Serving as the keynote speaker for the 15th Annual ATHENA Conference in Athens, Greece, Jonathan Wilkenfeld, ICONS founding director, explored the challenges of crisis management and how mediation can assist in dealing with international crises.
Addressing hundreds of general staff officers and civilian security personnel from all NATO countries and key allies in the Middle East, Wilkenfeld said the management of international crises has evolved because the nature of the international system has changed.
“The current international system has changed,” Wilkenfeld said. “It is now characterized by multiple nonstate actors and internal conflicts that can boil over to become crises, threatening the stability of the international community. Additionally, there are a number of issues, such as climate and resource scarcity, that require action on a global collective scale.”
His talk also highlighted characteristics of crisis mediation and he offered guidelines for mediation in a time of change.
Organized by the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (HNDGS), the conference aimed to bring together scholars, experts and military leaders to analyze sources of instability in the current international security environment and explore emerging best practices in crisis response. The first day of the conference addressed key security challenges like migration and terrorism. The following days explored critical elements of crisis management and the impact of social/cultural events. Other topics included: counterterrorism challenges, stereotypes and misconceptions of terrorism and countering hybrid threats and more.
“We face an unprecedented range of security challenges that highlight the need to anticipate, prepare for and respond effectively to crises events. ATHENA ‘18 seeks to add knowledge towards this end,” said Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, in a press release about the event.
ATHENA ’18 conference proceedings will be published on the conference website in early January 2019.