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TCD/UCD Public Lecture Series 2016-2017

The Department of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), in collaboration with University College Dublin (UCD), has initiated a series of public lectures in which internationally acclaimed speakers will discuss contemporary sociological issues. The aim of this TCD-UCD Sociology Public Lecture Series is to promote informed and non-partisan debate and to offer new ideas on cutting-edge sociological issues including but not limited to responses to the current crisis. It provides a platform to deepen research and teaching synergies between TCD and UCD especially in light of HEA’s policy ‘Towards a Future Higher Education Landscape’. The series features two public lectures per term with one event hosted at TCD and the other at UCD.

First Event

Title: Global Conflict, human security: is the international peace architecture fit for purpose
Speaker: Professor Dan Smith (Stolkhom)
Date and time: 5th October 2016, 7pm
Venue: Synge Theatre, Arts Building.


A 15-year period of increasing peace came to an end some 5 to 6 years ago. It was a traumatic period – the time of the global financial crash, the start of a wave of change in the Middle east and North Africa. The past 5 years have seen growing numbers of armed conflicts, rising death tolls, and seemingly increasing difficulties for international political leaders to bring conflicts to a peaceful end. Tensions between Russia and the US and its allies have escalated over the past three years. In Northeast Asia, tensions also rise between China and other states over competing territorial claims. Conflicts in the Middle East have inflicted an increased number of terrorist outrages on the people of the region and exported their violence to Europe. On the edge of the region, the coup attempt in Turkey has been followed a massive wave of arrests. But in 2015, international cooperation produced agreement on an ambitious global development agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Iran nuclear deal. The international peace architecture has been wobbling but it has not crumbled yet and has some significant strengths and achievements. Evidence that peaceful progress is possible continued in 2016 with the Colombian peace agreement. And yet on the other side of the ledger again, Brexit and its resonance in some other EU countries – and not least the Trump phenomenon in the US – showed large numbers of citizens alienated or at least unpersuaded by international cooperation, at the very time when many would argue that more cooperation is exactly what is needed. What are the challenges? Is the international architecture for peace and security fit for purpose? What are the ways ahead?


Dan Smith is the Director of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), and Professor of Peace and Conflict at the University of Manchester. He is a renowned scholar and analyst, with a long record of research and publication on a wide range of conflict and peace issues. His current work focuses on the relationship between climate change and insecurity, on peace and security issues in the Middle East and on global conflict trends. He served four years in the UN Peacebuilding Fund Advisory Group, two of which (2010–11) were as the Chair. He is the author of successive editions of atlases of politics, war and peace, and the Middle East, and of a blog on international politics.