The 2017 Chatham House London Conference at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London – Part One
Dr. Mozammel Haque
Two-Day The 2017 Chatham House London Conference was held at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London on Monday and Tuesday, 23rd and 24th of October, 2017 respectively. The report of this Two-Day conference will be covered in two issues – this is part one report of the conference to be followed by Part Two report.
Why this Conference held at this time?
The organiser of the Chatham House London Conference explained why they thought this conference should be organised. According to them, the followings were the scenario for which The 2017 Chatham House London Conference was organised to work together to build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world.
“In the Balance: A Future World (Dis) Order
World Order is fundamentally changing. The Trump Presidency has left a vacuum in global leadership; developments in the Middle East are intensifying the struggle between Gulf states and Iran; Russia persists in reasserting power while Europe remains preoccupied with its internal recovery; the North Korean threat become thornier; and China seeks to balance its growing international ambitions and internal dilemmas. This is all taking place against a backdrop of accelerating technological advances and ever-expanding flows of information, bringing unprecedented change and uncertainty to how we work, compete and relate.
The 2017 Chatham House London Conference will focus on how world order is shifting under these pressures and how societies and leaders can best adapt. This is a vital moment to convene leading thinkers and actors from across the world to compare best practices and chart ways to work together to build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world.”
There were two Keynote Speeches: One on the Day One. Topic: A Vision For Global Britain by Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson, MP. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK and another Keynote Closing Speech on Day Two: By His Excellency Adel al-Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia.
Similarly, there were five Plenary Sessions: three on Day One; such as Plenary Session One was on America First – America Alone: The End of World Order; Plenary Session Two on People VS Politics: Building and Breaking Trust
And there were two Plenary Sessions on Day Two, they are as follows: Plenary Session Four – The Liberal Economic Order: Will the Centre Hold? Plenary Session Five – Alternative Views on Future World Order, chaired by Robin Niblett, Director, Chatham House.
Besides the Keynote speeches and the Plenary sessions, there were two Break-Out Sessions-Round One and Break-out Sessions – Round Two.
Proceedings of the Conference
The Conference was started by Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, an International Think Tank, welcoming the guests, delegates and dignitaries on behalf of the Chatham House. The Agenda of the Conference was as follows:
Day One, Monday, 23rd of October, 2017
After the welcoming address by Director of the Chatham House; it was followed by Brain Storm: What is on your mind? By Nik Gowing, Visiting Professor, Department of War Studies, King’s College, London.
A Vision For Global Britain was delivered by Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson, MP., Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK.
Plenary Session One was on America First – America Alone: The End of World Order;
Plenary Session Two on People VS Politics: Building and Breaking Trust
There was a lunch break and after the lunch break, following sessions were held.
Break-Out Sessions – Round One
Session on Beyond Oil: New economies in the Middle East and North Africa took place in ‘The Quarters’;
Session on Hacking Elections: Politics and Cyber Security took place in the ‘Ladies Smoking Room’ and
Session on Fear the Future? What’s Next for International Trade took place in ‘Hansom Hall’.
Break-Out Sessions – Round Two
Session on New Business Models: Disruption and Opportunity took place in ‘Hansom Hall’;
Session on Agendas and Agency: Africa’s Influence in an Uncertain International Order took place in the ‘Ladies’ Smoking Room’, and
Session on Lessons from Latin America: Conflict and Co-existence took place in ‘The Quarters’.
Day Two – Tuesday 24 October 2017 – St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel
Open Round Table Discussions
Table A – Why Does Ukraine’s trajectory matter for Europe and the whole post-Soviet space; Host: Orysia Lutsevych, Manager Ukraine Forum, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House.
Table B – What are the challenges tomorrow’s leaders see themselves confronting and what capacities do they need to address them? Host: Andrew Swan, Assistant Head, Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs, accompanied by Academy Fellows.
Table C – Rethinking the state in the Middle East; Host: Neil Quilliam, Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Table D – Developing Businesses of Scale in Sub-Saharan Africa; Host: Chris Vandome, Research Analyst, Africa Programme, Chatham House
Plenary Session Four – The Liberal Economic Order: Will the Centre Hold?
In Conversation with Armando Iannucci.
Armando Iannucci, writer, producer and Director, The Thick of It, Veep, Saturday Night Armistice, The Day Today and The Death of Stalin. Chair: Robin Niblett, Director Chatham House.
His Excellency Adel al-Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia
Plenary Session Five – Alternative Views on Future World Order, chaired by Robin Niblett, Director, Chatham House.
Report on the Keynote Speech of Boris Johnson, MP,
Secretary of State for Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs,
Rt Hon Boris Johnson, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs, UK said in his keynote speech as follows:
The Foreign Secretary highlighted the success of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons.
He pointed to the success of the nuclear deal with Iran and expressed his confidence that the deal can be preserved despite President Trump’s announcement of decertification.
He urged North Korea to change its current course, and rejected the examples of Libya and Ukraine as cautionary tales for Kim Jong Un of giving up his nuclear programme. In contrast, he argued that Kim’s current course is the biggest threat to his regime.
He cited the willingness of China to adjust their policy and bring economic pressure on North Korea as the biggest reason to be optimistic about a diplomatic solution – though he supports the US in keeping a military option on the table.
When asked about Brexit, he reiterated his support for the Prime Minister’s Florence speech as the basis of a way forward in the negotiations with the EU.
When asked about the annexation of Crimea, he admitted that an adequate response has not yet be found, but emphasized that the UK has strongly insisted that Russia must continue to pay a price. He said he regrets the deterioration with the relationship with Russia but expressed his hope for constructive talks when he visits in December.
Key Quotes from Secretary of State
for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
‘When you consider that every previous military development – from firearms to fighter jets – has spread among humanity like impetigo, you have to ask yourselves: why? Why have nuclear weapons been the great exception? …the answer is partly that many countries wisely decided, after the war, that they were going to take shelter under the nuclear umbrella provided by the US… it was that American offer – that guarantee – that made possible the global consensus embodied by the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty… It was an effort in which the UK – as one of the leading upholders of the post-war rules based international order – played a crucial role... That diplomacy has helped to make the world safer, more secure, more confident and therefore more prosperous… That far-sightedness is now needed more than ever, not only to keep the NPT, but also one of its most valuable complementary accords, the nuclear deal with Iran.’
‘That is the model – [the Iran deal model] of toughness but engagement, each reinforcing the other – that we should have at the front of our mind as we try to resolve the tensions in the Korean Peninsula. It is right that Rex Tillerson has specifically opened the door to dialogue. He has tried to give some sensible reassurances to the regime, to enable them to take up this offer.’
‘This is the moment for North Korea’s regime to change course – and if they do the world can show that it is once again capable of the diplomatic imagination that produced the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – arduously negotiated – and that after 12 years of continuous effort produced the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran. It won’t be easy, but the costs of failure could be catastrophic.’
‘The NPT is one of the great diplomatic achievements of the last century. It has stood the test of time. In its restraint and its maturity it shows an unexpected wisdom on the part of humanity, an almost evolutionary instinct for the survival of the species. It is the job of our generation to preserve that agreement, and British diplomacy will be at the forefront of the endeavour.’
[To be continued …] .