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Durham Castle Lecture Series

Castle Lectures Programme 2014- 2015

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Wednesday 6 May 2015
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Professor Thomas Weiss, Director Emeritus of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, Presidential Professor of Political Science at The Graduate Center, CUNY (The City University of New York), and Research Professor at SOAS, University of London.

"Humanitarian Intervention and Business: A Tale of Ethical Quandaries"

Understanding the ongoing transformations in contemporary humanitarian action in war zones requires examining the nature and evolution of humanitarian culture -its values, language, behavior. The move is away from an agreed culture of cooperation to a contested one of competition as a result of militarization, politicization, and marketization. What is necessary is a "learning culture" of responsible reflection rather than rapid reaction.

Thomas G. Weiss is Presidential Professor of Political Science at The CUNY Graduate Center and Director Emeritus (2001-14) of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies; he is also research professor at SOAS, University of London. Past president of the International Studies Association (2009-10), Chair of the Academic Council on the UN System (2006-9), editor of Global Governance (2000-5), and Research Director of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, he has written extensively about multilateral approaches to international peace and security, humanitarian action, and sustainable development. His latest authored volumes include: Governing the World? Addressing "Problems without Passports" (2014); The United Nations and Changing World Politics (2014); Global Governance: Why? What? Whither? (2013); Humanitarian Business (2013); What’s Wrong with the United Nations and How to Fix It (2012); Humanitarian Intervention: Ideas in Action (2012); Thinking about Global Governance: People and Ideas Matter (2011); Humanitarianism Contested: Where Angels Fear to Tread (2011); Global Governance and the UN: An Unfinished Journey (2010); and UN Ideas That Changed the World (2009).