Diplomats, top brass to speak at RRU security conference

Academics, diplomats and military personal will gather at Royal Roads university to better understand Asia-Pacific security and how it impacts our country.

A full day conference on April 7 is the inaugural event of a recently formed Comprehensive Security Studies Group within RRU’s school of peace and conflict management.

School director Alex Morrison, a former member of the UN Security Council, organized the conference as a way to bring together stakeholders to set direction for the group.

After a lineup of keynotes and panel speakers, conference delegates will sit together for small roundtable discussions and to brainstorm priorities.

“We’ll be asking for possible research topics and policy recommendations we could develop and present to governments,” Morrison said. “We hope people will be inspired by the talks and have lots of ideas for our future direction.”

Speakers will consider many angles of security. A highlight will be the lunch-hour keynote address by Rear-Admiral Nigel Greenwood, Commander for the Maritime Forces Pacific. He’ll discuss the Canadian navy’s role in Asia-Pacific security.

The program is filled mostly by local experts, but some come from the United States and as far away as Hawaii.

Kenneth Christie, head of RRU’s human security and peace building program, will draw on his international human rights research for his part on a three-person morning panel. Each panelist will introduce their area of expertise before taking questions from the facilitator and audience.

Christie is used to boarding planes to get to speaking engagements, and is glad to be part of a conference on his home turf.

“What we do to improve security and human rights overseas benefits this country as well,” Christie said.

He said a local example of how international human rights affects us within our boarders is when a ship of Tamil refuges arrived in Victoria last year.

“If the Tamils weren’t facing such a desperate situation in their country, they wouldn’t have come here,” he said. He also said Asia-Pacific is an important area to watch right now, in light of  the protests against dictatorships in Egypt and Libya.

“Burma and China remain under dictator rule,” Christie pointed out. “People there may be wondering if they’ll be next.”

The Asia Pacific Security conference April 7 at Royal Roads University’s Quarterdeck in the Grant building is expected to draw 80 to 100 delegates.

The cost to attend is $50, or $25 for students. Students who cannot afford the cost may apply for limited number of sponsorship spots.

For more information and to register visit, peace-conflict.school.royalroads.ca or call Morrison at 250-391-2600 ext. 4312.


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