The workshop came about as a result of my involvement as a researcher at Cambridge University where I met Chris Donnelly, Senior Fellow at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, a man of great vision, humility and tireless energy in the encouragement of cooperation and new thinking at every level in our ever-changing world. His mentorship has been truly inspiring. He encouraged me in two areas, first to bring together various strands of my previous experience: working as an Advocate inter alia with the Commissioners for Research and Development and Information Technologies at the European Commission in Brussels; with the Cambridge-MIT Institute in Cambridge and with my work at the Judge Business School in Cambridge on the Eurasia Programme of Advanced Leadership and Management for young professionals from the former Soviet Union. Second he helped me network to obtain potential partners who could contribute to and benefit from a forum of discussion about changes in the world of science and security and what was needed to help our societies both locally and globally to survive and flourish.
I made contact with my co-Director Dr. Svetlana Saveleva through a former colleague and with a small group of willing organisers, developed a programme that we thought would illustrate the challenges faced by several nations today and provide hope and inspiration though presentations of best practice and new initiatives in a number of diverse locations: UK-US, Turkey, Norway, Baltic States.
The event itself took place in the autumnal sunshine of St. John's College Cambridge. After setting the scene of the scientific and security challenges facing NATO, the Military, the Police, and society in general, we looked at the experience of several countries in particular. This was followed by the break out sessions which were tailored to allow discussion among the different groups representing the wealthier western countries, the former Soviet Union and the Mediterranean Dialogue countries. This meant they could better focus on their own areas of cultural and social concern rather than have a mixture in each break out group. The facilitators chosen were experts in the issues and helped generate valuable debate.
A mix too of different sectors – public and private, civilian and military, (industry, academia, military, police, intelligence services), national and international – were chosen to promote helpful dialogue, cooperation and highlight case studies of successful inter-sector and interdisciplinary projects. Again this worked well in practice and helped develop an opportunity for a useful network of experts. Everyone had a part to play in the proceedings as a speaker, facilitator, rapporteur or chair person.
Consideration was given to providing sufficient time for informal discussion over coffee breaks, lunch, dinner where so many fruitful ideas can be forthcoming. On the last evening a party atmosphere was created in an historic pub in Cambridge where each of the remaining participants had to say a poem, tell a joke or sing a song in their national tongue followed by a translation in English. Expressions of cultural diversity remind us of our common humanity with themes such as love and loss helping to nurture tolerance, understanding and a good laugh.
My thanks go to Lucie Bratinkova, Gwen Buchan, Rachel Priestman for their help as rapporteurs or general support during the event itself; to Professor Ralph Pettman (International Relations) of Victoria University of Wellington who had to cancel attendance at the eleventh hour due to illness but had been a great help in the lead up to the workshop; Eve Williamson for her patience with typing and general organisation, and to Abimbola Agboluaje who stepped in to help both during the workshop as a rapporteur and then in the post-production phase with making up the CD-Rom and helping to edit this book. My appreciation is also for Fernando Carvalho Rodrigues who gave an insightful after-dinner speech and encouraged me, like Chris Donnelly, to develop my research and new ideas further. Such endorsement from men of utter distinction is humbling, but encouraging. My thanks too for Liz Cowan from NATO, a fellow Scot, for helping me through many a bureaucratic challenge.