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‘Syria, Salisbury and savings lives at war: what next for foreign policy and humanitarian intervention?’ Book launch and panel discussion with Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, Sir Stephen O'Brien and Sir Christopher Greenwood

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Organised by the Research for Health in Conflict, Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) project at the University of Cambridge, King’s College London, and Magdalene College, Cambridge

5pm (London), Friday 26th February

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We are pleased to welcome three leading figures in humanitarian intervention and international diplomacy to discuss Hamish de Bretton-Gordon’s new book – Syria, Salisbury and savings lives at war.

Hamish has spent 30 years in conflict and humanitarian zones around the world. As the army’s foremost chemical weapons expert, he built a unique first-hand understanding of how to prevent attacks and train doctors on the frontline -saving countless lives. His experiences provide the ideal setting and historical background to discuss the current state of humanitarian intervention and the rapid changes we are witnessing in foreign relations. The Covid-19 pandemic and its fallout has impacted all aspects of government policy and will influence international affairs over coming years. For example, how will reduced Overseas Development Aid (ODA) affect the UK’s ability to play a leading and meaningful role in humanitarian intervention and development? How do government’s deal with the new bioterror threat which Covid-19 has created? And do we need new models and approaches toward humanitarian intervention and international humanitarian law (IHL) to deal with changing international alliances and ongoing violations of IHL ?

Sir Christopher Greenwood Sir Christopher Greenwood is the new Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge In 2008 he was elected by the United Nations as a Judge of the International Court of Justice. He served on the Court until 2018 and was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) for services to international justice in the same year. The United States appointed him as one of its three appointees on the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in 2018. A Bencher of Middle Temple since 2003, he was Master Reader of the Inn in Lent 2020. He was Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics from 1996 to 2008 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1999. His court appearances and advisory roles include the Pinochet case in the House of Lords, the legality of using force against Iraq, cases about the Lockerbie bombing and the Kosovo conflict in the International Court of Justice and numerous cases before the European Court of Human Rights, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the English courts. Sir Stephen O’Brien The Rt. Hon. Sir Stephen O’Brien KBE is a British internationalist, humanitarian, diplomat, politician, global health advocate and campaigner, business leader and mentor, industrialist and lawyer. In 2015 Sir Stephen was appointed UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, leading the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. As the world’s leading Advocate for crisis-affected people, not least in a record number of forceful engagements before the UN’s Security Council, he argued for compliance and accountability under International Humanitarian Law, unimpeded access to people in need and the necessary US$23 billion funds, under the transformative Agenda for Humanity which was developed under his leadership at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016. His responsibilities included oversight of all UN humanitarian operations globally, and leadership of coordination mechanisms between UN agencies and other partners. Sir Stephen’s term covered the time of the exponential increase to 143 million people across 40-plus countries suffering from natural disasters and in grave humanitarian crises with life-saving and protection needs, caused primarily by man-made conflict and violence, leading to protracted and complex crises. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon Hamish de Bretton-Gordon OBE , is one of the world’s leading experts on chemical and biological counter-terrorism. He is co-founder and director of Doctors Under Fire with Professor David Nott, where he helps civilians with the threat from chemical weapons. He advises the UK Government at the highest level on CBRN –including the Novichok poisoning in Salisbury in 2018. He frequently appears in global media as an expert commentator. He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Magdalene College Cambridge. Twitter: @HamishDBG

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