Join us for an engaging talk and Q&A with Jennifer Welsh, Professor and Chair in International Relations at the European University Institute.

Jennifer Welsh

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Tuesday, March 21st, 2017
Liu Institute for Global Issues – Multipurpose Room
Please RSVP.

This lecture discusses how the individualization of conflict forces us to confront the status of individuals in three different capacities: 1) as subject to violence but deserving of protection; 2) as liable to attack because of their status as combatants or their responsibility for attacks on others; and 3) as agents who can be held accountable for the perpetration of crimes committed in the course of armed conflict. It also argues that while the human rights norms underpinning individualization are normatively desirable in themselves, efforts to operationalize protection, liability, and accountability are placing enormous strain on the actors and institutions most actively engaged in armed conflict: the governments and armed forces of states; international security organisations; and humanitarian agencies. This strain is manifest in a series of concrete dilemmas that are confounding contemporary policy-makers and potentially weakening the legitimacy of national, international, and non-governmental institutions. Individual rights and responsibilities are at the centre of today’s international and civil conflicts in a way that they have never been before. This process of ‘individualization’, which challenges the primacy of the sovereign state, has two main drivers: powerful normative developments related to human rights, which have spawned new kinds of wars and peacekeeping missions and a new class of international crimes; and dramatic technological and strategic developments that empower individuals as military actors, and that enable either the targeting or protection of particular individuals.

Bio: Jennifer M. Welsh is Professor and Chair in International Relations at the European University Institute and a Fellow of Somerville College, University of Oxford.

She was previously a Professor in International Relations at the University of Oxford, and co-director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict. In 2013, she was appointed by the UN Secretary General to serve as his Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, a position she held until March 2016.

Professor Welsh is a former Jean Monnet Fellow of the European University Institute, and a Cadieux Research Fellow in the Policy Planning Staff of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. She is the author, co-author, and editor of several books and articles on humanitarian intervention, the evolution of the notion of the ‘responsibility to protect’ in international society, the UN Security Council, and Canadian foreign policy. Her most recent publications include The Return of History: Conflict, Migration and Geopolitics in the 21st century (2016) and The Responsibility to Prevent: Overcoming the Challenges of Atrocity Prevention (2015). She was the Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Massey College (University of Toronto) in 2005, and a 2006 recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship and a Trudeau Fellowship.

In 2014, she began directing the five-year ERC-funded project “The Individualisation of War: Reconfiguring the Ethics, Law and Politics of Armed Conflict’.

Professor Welsh sits on the editorial boards of the journals Global Responsibility to Protect and Ethics and International Affairs, on the steering committee of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences project on Ethics, Technology and War, and on the Advisory Board of the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt.  She has a BA from the University of Saskatchewan (Canada), and a Masters and Doctorate from the University of Oxford (where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar).

Co-sponsors: Dept. of Political Science and the Liu Institute for Global Issues, UBC