Human Security @ 20

Past Experiences and Future Prospects

25–27 June 2014, John Henry Brookes Building, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK

Keynote speakers

Context and aims

Since the concept of Human Security was introduced in 1994, it has informed many researches and practices and its meaning and methods of implementation have extensively been discussed across disciplines and policy areas including: social sciences, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, human rights, business and management, law, development, environmental studies, and health, among others. However, the idea that we should be free from want, free from fear and free to live in dignity still stands in sharp contrast with everyday insecurities experienced by ordinary people and constituencies at risk. As outline in UNDP’s 1994 Human Development Report, human security is understood to be the aggregate of the absence of economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political insecurity. Over the past 20 years, it has been increasingly recognized that threats to people’s survival, livelihood and dignity are multidimensional and that the complete spectrum of components that guarantee human well-being must be addressed in a comprehensive and integrated manner.

This new way of thinking – inherent in the human security concept and practice – presents both challenges and opportunities. The challenge for academics, policy makers and practitioners is to transcend disciplines and narrow world-views, in order to deliver a more profound understanding of these complexities and overcome the continued reliance on usual science and disparate approaches to knowledge generation. At the same time, human security provides a practical approach to policymaking and programme development that advance interconnections between the spheres of peace and security, development and human rights. In focusing our attention on how complex and interrelated threats impact people and communities, as well as States, human security provides a new way of understanding and responding to the range of challenges we face in the twenty-first century.

This 3-day, international conference aspires to take stock of two decades of conceptualizing and practicing human security. It seeks to promote new approaches to understand and address the interdependent threats to human dignity. The conference emphasizes the idea of human security as an instrument of change, adverting its holistic character and its use as a methodological tool.

The conference will have an academic and a practical dimension, and is intended to feed into academic and policy programs for advancing human security and its discourse.

The intention is to publish a selection of the papers presented in the form of an edited volume or special issue of a journal. Building a bridge between the work of practitioners, policy-makers and academics is one of the main objectives of the conference and hopefully the outcome of it, in terms of such publication and/or recommendations.

Program committee