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Annually, the Stanley Foundation convenes its Strategy for Peace Conference to consider key policy challenges, drawing on the experience and knowledge of invited experts from the public and private sectors who meet in autonomous roundtables. Held at the Airlie Center outside Washington, DC, this is the 58th consecutive year the foundation has convened the conference.

Each respective roundtable is focused on one of the foundation’s three current areas of programming—climate change, nuclear policy, and mass violence and atrocities. Roundtable discussion is intended to generate group consensus recommendations for policy change and multilateral action.

The 2017 conference will kick off with an opening dinner featuring Drezburt. As on their vlog on bloggingheads.tv, Heather Hurlburt—Director of New Models of Policy Change at New America—and Daniel Drezner—professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a contributor to the Washington Post—will offer their unorthodox takes on conference themes and topics.

2017 Concurrent Roundtables

Three Tweets to Midnight: Social Media, Information Warfare, and Nuclear Crisis Stability

As the role of social media in the global information environment grows, it is possible that the likelihood of political and strategic miscalculation will grow, resulting in a higher probability of conflict escalation. Recent events have demonstrated that the use of social media can create sudden and intense political pressures that may force national leaders to respond. This phenomenon provides new incentives and tools for foreign adversaries to interfere in the domestic politics of others—and even to communicate directly with the leaders of targeted nations—with the aim of influencing public opinion and leaders’ decisions. The global availability of these media platforms could create substantial new risks for international security in general and exacerbate tense nuclear relationships in particular.

Despite this potential, the connection between the influence of social media and nuclear risk is understudied. As a first step towards a fuller exploration, the conference will consider three related questions: How might the use of social media affect the probability that crises develop among nuclear-armed states? How might social media be used to affect decision-making and public opinion during crises that have the potential to go nuclear? What, if any, technological, organizational or diplomatic changes that should be considered to existing systems to reinforce nuclear stability in the face of the new global information environment?

Cochairs:

  • Herbert Lin, Senior Research Scholar for Cyber Policy and Security, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University
  • Benjamin Loehrke, Program Officer, The Stanley Foundation
  • Harold Trinkunas, Associate Director for Research, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

Roundtable Organizer: Benjamin Loehrke, Program Officer, The Stanley Foundation

Rapporteur: Danielle Jablanski, Program Associate, The Stanley Foundation

Taking Stock of the Evidence: What Works to Reduce Violence and Prevent Atrocities?

For the first time since the Cold War, according to the OECD, violence and violent conflict are increasing worldwide, and today we face the largest displacement crisis the world has ever seen, predominantly as a result of violent conflict. A new report from the Institute for Economics and Peace found that violence containment costs the global economy $14.3 trillion per year. Yet, a 2016 analysis by Mercy Corps and Search for Common Ground of annual OECD Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) spending found that governments spend just 1 percent of ODA on conflict mitigation and peacebuilding and only 8 percent of ODA on politics, security, justice, and rule of law. This means that less than 10 percent of global ODA is spent on the very things we know can counter humanitarian suffering, mass violence and atrocities, and chronic underdevelopment.

When asked why a higher proportion of overseas development spending going toward violence reduction and conflict or atrocity prevention, policymakers routinely cite a lack of sound evidence. As a participant in the roundtable you are invited to share and discuss evidence of what works to guide successful policy and programmatic investments and to help communities and whole societies find ways to break the cycle of violence, build resilience, and promote sustainable peaceful change. The conversation will revolve around the following questions:

  1. Based on country case studies, what evidence do we have about strategies that have worked for reducing political violence, mitigating and managing violent conflict, and preventing mass violence and atrocities?
  2. What can the fields of public health, behavioral science, and international security tell us about reducing political violence and strengthening resilience to violence and atrocities?
  3. What can the US and the international community do better to advance already identified evidence-based approaches to prevent and reduce violence? What additional evidence or research is required to further understand those approaches and support policy reform?

Cochairs:

  • Jon Kurtz, Senior Director of Evidence and Research, Mercy Corps
  • Dr. Dafna Rand, Vice President for Policy and Research, Mercy Corps Roundtable

Roundtable Organizer: Jai-Ayla Quest, Associate Program Officer, The Stanley Foundation

Setting an International Policy Agenda for Just Transitions

This roundtable will explore how to address the potentially disruptive and redistributive effects which accompany the transition to a zero emissions economy, particularly to vulnerable labor groups and communities dependent upon fossil fuel industries. To further raise just transition on the international agenda, the Stanley Foundation commissioned a policy analysis brief, Strengthening Just Transition Policies in International Climate Governance, from Anabella Rosemberg of the International Trade Union Confederation. Based on this brief, this roundtable will bring together practitioners, strategists, funders, and organizers to form an international agenda for just transition. Participants will address several pressing questions:

  • How can just transition be taken on through international institutions, intergovernmental processes, and global action? How can just transition efforts feed into campaigns such those underway on the shift away from coal or to transform agriculture and food systems?
  • What actors make up a transnational or international coalition for just transition, and what role do these various actors play? What is the relationship between just transition and climate justice—not only the role of just transition for affected laborers, but people on the margins?
  • Where do governance institutions or processes need to be challenged or confronted to resist unjust outcomes? What positions do international institutions, national and subnational governments, businesses, and civil society take that need to be challenged?
  • What does carrying out an international policy agenda for just transition look like? What should global policy on just transition look like in the next three to five years? What platforms should be used to advance certain changes in policy and governance?

Participants will be asked to think in advance of concrete ideas in terms of policies and actions, the feasibility of applying different policies at subnational, national, and international levels, and the obstacles to overcome in implementing just transition policies internationally. The ideas drawn from this roundtable will help institutions of all kinds—civil society, the private sector, cities and states, countries, and intergovernmental organizations—address major social challenges associated with transformations to limit global warming to 1.5° C.

Roundtable Organizer: Rei Tang, Program Officer, The Stanley Foundation

HIGHLIGHTS
Courier Courier
As summer winds down, take a look at the new issue of Courier from the Stanley Foundation. The Summer 2017 issue delves into topics including the transition away from coal in Germany, the increased role of cities in global governance, and the crisis in Venezuela. Also in this issue, read about the increased capabilities of 3D printing, and oversight over emerging technologies. Summer 2017 PDF (1,151K) Subscribe for FREE.

Stanley Foundation Annual Conferences Stanley Foundation Annual Conferences
The Stanley Foundation holds two annual conferences, UN Issues and the Strategy for Peace Conference. These bring together experts from the public and private sectors to meet in a distraction-free setting and candidly exchange ideas on pressing foreign policy challenges.

Divided into roundtable talks, the cutting-edge discussions are intended to inspire group consensus and shared recommendations to push forward the debate on the foundation’s key policy areas.


A Climate for Conflict: Stories from Somalia A Climate for Conflict: Stories from Somalia
The Ground Truth Project, New America, and the Stanley Foundation are hosting a Screening of “A Climate for Conflict” and discussion with the creators followed by a panel discussion on Climate Security and Societal Resilience on May 30, 2017.

Somalia today is at a crossroads between a deepening crisis and a path to stability. Photographer and filmmaker Nichole Sobecki and writer Laura Heaton spent 18 months documenting personal stories of Somalia, creating a film, photography, and reporting that vividly illustrate the human consequences and security risks of a changing climate. Read more.

Follow the conversation online with #AClimateforConflict.


Stanley Foundation at 60
On December 12, 1956, the Stanley Foundation was certified as a nonprofit corporation in the state of Iowa, bringing to life an organization dedicated to creating a world in which there is a secure peace with freedom and justice. Sixty years later, the organization continues to pursue and advance that vision as a thriving nonpartisan operating foundation. Moreover, it remains an organization with a professional staff and the involvement of family members who have an ongoing role in shaping its strategy and core values. More.

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