscore the renewed participation of the United States in international environmental and climate change negotiations. The environment is a global cause that historically has been marked both by raising awareness and concrete action. To discuss this, I'm joined today by Mr. Alexander Verbeek. As well as being an Associate Fellow in the GCSP Global Fellowship Initiative. He led the virtual journey in Addressing Challenges in Global Health Security earlier this month. Alexander for bake is a Dutch environmentalist, writer, public speaker, diplomat, and former strategic policy advisor at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1992 to 2016. Over the past 30 years, he has worked on international security, humanitarian and geopolitical risk issues and the linkage to the years accelerating environmental crisis. Currently, Alexander is writer-editor of the planet, a newsletter about threats to our environment, as well as the beauty of nature. He is Policy Director of the Environment and Development Resource Center in Brussels, and also an independent advisor on climate security, water, food, energy and resources for governments, businesses, think tanks and civil society agencies. Alexander founded the Institute for Planetary Security and developed the Planetary Security Initiative, leading the team that prepared the first planetary security conference in the Hague’s Peace Palace in November of 2015. He is a world Fellow at Yale University and has been a fellow and associate of the Stockholm Environment Institute, the Stockholm International water Institute, a visiting fellow at Uppsala University, and on the board of advisors of several international environmental initiatives with an online following on all social media of more than 400,000. We're fortunate to have him with us despite his busy schedule. Welcome to the podcast. Alexander.
Mr Alexander Verbeek: Thank you.
Dr Paul Vallet: My first question to you relating to indeed this activity, as a great communicator for all things, environmental, I was going to ask you, if I could, you know, use quotation marks around the term influencing and we talked about this before, but I wanted to ask you whether influencing represents for you a new form of international advocacy for the environment.
Mr Alexander Verbeek: I don't think it's new. I think environmentalism has always been about influencing. So, you should start with the first environmentalist, but John Muir is the first name that that comes up because… I wrote about it a couple of days ago. I mean, if you look at John Muir, we talked them about, you know, late 19th century, activism to preserve the environment. So, you know, he couldn't send out tweets, but he wrote books and poems, and he was writing to the people in Washington to preserve nature. And he actually, well it was actually Teddy Roosevelt's idea. He contacted him to actually go out there in nature together, or think about, let's say, Rachel Carson with Silent Spring, I mean, that was still the days of, you know, book writing for influencing and activism. So, I think the causes may that we fight for may have changed in the methodology, but the basic principle of that you
Engineering, development and leadership in Africa
Engineering, development and leadership in Africa is episode 8/13 in the new GCSP Podcast Series. Dr Paul Vallet interviews Ambassador Yvette Stevens who represents the great combination of experience and diversity among the GCSP Global Fellowship Initiative with 28 years of International Civil Service with the United Nations and another six as a diplomat for Sierra Leone.
Dr Paul Vallet: Welcome to the Geneva Centre for Security Policy weekly podcast. I'm your host, Dr Paul Vallet, Associate Fellow with the GCSP Global Fellowship Initiative. For the next few weeks, I'm talking with subject matter experts to explain issues of peace, security and international cooperation. Thank you to all our listeners for tuning in. The focus this week at the Leadership and International Security Course is Africa, and among the specialists who are giving their insights to the course participants. We have Ambassador Yvette Stevens, who I'm very pleased to also have as a guest on the podcast this week. Ambassador Stevens represents the great combination of experience and diversity among the GCSP Global Fellowship Initiative with 28 years of International Civil Service with the United Nations and another six as a diplomat for Sierra Leone. Original career began as a trained engineer from the Moscow Power Engineering Institute and Imperial College London, which recently honoured her for her subsequent accomplishments. After teaching engineering in university herself, she joined a UN agencies first the International Labour Organization and then the United Nations High Commissioners Office for Refugees in both Geneva and country postings, and later, the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor for Africa. Her final UN function was as the United Nations Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator and Director of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva from 2004 to 2006. But this was far from over as she then became a freelance consultant on humanitarian issues and disaster risk reduction and also advised the Sierra Leone the government as Energy Policy Advisor. In 2012, she was appointed Sierra Leone his Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, where she worked the full range of issues handled by the UN Agencies here, from human rights to trade and to disarmament. She's also designated a Geneva Gender Champion. So welcome to the podcast, Ambassador Stevens.
Ambassador Yvette Stevens: Thank you. Very pleased to be here.
Dr Paul Vallet: Well, thank you, for you to join us this morning. Given this remarkably wide experience of yours, my first question to you is, with your engineering background, what are the events and factors that drew you to an International Civil Service and diplomatic career?
Ambassador Yvette Stevens: Well, it started a long time ago, I remember as a child, and maybe at age six. And we used to listen, our only contact with the outside world was the BBC Radio. And I used to sit with my uncle as we listened to the BBC Radio. And I imagined this world outside my country, I was growing up in colonial Sierra Leone this world. And I felt I had to be a part of it, but I didn't know how. Later when at school, I was doing well in in maths and physics. And, of course, I decided to do a career in engineering, which was, again, strange for a woman in those days in can imagine the 60s in Africa. But then I got, I was really determined that I wanted to do something you know, especially something that, I could give him and make a contribution to my country's development. So that was how I came back, I'd finished my studies, came back to Sierra Leone,
Security of the mind
Security of the mind is episode 7/13 in the new GCSP Podcast Series. Dr Paul Vallet interviews Dr Hani Dabbagh, Digital Strategist.
Dr Paul Vallet: I'm joined by Dr Hani Dabbagh. But to Hani Dabbagh, was an Executive in Residence at the GCSP in 2019 and is now an Alumnus Fellow is a digital strategist. After his PhD in information engineering and electronics, he began a lengthy career with Hewlett Packard rising from system engineer to digital business development manager. He then became an independent consultant and senior advisor to companies. As an early adopter of web 2.0 for marketing campaigns, he has focused his attention on the impact of disruptive digital technology on customer behaviour, and how to harness it for business benefit. This comes with an increased attention to what he calls “Cyber security of the mind"
Dr Hani Dabbagh: Thanks very much for the invitation.
Dr Paul Vallet: Well, to begin our conversation, my first question to you is what is the state of cyber security of the mind today for individuals, cooperation’s, or organisations? Do you think the basic problem have been given solutions? Or are you concerned with a newer generation of issues?
Dr Hani Dabbagh: Thanks Paul. I mean, first of all, I think there is a serious security breach of our minds that I don't believe has really been fully grasped by the population, I use that term a little bit tongue in cheek, I like to use the term cyber security because it catches the attention of so many today. But I'm not really talking about cyber security of systems, of IT systems, I really am talking about a security breach of our minds. It's really a breach that's hiding in plain sight. And I think it has serious, far reaching consequences to our democracy, and to our society as a whole. So, I don't really believe that this is really fully under control today. The whole things really started around 2007, when there was a kind of coming together, alignment of the of the planets, as it were, with the introduction of the iPhone, Android, Kindle, Twitter, Facebook started opening up. And in those days, we went from the dial up connection to the “always connected”. And then for people a lot younger than me, this might sound a little bit strange. But there was a time when we were not always connected, we actually had to have a modem and plug it in the wall like we hear that noise connecting us to the internet. This we take for granted today. But we were not always connected. Once we're always connected, it then becomes very easily, always trackable. And once we were always trackable, then we're always profiled. And we really then go from one stage to the next to become predictive, predictable, we are able to predict, very accurately when you will change back, you will able to predict when you will stop your subscription, it's actually predictable. And Amazon can ship your product before you even order it. And from there, we became manipulable. All that really has come from that large amounts of data collection that has been going on, and we get raw data. And in get out of that, deduce from that really a lot of behavioural knowledge and inferences about us is what we sometimes call the attention economy. Or I like to call it the “no free lunch economy”, whereby we're getting these so called free products free for us to use but come at a very big cost and what I call a kind of a Faustian deal, where we're selling our souls for something that has a huge cost to us. And whereas a lot of people today are aware of micro targeting of advertising advertisements, people are aware that it was nice to have an ad of a product that I enjoy or will enjoy.
Managing critical incidents in the cyber domain
Managing critical incidents in the cyber domain is episode 6/13 in the new GCSP Podcast Series. Dr Paul Vallet interviews Ms Sarah Backman, Cyber Security Consultant with Secana.
Dr Paul Vallet: Welcome to the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, weekly podcast. I'm your host, Dr Paul Vallet Associate Fellow with the GCSP’s Global Fellowship Initiative. For the next few weeks, I'm talking with subject matter experts to explain issues regarding peace, security, and international cooperation. Thank you for tuning in. For several years, even in this socially distance period and in a virtual format now, the GCSP has hosted a fascinating recurrent competition, the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge in partnership with The Atlantic Council at which competing young teams of various institutions and universities are tasked with responding to an ongoing scenario of a security crises originating from a breach in cyber security. It's this time of the year and to discuss such competitions, their challenges and perhaps the useful lessons that come out of the competing teams and their talents, we're joined today on the podcast by Ms Sarah Backman. Ms Backman is a doctoral candidate in International Relations at Stockholm University, focusing her research on cyber crisis management. As a practitioner in the field, she's also consultant in strategic security risk and crisis management for Secana in Stockholm, as well as lecturing to the Swedish Defense University and offering several publications on cyber crisis management, she has acted as a judge for four editions of the Cyber 9/12 and is returning this year. So welcome to the podcast, Sarah, and thank you very much.
Ms Sarah Backman: Thank you so much, Paul.
Dr Paul Vallet: So, my first question to you is perhaps a little bit personal, looking at your background, and so on. But I was wondering when and how did you develop an interest in cyber security crisis management, and in particular, in participating in simulation exercises, and perhaps you can tell me whether there are also similar types of exercises to nine, Cyber 9/12 that you know, of, that you participate in for the industry or in the academic setting?
Ms Sarah Backman: Yeah, so, it was back in 2014, I think early 2014. And it was really quite random. But I was looking for an internship and then I got an internship at a cyber security firm, a very small one. And that was really lucky for me because I got to work with the CEO of that firm, which is one of Sweden's most prominent cyber security experts. And pretty quickly, I realised, you know, I have a background in security studies and political science. And pretty soon I realised that this field of cyber security is not all about the technical stuff. But there are a lot to do when it comes to the perspectives from a security studies political science perspective too. And then I continued to study security studies and crisis management. Meanwhile, I worked as a consultant. So that is basically what I've been doing since then. So, I have my PhD project and I also work with large scale cyber crisis management exercises as a consultant. And, for me, I just think that based on what I've seen, but also based on research, we know how much value exercises can have, in the absence of real experience of crisis. And that, especially if you have simulation exercises, people actually do feel and act a lot like it would be a real crisis. And research tells us that when you experience a situation, a real crisis, or situations similar to real crisis, that creates sort of mental slides or a mental library that you can access in a real crisis, and it really helps responders. So, yeah, I just love to combine, working with something that I really believe in, which is exercises. And also combining that with the academic part of it.
A new Tropical Industrial Revolution in Latin America
A new Tropical Industrial Revolution in Latin America is episode 5 out of 13 in this new GCSP Podcast Series. Dr Paul Vallet interviews Mr Alvaro Cedeno Molinari, Narratives Futurist and Co-Founder at Perfectible.io and former Ambassador of Costa Rica to the World Trade Organisation.
Dr Paul Vallet: Welcome to the Geneva Centre for Security Policy podcast. I'm your host, Dr Paul Vallet, Associate Fellow with the GCSP Global Fellowship Initiative. For the next week, I will be talking with the subject matter experts to explain issues regarding peace, security and international cooperation. Thanks for tuning in once again. In following issues of international security and cooperation to GCSP shows a has a keen interest in diverse regions of the international community. And today we're focused our eye on Latin America from which several personalities and practitioners have contributed to our activities, both in training and reflection. Of course, being joined by such personality today is Mr Alvaro Cedeno Molinari, Co-founder of perfectible.io, who is speaking to us from Costa Rica. While today, he works as a narrative futurist and I'm sure we'll all be very interested in discovering what this new activity is like, keeping watch on current issues, and especially those that surround climate change on which he focused while an Executive in Residence at the GCSP in 2019. Alvaro worked for over 10 years for the Costa Rican trade and diplomatic service, rising in the ranks to where reached out of Ambassador with service respectively in Beijing, Tokyo, the OECD, and finally as the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the WTO in Geneva. So welcome to the podcast Alvaro. It's very nice to see you again.
Mr Alvaro Cedeno Molinari: Thank you, Paul, it's great to talk to you again and to see you again. It's unbelievable that it's been almost a year since we met last.
Dr Paul Vallet: Indeed. So of course, we're going to be keenly interested in seeing what your eye from your home country is like on several the events that have touched us all. So of course, my first question to you would be, of course, as a narrative futurist, but also in your identity as a Latin American, what are the principal human and environmental security challenges that you would identify as our priority concerns today?
Mr Alvaro Cedeno Molinari: The first thing I would say is that Latin America was not very well prepared for pandemic. And the most striking fact about that unpreparedness is that less than 50% of Latin American citizens have access to universal health care or to healthcare in any way. So, when you have such levels of widespread vulnerability, a pandemic can do much harm, let alone talk about the economic vulnerabilities that are part of the system as well. So, the impact of COVID-19 has probably pushed Latin America in developmental terms a couple of decades back. So, I would say that's definitely a challenge. But beyond COVID, I would say that Latin America has, ill preparedness for climate shocks for the climate crisis that we're in. And this is something that we are still very, very good on time in order to prepare better because Latin America possesses probably 40% of all of the Earth's freshwater, about 50% of all of the world's rain forests, sufficient arable land to feed the entire planet. So, it's easy to argue that Latin America could very well be the future of human life on Earth. But on top of that, challenge, slash opportunity, there is a severe security challenge that we've been facing for the last 40 years, which is drug trafficking. And it's only getting worse. It doesn't matter how you call it, how you finance it. Drug trafficking is the nuclear bomb that detonated in Latin America, and this is killing our youth. This is destroying our families and our communities. This is infiltrating our public institutions.