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Seminar on UK-Polish security policy

‘NATO after the Warsaw Summit 2016: British-Polish Perspectives in an Uncertain Security Environment’.

Seminar sponsored by the generous support of the Noble Foundation's Programme on Modern Poland.

Organisers: Prof Alister Miskimmon, Royal Holloway, University London and Prof Kerry Longhurst, Collegium Civitas

Senate House, Room SH264, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, London, 26th May 2017

In a visit to Warsaw in February 2016, UK Prime Minister David Cameron called for a ‘full strategic partnership with Poland”, he added “I want to make a success of the vital NATO summit here in July and work to strengthen the eastern flank of the alliance (…) standing up to Russian aggression”. The Polish government also recognises the vital role the UK plays in European defence and has welcomed Britain’s considerable endeavours to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank. Ministers from both countries continue to reaffirm the centrality of NATO for their security and defence policies and also highlight the need for adapting the Alliance for new and future threats, whilst at the same time not losing its core function as a territorial defence organisation. Beyond, security and defence, there are palpable efforts being made to deepen bilateral relations on political, economic and societal levels, as illustrated by the establishment of the Belvedere Forum.    

These facts notwithstanding, a multitude of uncertainties and challenges prevail. BREXIT has brought to the fore manifold questions regarding British-Polish relations in general, as well as the former’s future role in European and Transatlantic security. Meanwhile, Russia continues to be a force of destabilisation and revisionism, prompting Poland and most of its regional neighbours to seek a beefing-up of NATO’s physical presence from the Baltic down to the Black Sea. Furthermore, the ramifications of the Trump Presidency for the evolution of NATO and wider Trans-Atlantic relations remain hard to estimate and predict.  

It is against this backdrop that the seminar will facilitate a discussion on British and Polish perspectives on security and defence policy within the framework of the evolution of NATO in an uncertain security environment. A key objective will be to assess areas of convergence and divergence between the two countries and how these might play out over time. The seminar is part of a research project funded by the Noble Foundation, which is led by Alister Miskimmon and Kerry Longhurst.


13:00               Introduction and Welcome – Alister Miskimmon

13:15               Panel 1: Developments in Defence and Security Policy in UK and Poland

Tom Dyson and Olaf Osica

14:15               Panel 2: Russian Influence in Eastern and Central Europe – UK and Polish Perspectives

  Ben O’Loughlin, Alister Miskimmon and Octavian Milewski

 15:15               Coffee

15:45               Panel 3: Polish and British Perspective on Regional Threats and Challenges – Terrorism and Migration

  Pauline Heinrichs and Piotr Buras

 16:45               Summing up and Next Steps – Kerry Longhurst


United Kingdom – Royal Holloway

Tom Dyson is Senior Lecturer in International Relations. His research interests lie in European defence and security and British, French and German defence policy. Dr Dyson is currently undertaking a Gerda Henkel Foundation Fellowship (2016-18) at the Bundeswehr Centre for Military History and Social Science which examines organisational learning in the British and German armed forces during ISAF. He is the author of The Politics of German Defence and Security (Berghahn, 2007); Neoclassical Realism and Defence Reform in post-Cold War Europe(Palgrave, 2010) and European Defence Cooperation in EU Law and IR Theory (Palgrave, 2013, with Dr Theodore Konstadinides). Dr Dyson has also published articles in the British Journal of Politics and International RelationsContemporary British HistoryContemporary Security PolicyDefence StudiesEuropean Law Review; European SecurityGerman Politics and Security Studies. Email:

Pauline Heinrichs is a PhD student at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her thesis focuses on German and UK narratives of counter-terrrorism policy. Pauline has an undergraduate degree from Royal Holloway and a Masters degree from Sciences Po, Paris. Email:

Alister Miskimmon is Professor of European Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London. He works on strategic narratives, German foreign policy and European security.  Alister is part of an EU-funded Jean Monnet Network (2015-2018) conducting research on EU crisis narratives in Ukraine and Israel/Palestine. Alister’s other current project is on British and Polish defense policy after the 2016 NATO summit in Warsaw, funded by the Noble Foundation. Alister, Ben O’Loughlin, and Laura Roselle have published two books on strategic narratives -  Strategic Narratives: Communication Power and the New World Order (New York, Routledge, 2013) and Forging the World: Strategic Narratives and International Relations (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2017). Alister will be taking up the position of Head of the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen’s University, Belfast in June 2017. Web: Email

Ben O’Loughlin is Professor of International Relations and Co-Director of the New Political Communication Unit at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is co-editor of the Sage journal Media, War & Conflict. He was Specialist Advisor to the UK Parliament’s Select Committee on Soft Power, producing the report Power and Persuasion in the Modern World. His latest book is Forging the World: Strategic Narratives and International Relations (2017, University of Michigan Press) with Alister Miskimmon, and they are currently completing a book on narrative diplomacy and the 2015 Iran peace deal. Ben runs projects funded by Jean Monnet, Marie-Sklodowska Curie, and the British Council and Goethe Institute all researching culture and communication in Ukraine. Email:


Piotr Buras is a journalist, author and expert in German and European politics. Between 2008 and 2012 he worked as a columnist and Berlin correspondent for “Gazeta Wyborcza”, the biggest Polish daily. He started his professional career in the late 1990s at the Center for International Relations in Warsaw, one of the first Polish think-tanks. He continued his career at the Institute for German Studies at the University of Birmingham and at the University of Wroclaw (Poland). He was also visiting fellow at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin. His recent book “Moslems and the other Germans. The Reinvention of the Berlin Republic” was published in Polish in 2011.  

Professor Kerry Longhurst holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Birmingham and an MSc in Strategic Studies from the University of Wales. She is a Jean Monnet Professor at Collegium Civitas and a Visiting Professor at the Natolin campus of the College of Europe. Prior to this she held an Advanced Marie Curie Fellowship at Ifri in Paris and was also Senior Lecturer at the European Research Institute at the University of Birmingham. Professor Longhurst has published widely on European Neighbourhood issues as well as other topics in European Security. Her publications include :'Forging a new Ostpolitik: An Assessment of the European Union's Eastern Partnership' (2010) Studia i Analizy (Collegium Civitas) Published in Polish and English; ‘Beyond Enlargement - The European Union and its New Eastern Neighbours’ in Thierry de Montbrial and Philippe Moreau Defarges (eds.) RAMSES 2010 - Crise mondiale et gouvernance globale (Dunod). (In French);‘Recasting Relations with the Neighbours - Prospects for the Eastern Partnership’ an Ifri Europe Visions Paper written with Susanne Nies;‘Injecting More Differentiation into European Neighbourhood Policy’ in Russia/NEI Issues.

Octavian Milewski: is a political scientist specialized on Central East European area studies. At present he is a PhD candidate in Sociology with the Polish Academy of Science, Graduate School of Social Research. His research interests are in Central and East European area studies, Russian foreign and security policy, Black Sea regional and security studies, as well as the European Neighbourhood Policy and EU external governance in the Eastern Partnership countries. He has an M.A. in European Interdisciplinary Studies with the College of Europe at Natolin, Warsaw (2015). Octavian Milewski has also earned an M.A. in International Relations from University of Bucharest (2005) and a B.M.A. in Political Science (2003) from the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest.

Olaf Osica: Previous head the OSW in Warsaw. Leader and manager, government consultant and advisor with over ten years’ experience in private and governmental think-tanks. Coordinator and participant of projects for public and private sector in the field of security and defense and EU external relations and energy policy. Media foreign policy commentator and author of numerous articles and book chapters on EU foreign, security and defense policy and transatlantic relations. He holds a PhD in social and political sciences from European University Institute in Florence (Italy). Participant on scholarships programmes of the US State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France and German foundations (DAAD, GFPS-Polska).

Posted on Monday, May 22, 2017 at 03:35PM by Registered CommenterDr Alister Miskimmon | CommentsPost a Comment

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