Federal Foreign Office
The final discussion will draw on the previous themes of the conference and deduce what can be learned from the First World War and its commemoration. What instruments can be utilized in the present day and what (multilateral) actors of peace remain relevant? Other questions that will be considered include: What historical developments extend from the immediate post-war period to the present day? What current problems and crises can be traced back to that time? Of the designs for peace developed around 1918, which ones are still relevant today? What contradictions did they contain, and what were their limitations? What mistakes were made when translating them into action? Looking at other pivotal moments in 20th century history, such as 1945 or 1989/90, what has been learned from these mistakes, with a view to ending war and making peace – and how can we apply these lessons to present-day crises and conflicts?
Ayham KamelEurasia Group
Ayham Kamel is the head of Eurasia Group's Middle East and North Africa research team. He leads coverage of regional geopolitics, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Iraq, and the Levant area (Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon). His work focuses on the US/Russia roles in the Middle East, Iran-Saudi relations, energy policy, terrorism threats, and financial trends in the region. Ayham is a regular contributor to global foreign policy expert discussions. His sectoral expertise includes the financial industry, banking, hospitality, infrastructure, and oil and gas. He is also involved in integrating country and project risk in financial modeling. Prior to joining the geopolitical risk consulting firm Eurasia Group, Mr. Kamel worked with investment firms in Syria and the Gulf countries, where he managed strategic relations with companies from the GCC and Europe. He has conducted research on geostrategic issues, foreign aid, democratization, and business operations in emerging markets for the US Senate, the National Democratic Institute, and the Center for International Private Enterprise.
(Picture Copyright: Ayham Kamel)
Dr. Vaira Vīķe-FreibergaFormer president of the Republic of Latvia
Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga is a former president of the Republic of Latvia. She was first elected in 1999 and re-elected for a second term in 2003. She currently serves as the president of the Club of Madrid, the world’s largest forum for former heads of state and government, which she co-founded. She is a founding member and Co-Chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, a Baku-based organization that promotes dialogue and understanding between cultures and people. As part of her work for the defense of liberty, democracy, equality and social justice, Dr. Vīķe-Freiberga is a member of numerous EU and international organizations. As president of Latvia, she had a vital role in her country’s accession into the EU and the NATO in 2004.
(Picture Copyright: Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga)
Dr. Justin VaïsseCentre d'analyse, de prévision et de stratégie (CAPS)
Justin Vaïsse has been the Director of the Centre for Analysis, Planning and Strategy (CAPS) since 2013, a think thank within the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs tasked with making strategic recommendations to the Foreign Minister. After earning a PhD from the Institut d’études politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris in 2005, he worked as a senior Fellow and director of research for the Center on the United States and Europe of the Brookings Institution in Washington from 2007 to 2013. Justin Vaïsse specializes in French and American foreign policy, transatlantic relations and American neoconservatism. His books include Neoconservatism: The Biography of a Movement published in 2008 (English: 2010) and a biography of former American National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, published in 2016 (English: 2018).
(Picture Copyright: Justin Vaïsse)
Dr. Volker PerthesGerman Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)
Volker Perthes has been chief executive officer and director of SWP (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik), the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, since October 2005.
Since September 2015, Volker Perthes has also served as Senior Advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria and he is currently chairing the Ceasefire Task Force for Syria within the international Syria Support Group (ISSG) on behalf of the UN.
He earned his doctoral degree in 1990 and his habilitation in 1999 from the University of Duisburg and worked as assistant professor at the American University of Beirut from 1991 to 1993. Today, he teaches International Relations at Humboldt University Berlin and Freie Universität Berlin.
Dr. Perthes is a frequent commentator in German and international media on German and European foreign and security policy, international relations and geopolitics, and regional dynamics and transitions in the Middle East.
(Picture Copyright: SWP)