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Afghanistan in the spotlight at Westminster conference

7 October 2009

The efforts of the international community to build a new state in Afghanistan will come under the spotlight when leading international relations experts this week consider the future of state-building at a major London conference.

Academics from Europe and the US will also draw on past examples of intervention such as East Timor and Bosnia as they discuss whether the international community can intervene effectively to build new states.

The conference, entitled The Future of Statebuilding: Ethics, Power and Responsibility in International Relations, is being organised by the University of Westminster and will run from 9-11 October.

An opening keynote address by Roland Paris of the University of Ottawa, whose recent works include co-editing this years Dilemmas of Statebuilding: Confronting the Contradictions of Postwar Peace, will set the scene for three days of discussions on both the theory and practice of state-building.

David Chandler, professor of international relations at the University of Westminster's Centre for the Study of Democracy, said the event would consider the various forms of international intervention and regulation in the wider context of issues of ethics, power and responsibility.

We have seen numerous examples since the end of World War Two of the international community intervening to build new states. Some of these have been more successful than others. This conference will pull together current thinking on the way this form of international relations may develop in the future, he said.

Afghanistan is an example where the international community is currently intervening but where policy goals may be shifting as a result of perceptions of lack of progress.


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