GIGA Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series

A Westphalia for the Middle East




06:00 p.m. (CET)


07:30 p.m. (CET)

Picture of Brendan Simms
© Brendan Simms
Picture of Brendan Simms
© Brendan Simms

  • The conflict in the Middle East is one of the most long-lasting, pressing and seemingly intractable issues of our times. In his lecture “A Westphalia for the Middle East”, world-renowned historian Prof. Brendan Simms (University of Cambridge) will investigate how lessons from international geopolitical challenges in history could be used to inform steps toward a current resolution. Analysing the experience of confessional and power-political strife in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Central Europe, he will draw from the analogous nature of the conflicts and constellations in both epochs. Specifically, the aim is to determine how conflict-resolution models – chiefly the Peace of Westphalia (1648), which ended the Thirty Years War, and its mechanisms of politico-confessional co-existence – could serve as an inspiration for attempts to solve the geopolitical and sectarian challenges of the contemporary Middle East.

    Brendan Simms is Professor in the History of European International Relations, Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Peterhouse. He is the author of seven single-authored books and several co-authored volumes, including: Europe. The struggle for supremacy, 1453 to the present (Allen Lane, London, 2013, Deutsche Verlags Anstalt, 2014); Europa am Abgrund. Plädoyer für die Vereinigten Staaten von Europa (with Benjamin Zeeb) (C.H.Beck, Munich, 2016); Britain’s Europe. A thousand years of conflict and cooperation (Allen Lane, London, 2016); and Donald Trump. The making of a world view (with Charlie Laderman) (Endeavour, 2017, Deutsche Verlags Anstalt).

    The GIGA Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series brings leading minds in academia and policy from all over the world to Hamburg to stimulate public exchange on key global developments.


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