GIGA Global Transitions Conference

External Intervention in the Age of Global Transitions


01/12/2016 - 02/12/2016

Logo of GTC External Intervention in the Age of Global Transitions

  • In a changing multipolar world order, an unprecedented range of actors are carrying out a growing number of international interventions. These interventions attempt to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time, among them resolving conflict, building states, and strengthening democracy. Yet in some cases, external actors – intentionally or unintentionally – weaken entire societies through their interventions and fuel, for example, civil war, states’ rivalry, terrorism, or human rights violations.

    On 1-2 December 2016, leading international scholars and practitioners joined GIGA researchers in Hamburg, Germany, in addressing these issues. At the External Intervention in the Age of Global Transitions Conference, they discussed how interventions are conceptualised and assessed in different disciplines, and also diverse experiences in implementing interventions across the globe.

    In her opening statement, GIGA President Prof. Amrita Narlikar emphasised the usefulness of applying the GIGA’s global approach to this complex subject. She argued, “The diversity and divergence of intervention derives at least partly from the entry and growing voices of new actors. As power diffuses from the liberal western core, many of these new actors will matter even more.” That is why a pluralistic perspective which takes into account the historical experiences and differing visions from the world regions can bring a unique and necessary value-added, she said.

    In the course of two days of stimulating debate, the participants shared comprehensive insights on how interventions help to build states, and to foster peace and security. Participants suggested that global power shifts could lead to major tensions in the context of external interventions, identifying as influencing factors the rise of new powers, power diffusion, and liberal ideas of order increasingly being challenged. Above all, the question of what constitutes legitimate grounds for intervention was intensely discussed. List of participants

    • Dr. André Bank, GIGA Senior Research Fellow

    • Prof. Nancy Bermeo, University of Oxford, Nuffield Chair of Comparative Politics at Nuffield College

    • Prof. Michael Bratton, Michigan State University, University Distinguished Professor of Political Science and African Studies

    • Prof. Richard Caplan, University of Oxford, Professor of International Relations and Official Fellow of Linacre College

    • Thomas Carothers, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Vice President for Studies, Director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Program

    • Dr. Sandra Destradi, GIGA Senior Research Fellow

    • Dr. Leonel Férnandez, EU-LAC Foundation, President of the EU-LAC Foundation and Former President of the Dominican Republic

    • Dr. Thomas Helfen, Head of Peace and Security Division at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

    • Prof. Stathis Kalyvas, Yale University, Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science and Director of the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence

    • Prof. Stephen Krasner, Stanford University, Graham H. Stuart Professor of International Relations and former Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State

    • Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach, GIGA Senior Research Fellow

    • Jonathan Ledgard, Director of Afrotech, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL)

    • Prof. Amrita Narlikar, GIGA President

    • Ayo Obe, International Crisis Group, Co-Vice Chair of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group

    • Prof. Roland Paris, University of Ottawa, University Research Chair in International Security and Governance, and recurring Senior Advisor to the Canadian Government

    • Ambassador Jayant Prasad, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Director General of the IDSA in New Delhi, and former Diplomat

    • Dr. Christian von Soest, Head of the GIGA’s Peace and Security Research Programme

    • Prof. Marc Weller, University of Cambridge, Professor of International Law and International Constitutional Studies in the Department of Politics

    • Prof. Jennifer Welsh, European University Institute, Professor and Chair in International Relations at the European University Institute

    • Prof. Laurence Whitehead, University of Oxford, Senior Research Fellow, Politics, Nuffield College

    The GIGA launched the Global Transitions Conference Series in 2015 to promote analysis and debate on key problems the world faces today from diverse academic and practitioners’ perspectives, and to propose innovative and feasible solutions. Once a year, leading thinkers from around the globe are invited to join GIGA scholars for this dynamic interaction at the GIGA in Hamburg, Germany.


    GIGA Hamburg, Hamburg




    Sign up to receive email notifications about GIGA activities

    Social Media

    Follow us