CCW held its first Executive Leadership Course at St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford from 20-24 June. The course initiated stimulating exchanges on how to ‘Understand, Plan, Act’ in the light of the changing character of armed conflict. Speakers from international institutions and from within the UK facilitated ground-breaking discussion on the organisational culture of armed conflict, how to adapt as a leader to increasingly complex conflict environments, and the role of the human psyche in our thinking about strategy and leadership. Delegates travelled from all over the world to participate in a diverse range of seminars, discussion groups and exercises: from Colombia and Finland to Turkey and Pakistan, they benefitted from sharing their diverse experiences as military personnel, practitioners and scholars.
Discussion opened with a ‘History of Strategy’ by Sir Lawrence Freedman, which evolved throughout the day to demonstrate how strategy is constantly trying to keep up with ‘The Changing Character of Conflict’. These discussions were supported with talks by Dr Eamonn Molloy and a special address by Professor Sir Hew Strachan. Throughout the week delegates debated and learned about ‘New Security Threats’ in regards to migration with Professor Dawn Chatty and economic costs with Dr Anke Hoeffler as well as hearing about ‘Revolutions in Military Affairs’ from Professor Matthew Johnson. Additionally, Mr Sam Daws led a discussion on whether the United Nations is relevant for the 21st Century by linking ‘Policy and Strategy’, while Lord John Alderdice and Professor Dominic Johnson highlighted how ‘Behavioural Patterns among Violent Non-State Groups’ are shifting the discourse on armed conflict. Professor Nic Cheeseman wrapped up the intense week-long course on ‘Africa’s Potential for Peace’ and how ‘New Conflicts’ might be resolved by applying ‘New Policy’.
The course also brought together policy and strategy by exposing delegates to simulation exercises during which delegates had to adapt tactics and leadership styles to pressing and changing conditions on the ground. The week was designed and co-chaired by Dr Annette Idler (CCW Director of Studies) and the CCW Director, Dr Rob Johnson. During the week, Dr Idler led a thought-provoking talk on the relevance of non-state actor groups in armed conflict and Dr Johnson closed the course with a provocative seminar on the future of armed conflict as an ‘Urban Operating Environment’ and the growing and real threat of cyberwarfare.
CCW’s first Executive Leadership Course was a great success and we look forward to hosting the second course next year. Information on the course will be provided this autumn. CCW would like to thank all our guest speakers and facilitators, as well as our Operations Manager, Ruth Murray, Event Assistants Sara Usher and Laura Courchesne and St. Catherine’s College.