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Security & Foreign Policy Initiative Conference tackles Cooperation, Competition, & Conflict in East Asia

Keynote panel speakers in action at the Security and Foreign Policy Initiative Conference.Last week, the Global Research Institute's Security & Foreign Policy Initiative convened its second annual conference on Cooperation, Competition, and Conflict in East Asia.  Conference panels addressed questions about the security vulnerabilities generated by economic interdependence, the purported inevitability of conflict between the United States and China, and the historical insights that can be derived from decades of conflict and diplomatic interactions in the region, among other topics. A keynote panel on the opening night featured distinguished speakers Thomas Christensen (Columbia University) and Ali Wyne (International Crisis Group), moderated by Shannon Tiezzi (editor of The Diplomat and W&M alumna).

GRI postdoctoral research fellows Kyuri Park and Giuseppe Paparella played an integral role in the conference organization and participated in panels on "The U.S.-Japan-South Korea Alliance: Balancing Acts in a Complex Theatre" and "East Asian Security during the Cold War: Contemporary Implications" respectively. "The conference was a fantastic opportunity to engage with top historians and international relations scholars on topic of the utmost importance and relevance in today’s current affairs. Moreover, as a panelist myself, I enjoyed participating in the academic debate and to meet and network with colleagues from around the world," Paparella said.

Convening a community of big ideas in Williamsburg was key to the conference's success and impact. "Meeting with my fellow panelists in person was the highlight of the conference for me," said Park. "Currently, I am wrestling with the question of trust building in IR and its relations to security cooperation in East Asia. I have been a big fan of Nicholas Wheeler's (University of Birmingham) work on trust in IR, and it was nice that I had an opportunity to pick Nick’s brain over drinks at the reception that followed the Keynote Speaker event."

Student presents a research poster at the SFPI convening.W&M students were active contributors to the conference as well. "The poster session was a wild success," remarked GRI Director Mike Tierney. "So many conferees raved about our students and our willingness to engage with them in a serious way.  Exactly consistent with our values and goals.” The GRI Security and Foreign Policy Initiative was designed with two key objectives: to meet students’ demand for courses and research opportunities in the areas of international security and U.S. foreign policy and to diversify W&M’s theoretical approaches to the study of these subjects. Students presented posters on their research, attended panels and receptions, and generally participated in the life of the conference over the two days. 

The Security & Foreign Policy Initiative is directed by Jessica Trisko Darden and generously supported by the Charles Koch Foundation and Paul C. Jost and Laura Holmes Jost.

Conference Agenda