The Global Security Fellows Institute is an international institute whose members examine transboundary issues concerning states and regions undergoing rapid transformation.
The Institute grew out of a multi-disciplinary research and training program for mid-career men and women that began at the University of Cambridge, England, in 1993. This program -- the Global Security Fellows Initiative (GSFI Program) -- focused on Central/Eastern Europe and Southern Africa as regions undergoing sudden and dramatic change following the end of the Cold War and the apartheid era, respectively. At the core of the Institute are 52 men and women who were fellows of the GSFI Program at the University of Cambridge.
Building and expanding on that work, the new Institute is located at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, and at the Environmental Studies Department at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. Both Wolfson and Dartmouth have long traditions of international research, concerns and endeavor.
The Institute seeks to promote cooperation across borders. Its research teams examine non-military, transboundary challenges to peace and security - - especially environmental stresses, economic dislocations, refugee/population pressures and ethnicity and autonomy issues.
Phase One of the Global Security Fellows Initiative started in 1993 at the University of Cambridge, England. The Initiative was fully funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, a grant-making foundation, to undertake training, research and publication.
The Initiative, under the direction of Dr. Jack Shepherd, focused on new and pivotal questions regarding the peace and well-being of peoples in the post Cold-War era. During its first phase, Initiative Fellows examined four important challenges to the security and progress of nations, peoples and regions. These included:
Initiative Fellows formed research teams around these issues. The teams were drawn from the two regions, and were multi-disciplinary, multi-lingual and often multi-racial. Initiative Fellows competed for their selection into the program and were exceptional mid-career professionals with high leadership potential from the two regions. The core of the fellowship training program focused in leadership, team building and negotiation/conflict resolution training at the University of Cambridge and in the conduct of primary research in the Fellows' home region. Each team sought
The first phase of the Initiative program at Cambridge began in September 1993, when Dr. Jack Shepherd started the process of selecting Fellows and identifying research topics. In brief, research topics addressed resource scarcity and environmental stress which challenged the future well-being of people and nations throughout the world. Shared resources such as water or food are important sources of political confrontation and even violent conflict. Transboundary environmental conditions in Central and Eastern Europe continue to be problematic. As Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic, observed in 1994:
"We have laid waste to our soil and the rivers and the forests that our forefathers bequeathed us, and we have the worst environment in the whole of Europe today."
Multi-disciplinary and international teams of eight Fellows were selected for Phase One. In 1994-1995, Fellows of Focus Area One researched and analyzed the environmental damage, problems and potential for dispute resolution in the Black Triangle (where Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic meet).
Focus Area Two Fellows concentrated on matters of ethnic identity and autonomy. One of the most immediate threats to peace and security comes from peoples seeking political autonomy and the ethnic conflict that often results. During 1994-1995, Fellows examined the risks of ethnic and sectarian conflict in the Central Carpathian region. That region, which stretches from north-eastern Hungary through western Ukraine and eastern Slovakia into south-eastern Poland, suggests a possible profile of future instability. It is a mosaic of six different ethnic groups and five major religions, shifting national boundaries, and high unemployment - one of the greatest friction plates in Europe - offering not only potential for conflict but also opportunities for new kinds of cooperation.
Two teams were then selected from across Southern Africa. Focus Area Three Fellows, from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia, took on the task of examining population growth issues and movement of refugees. Of particular interest were the impacts from transboundary labor migration and survival strategies among minorities such as women and children. The Focus Area Four team took up the challenge of ethnic identity and autonomy, along with issues of economic cooperation. Both teams' work resulted in Occasional Papers published by White Horse Press.
Two new multi-disciplinary and international Initiative teams of ten Fellows were selected for Phase Two. The first team started work in October 1996; the second team in October 1997. These teams also addressed urgent transboundary challenges to the peace, security and welfare of people living in areas of Central and Eastern Europe. Again, the two overriding topics of investigation were The Environment, and Ethnicity and Autonomy.
The Environment Team undertook an in-depth analysis of significant transboundary environmental issues in Central and Eastern Europe including human health, water or food security, environmental law and management.
The Ethnicity and Autonomy Team looked at the Central Carpathian region to analyze transboundary issues and problems in that region. The team sought to identify wider Central and Eastern European transboundary issues of ethnicity and autonomy - the projects addressed transboundary governance and cooperation, legal rights and entitlements, citizenship and autonomy, and the rights of minority peoples.
The Global Security Fellows Institute
In July 1998, representatives of all six teams met at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, to plan the next steps for the GSFI program. There was immediate agreement that an international Institute should be created that would carry on the strong, multi-disciplinary research interests of the GSFI program, engage the active Fellows, encompass new issues confronting peoples of the two regions in transformation, and link the distinguished institutions of the University of Cambridge with Dartmouth College. Further institutional links are being created in Central Europe and in Southern Africa.
Formative meetings and conferences were held in 1999 in Kielce, Poland, and Pretoria, South Africa. A major Institute conference around the theme of transboundary cooperation is planned for 1-3 September 2000. A further Institute meeting is being formed for September 2002.
The Global Security Fellows Institute website, is now seeking to create web linkages of research among the Fellows. (Research) The website will also feature new employment opportunities, conferences, publications, grants and other funding sources.