Annual Conference – Student/Young Pugwash UK

The Annual SYP UK Conference is an initiative launched by students from the Oxford, Warwick, SOAS and King’s College London in 2016, to provide a platform for students, young researchers and professionals to discuss matters at the intersection of science and world affairs.

2022 – Technology & Peace Conference

On the 12th February 2022, Student/Young Pugwash (SYP) UK hosted its Annual Conference online, on the theme of ‘Technology & Peace’. The co-hosts were University of Leicester’s Third Nuclear Age project.

For video and the programme, visit here

2021 – SYP UK Peace Workshops!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we chose not to hold an annual conference in 2021. Instead, SYP UK ran a series of online ‘peace workshops’, bringing together international researchers and policy practitioners to discuss opportunities for international co-operation, arms control and peace.

Topics covered digital technologies in warfare, Russian-West relations, perspectives on the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty and more.

A selection of videos from the workshops can be found here

2020 – Warwick Technology & Peace Conference!

Student / Young Pugwash UK held its fifth Annual Conference in March 2020, titled ‘Warwick Technology & Peace Conference‘, in association with the Warwick Pugwash Student Society. 

It was a multidisciplinary conference about the risks posted by emerging technologies, as well as political and technical solutions to control them.

The conference brought together over 50 participants, including young researchers, practitioners, campaigners and students. Attendance and engagement from senior members of the Pugwash network was also most appreciated.

  • The agenda is here

A number of speakers have shared their Powerpoint slides. These include:

  • Dr Catherine Rhodes on catastrophic misuse of biology (here)
  • Laura Nolan on autonomous weapons (‘killer robots’) and moral distance (here)
  • Dr Frank Boulton on the effects of nuclear weapons (here)
  • Niamh Healy on the ‘cyber-nuclear nexus’ (here)
  • Lyubomir Sakaliyski on the laws around space weaponisation (here)
  • Matteo Frigoli on hypersonic weapons and their effect on strategic stability (here)

2019 – Pugwash Peace & Disarmament Conference!

Student / Young Pugwash UK held its fourth Annual Conference in February 2019, titled ‘Pugwash Peace & Disarmament Conference‘. It explored the prospects for arms control and disarmament over the coming years, with focuses on nuclear weapons and emerging technologies.

The conference brought together over 70 participants, including young researchers, practitioners, campaigners and students. Attendance and engagement from senior members of the Pugwash network was also most appreciated.

  • The agenda is here
  • The opening panel included remarks from Peter Jenkins (Chair of British Pugwash) about a recent Pugwash visit to Moscow to discuss arms control – here
  • Working Group reports on:
    • Nuclear arms control and disarmament here
    • Nuclear weapons policies – Countries and regions here
    • Emerging technologies – here

In the late afternoon, there were two sessions under the ‘Technology 101’ theme, looking at some of the technical features of nuclear weapons and autonomous weapons. There was also a brainstorming session for campaigners to stimulate greater cooperation among arms control advocates.

Photos from the day can be found here

2018 – Warwick Peace Conference

This conference focused on trends in politics and technology, exploring their potential effects on war and peace.

Multimedia Conference Report here

Lord Wood of Anfield, in conversation with BASIC’s Seb Brixey-Williams, on achieving a principled foreign policy in a dangerous world

2017 conference – report!

Our last conference, held in March 2017 at SOAS, was titled:

‘Uncharted Territory: Arms control and disarmament in the New Nuclear Age’

Despite the challenging international context, our members wanted to explore where there might be some opportunities for progress over the coming years.

The conference brought together a mix of students, young researchers and established experts, who considered presentations within the following Working Groups: ‘Treaties and the Laws of War’, ‘Science, Technology and Industry’ and ‘International Relations’.

Conference report (i.e. Summaries of Working Group presentations and the full agenda) can be found here.

2016 conference – Inaugural conference!

The first Annual British Student Young Pugwash Conference was held on the 21st of March 2016 at SOAS, University of London.

The culmination of months of preparation and advertisement, resulted in 70 student applications from 11 universities across the UK and the participation of eminent scholars, members of the civil society and state representatives.

The conference began with a panel session questioning the ‘Salience of nuclear weapons in world politics’. Guest speakers included:

  • Dr Nick Ritchie (Professor at the University of York)
  • Ms Andrea Berger (Deputy Director of the Proliferation and Nuclear Policy programme at RUSI)
  • Mr David McIlroy (Deputy Head of the Counter Proliferation Department at the FCO)

In the afternoon, the participants focused on the following thematic issues:

  • Climate Change and Energy Policy/Security
  • New Security Context in Europe
  • Security challenges in the Middle East
  • Nuclear Governance in the United Kingdom
  • New Technologies and Warfare
Below you will find the papers of 20 students who presented their research at the conference.

Working Group on Climate Change and Energy Policy/Security

1. Stephen Kakouris, Japan’s Energy Security Post Fukushima
2. Ryan Kelly, How do concepts and theories influence the way we analyse politics and is this a problem?
3. Ricardo Rosselli, Energy Security and Climate Change
4. Alp Katalan, Why the UK government should abandon Fracking

Working Group on New Security Context in Europe

5. Ioana Popescu, Security, Refugees and Multiculturalism
6. Alberto Pérez Vadillo, The new arms race: blurring the line between conventional and nuclear war
7. Christopher Newbery, The Jungle
8. Helen Taupin, New European Security Context
9. Pietro Dalla Vedova, New Security Context in Europe
10. Anna Guilia Ponchia, New Security Context in Europe

Working Group on Nuclear Governance in the UK

11. Andrea Howard, Nuclear Weapons are the only weapons suitable for strategic deterrence by punishment
12. Sebastian Brixey Williams, Underwater wars and washed up robots: how autonomous drones could undermine deterrence and turn oceans into invisible battlegrounds

Working Group on Security Challenges in the Middle East

13. Ezra Friedman, A Saudi Perspective
14. Danny Anderson, Saudi Arabia and Iran: Playing with Fire in Petroland
15. Aleem Datoo, The Iran Nuclear Deal
16. Jordan Salida, Daesh, taxation and oil revenue: What does this mean for the Middle East?

Working Group on New Technologies and Warfare

17. Alexander Lee, Challenges for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament in the Field of Information Communications Technology
18. Baptiste Bourgoin, Implications of Modern Technologies in Warfare
19. Navomee Ponnamperuma, Drones and their impact on Warfare
20. Klisman Murati, The outer space regime, sovereignty and the changing nature of warfare
21. Maya Pillai, Dual-Use Satellite Technology

The British Student Young Pugwash Group would like to thank the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) at SOAS for hosting the event and British Pugwash for its moral and financial support.