OCTAGON 2019

Madrid 22-24 November

The Era of Security: urgent matters and self-defeating prophecies

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PRESENTATION |

In an era of increasing securitization and its opaque implications, a range of actors beyond the traditional nation-state compete for legitimacy, framing societal, technological, economic and environmental dangers. Since these same agents eventually define the collective conditions of risks and hold the control in a true regime of security, it is essential to analyze the scope of securitization: who claims ownership of it, why this rhetoric is built and how, and which audiences remain objects or willing participants in the language of security and de-securitization. In particular, it is key to examine the political strategies of power underlying narratives and counter-narratives such as terrorism, corruption, climate change, economic crash and migration, and how these narratives are coopted by the security field in order to manipulate, dominate and regulate public opinion and policy.

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After the end of the Cold War, countless dangers were tackled by experts, politicians and citizens. In some cases, advances were made. In others, either strong lobbies or so-called entrepreneurial solutions delayed confrontation with the hard facts. We certainly must acknowledge the interconnectedness and competition of transnational influence and power, in everything from the weaponization of advancing technology (i.e. privacy policies, big data or criminalization of whistle-blowers) to the exploitation and dominance of the ecological limits of our world (i.e. global warming), or the current relations of nation-state powers (i.e. geopolitics, energy matrix and lawfare phenomena) and how it impacts the common interest (i.e. veracity of information).

At the same time, to an extent potential danger is being constructed, as safety is being jeopardized in a negative arch: these discourses and their ensuing policies only further exacerbate pressures on the issues, thus creating self-defeating prophecies; this means spreading the discourse of security to generate less security. At this point, violence is not even a requisite to enjoin securitization, as calls for border security and migration control rely on imagined, unfulfilled threats, or access to the environment is limited and exploited in the name of emergency.

Consequently, the conference will approach securitization from the perspectives of its intended and unintended construction and prevention; its realities, potentialities and virtualities within a global citizenry. Ultimately, it will also consider how a society that seeks a common good could pursue progress and positive frameworks in light of this change: whether and if the security narrative can be leveraged for this, or if it should be reformulated altogether. 

SESSIONS | 

OPENING public SESSION 1 - Threats to Universal Rights in an Era of Security

A part of the march of globalization and the challenges of transnationalism, questions as to autonomy and authority and the terrains on which they operate arise. Struggles for power take place in the domains of technology, the environment and geopolitics. Meanwhile, human and universal rights are often compromised or exploited as a result of these contestations for dominance, and the most vulnerable are imperiled further still. This panel explores how the Era of Security has affected human and environmental rights to engender increasing inequalities; it then questions how to redirect this regression and create pathways to solidarity and the common good.

Speakers
Baltasar Garzón, jurist and former judge on Spain’s central criminal court. He is renowned for his high-profile Spanish corruption investigations, and is current Director of the International Legal Organization for Cooperation and Development.

Jo Guldi, Professor at Southern Methodist University and former Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. She is an expert in history of land and water ownership and how it shapes current ownership, displacement and the climate change narrative.

Maysoun Douas, Spanish physicist that works towards economic development based in knowledge, creativity and innovation. She currently serves as councilwoman for MasMadrid.

Moderator
Jon Schwarz, journalist at The Intercept, who has worked for Michael Moore’s Dog Eat Dog Films and has contributed to media outlets including the New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, Slate and NPR.

OPENING public SESSION 2 - Contestations Over Space: from Securitization to Activism

Security depends upon insecurity, and the projection of threat can be used to govern society, populations, and the spaces we occupy, to the detriment of the common interest. One of the most obvious ways in which our common spaces have been restricted or controlled are in the militarization, border security and states of emergency, leveraged via a rhetoric of crisis and threat. This first panel initially explores how narratives of fear and insecurity are employed, particularly touching upon geopolitics and militarization. At the same time, it also argues for how this rhetoric and maneuvering can be redirected via activism for the benefit of the global citizenry: taking control of our common spaces, physical and virtual, using the same channels of technology and information utilized by the power structures and interests perpetuating insecurity.

Speakers
David Vine, Professor of Anthropology at American University, USA. Author of “Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World,” he recently won the University of California Series in Public Anthropology International Book Competition.
Quing Wei, former National Technology Officer at Microsoft China, and GM of Windows Business Group and Chief Marketing Officer of Microsoft Consumer Group. He is a public speaker and coach specialized in digital transformation methodology and related technologies.
Valeska Teixeira, lawyer on President Lula’s legal defence team. A graduate of Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, she is member of the Brazilian Bar Association, São Paulo Section and member of the International Bar Association.

Moderator
Amanda Third, Principal Research Fellow in Digital Social and Cultural Research at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. Her research focuses on the socio-cultural dimensions of young people’s technology use.

1st OCTAGON SESSION - The political language of security: Militarization and geopolitics

When considering the theme of securitization, often the preliminary reference that comes to mind includes geopolitical contestations and how militarization and criminalization are employed. Citing factors from terrorism to corruption, the mechanizations of securitization are no longer limited to nation state actors, but can include corporations and other apparatuses that use or reproduce a language of security, and employ accompanying measures, in order to pursue their desired outcomes. In this session, our participants will discuss how this has been conducted in recent years by various regional, national and global actors, and how it impacts our society. Going beyond this, however, the discussion will seek to understand the origins and outcomes of such securitization rhetoric and action, in order to conceive of how to combat the cycle.

2nd OCTAGON SESSION - Security and the environment: a struggle for ownership

In an era of climate change, humanity must reconsider its former approach to the environment, world resources and ownership. Not unlike other areas discussed in this conference, the multiple concerns regarding the environment have become securitized via rhetoric or in a very real competition for resources that has been influenced by a trajectory of capitalist and neoliberal trends. Debate regarding climate security encompasses access to food, water, livable environments and a host of resources that have always been grounds for contestation. Given how our shared resources have been commandeered and exhausted, bioeconomy offers a new way forward in seeking sustainable use of biological resources and building the networks in order to develop a new system that serves the commons, rather than the interests that exercise the most power and authority to the detriment of our planet.

3rd octagoN session - Democracy and whistleblowing: confronting the Era of Security

Governments and private entities manipulating recent technological advances at the expense of human rights and democracy have received public attention and attracted controversy, but there has not been sufficient activism to truly address the problem and violations. Monopolies are increasingly permitted, and corporations even align with government organizations in the name of security, eroding rights, privacy and freedoms purportedly guaranteed in liberal democracies. Whistleblowers attempt to flag these breaches, including those implemented under the guise of cybersecurity, but the media’s manipulation and role in this concern is also a key factor and bears consideration. Finally, this type of securitization translates to exclusion, in that extensive virtual and physical boundaries are created between communities. This is not only manifested in increasing trends of crimmigration, but also in the manipulation of identity and solidarity, affecting how humans relate to one another in the new digital age.

4th octagon session - Digital inequalities, citizenship and security

In follow up to the previous panel, the use and misuse of big data raises questions about technology and privatization, who truly benefits from these transforming economic systems, and the continued exacerbation of inequalities that result from current economic models. In this privatization, and with the new tools of globalization in the hands of a powerful few, access to natural and virtual resources, as well as mobility, become key issues; the welfare of populations is jeopardized. Citizens question how purchasing power parity is even a relevant measure of their own wellbeing. This session seeks not only to identify concerns as to how we have reached this point, but also to explore why we have come to use technology the way we do and how it affects us as individuals and a collective. It will especially explore how certain groups and populations, including our youth, participate and interact differently both politically and socially as a result of this change. Finally, this discussion consists in seeking alternative systems and ensuring that our evolving human interaction benefits the common interest.

COMMON ACTION TRIBUNAL

PARTICIPANTS | 

BALTASAR
GARZÓN

opening session
panelist
ABOUT

BALTASAR GARZÓN is a jurist and former judge on Spain’s central criminal court. He is renowned for his high-profile Spanish corruption investigations, and is current Director of the International Legal Office for Cooperation and Development (ILOCAD).

JO
GULDI

opening session
panelist
ABOUT

JO GULDI is Professor at Southern Methodist University and former Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. She is an expert in history of land and water ownership and how it shapes current ownership, displacement and the climate change narrative.

MAYSOUN
DOUAS

opening session
panelist
ABOUT

PhD in Physics, Maysoun Douas is an innovation and entrepreneuring expert. Ecosystem builder for the innovation Hub LaNave in Madird (2017-19) and European Commission Evaluator for the H2020 program, she currently serves as councilwoman at the Madrid City Council.

Juan Luis
Cebrián

opening session
host
ABOUT

JUAN LUIS CEBRIÁN is a Spanish writer and journalist. He was the founder and first editor-in-chief of EL PAÍS. Recently, Juan Luis Cebrián was named Honorary President of EL PAÍS.

DAVID
VINE

opening session
panelist
ABOUT

DAVID VINE is Professor of Anthropology at American University, USA. Author of “Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World,” he recently won the University of California Series in Public Anthropology International Book Competition.

QING
WEI

opening session
panelist
ABOUT

QING WEI has most recently served as National Technology Officer at Microsoft China, and has worked as GM of Windows Business Group and Chief Marketing Officer of Microsoft Consumer Group. He is a public speaker and coach specialized in digital transformation methodology and related technologies.

Valeska
Teixeira

opening session
panelist
ABOUT

VALESKA TEIXEIRA is the co-founder of the Lawfare Institute and serves on President Lula’s legal defense team. She is member of the Brazilian Bar Association, São Paulo Section and member of the International Bar Association..

AMANDA
THIRD

opening session
host
ABOUT

AMANDA THIRD is Principal Research Fellow in Digital Social and Cultural Research at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. Her research focuses on the socio-cultural dimensions of young people’s technology use.

Wadah
Khanfar

Dinner
Speech
ABOUT

WADAH KHANFAR is the Co-Founder and Chairman of CAF. Former Director-General of the Al Jazeera Network, he was named one of the “Young Global Leader” in the 2008 World Economic Forum and was first in Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2011.

Rebeca
Grynspan

Distinguished
Guest
ABOUT

REBECA GRYNSPAN is a Costa Rican economist and the Secretary General of the Ibero-American General Secretariat. She has formerly served as UN Under-Secretary-General, Associate Administrator of the UNDP, and Vice President of Costa Rica.

KHAIRY
JAMALUDDIN

DISTINGUISHED
Guest
ABOUT

KHAIRY JAMALUDDIN is a Malaysian politician who has served as Youth Chief of the United Malays National Organization. He has also served as Minister of Youth and Sports and a Member of Parliament.

NURUL
IZZAH ANWAR

DISTINGUISHED
Guest
ABOUT

NURUL IZZAH ANWAR is a Malaysian politician, and a human and civil rights activist. She is currently a Member of Parliament for the Permatang Pauh. She has also served as Vice-President of the People’s Justice Party.

RAFAEL
HEIBER

ROUNDTABLE
INTRODUCTION
ABOUT

RAFAEL HEIBER is Co-Founder and CEO of Common Action Forum. He is a geographer and climatologist with a PhD in Sociology. He explores the political links between technology, territory and citizenship, providing international consultancy and commentary.

Agnes
Callamard

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

AGNES CALLAMARD is a French international human rights expert and serves as Special Rapporteur on summary executions for the United Nations, as well as Director of Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression Project.

ALFREDO
AGUILAR

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

ALFREDO AGUILAR is Chairman of the Bioeconomy Task Force of the European Federation of Biotechnology. He has been at the European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation since 1986, promoting knowledge based bioeconomy in Europe.

ARLENE
CLEMESHA

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

ARLENE CLEMESHA is a renowned academic, TV commentator and professor at the Centre of Arab Studies at São Paulo University. She is a member of the Coordination Committee of the UN International Coordinating Network on Palestine (ICNP-UN).

AYO
OBE

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

AYO OBE is a legal practitioner and Co-Vice Chair of the International Crisis Group. She was President of the Civil Liberties Organisation and Chair of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy.

BILAAL
HOOSEIN

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

BILAAL HOOSEIN is current Director of Programmes for Al Jazeera English. With a background in political science, he has nearly two decades of experience as a journalist, producer and an international broadcast market sales and acquisitions expert.

CRISTIANO
ZANIN

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

CRISTIANO ZANIN is a Brazilian lawyer and partner who currently serves on President Lula’s legal defense. He specializes in civil procedural law and has taught as professor on the subject. He is a member of the Brazilian and International Bar Associations.

EDUARDO
BARCESAT

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

EDUARDO BARCESAT is an Argentinian jurist, UNESCO expert on human rights and Professor at the University of Buenos Aires. He is also a founding member of the American Association of Jurists.

EMAD
SHAHIN

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

EMAD SHAHIN is Dean of the College of Islamic Studies (CIS), Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar Foundation and a Senior Fellow at Georgetown University. He formerly served as Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics.

GABRIEL
CHAMORRO

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

GABRIEL CHAMORRO is professor at the University of Buenas Aires and the University Institute for the Federal Police. He is Director of the Center for Political Studies on State and Society.

Javier lópez casarín

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

JAVIER LOPEZ CASARIN is the Chairman and founder of the Fundación Reinventando a México (FRaM). An established entrepreneur in the financial, technology and telecom sectors, he has devoted his career to promoting the social and economic development of Mexico.

Jessé
souza

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

JESSÉ SOUZA is a Brazilian professor and sociologist who formerly served as President of Brazil’s Institute of Applied Economic Research. He is renowned for his work in social theory, Brazilian social thought and inequalities.

john
ralston saul

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

JESSÉ SOUZA is a Brazilian professor and sociologist who formerly served as President of Brazil’s Institute of Applied Economic Research. He is renowned for his work in social theory, Brazilian social thought and inequalities.

josé escribano
úbeda-portugués

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

JOSÉ ESCRIBANO ÚBEDA-PORTUGUÉS is a Spanish academic. PhD in International Studies and in European Studies, he is a professor at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. His main lines of research include Terrorism and Organized Crime; Human and Environmental Rights; and General Sudies of the EU, the US, and Latin America.

Laura
Basu

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

LAURA BASU is a writer and researcher affiliated with the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Utrecht University and Goldsmiths, University of London. She is co-founder of Amsterdam-based project Good Societies, and openDemocracy’s ourEconomy Europe Editor.

Lorenzo
Marsili

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

LORENZO MARSILI is an author, political activist and social entrepreneur. Co-founder and Director of European Alternatives, he is one of initiators of the pan-European movement DiEM25, and is an active public speaker and commentator.

MARIA ANGELES
GALLEGO

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

MARIA ANGELES GALLEGO is Tenured Researcher and Director of the Spanish Research Institution (CSIC)’s Institute of Mediterranean and Near East Languages and Cultures. She has taught at Saint Louis University, University of Alicante and Cambridge University.

MURILO
KOMNISKI

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

MURILO KOMNISKI is the head of the Sector of Governance, Communication and Information, Administrative and Financial Affairs at the Permanent Delegation of Brazil to UNESCO. He has experience in multilateral affairs in the areas of human rights, South-South cooperation, defense, public security, combat of transnational illicit activities, Internet governance and ITC.

Pedro
Brieger

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

PEDRO BRIEGER is an Argentinian journalist and sociologist, and Professor of the Sociology of the Middle East at the University of Buenos Aires. He directs Nodal, an online media resource focused on socio-political and cultural news in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Pedro
Rojo

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

PEDRO ROJO is President of Al Fanar Foundation for Knowledge of the Arab World, and Coordinator of the Observatory for Islamophobia in the Media (Spain), the latter of which offers the media tools for representing a diverse society.

Pedro
Moreno

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

PEDRO MORENO is Chief of Staff of the Ibero-American General Secretariat. He has formerly served as Special Advisor to the U.N. Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator.

PETER
MATJASIC

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

PETER MATJAŠIČ is senior program officer at Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE), part of Open Society Foundations, based in Barcelona. He leads the work on citizens holding power to account through whistleblowing and right to protest, which links to civic space issues in Western Europe.

Pierre
Sané

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

PIERRE SANE is Founder and President of Imagine Africa Institute. He has served as UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences as well as Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Ramzy
Baroud

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT
RAMZY BAROUD is an US-Arab journalist, writer, internationally-syndicated columnist, Editor of Palestine Chronicle and former Deputy Managing Editor of Al Jazeera. He is the author of “These Chains Will Be Broken” and other three books.

Renata
Ávila

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

RENATA AVILA is a lawyer, expert in human rights and technology. Member of the legal team that advocates for the freedom of Julian Assange and Wikileaks as well as member of DiEM25, she serves on several boards, including Progressive International, Article 19, Creative Commons and CAF. She is currently the Executive Director of Fundación Ciudadanía Inteligente in Latin America.

Sami
Zeidan

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

SAMI ZEIDAN is Senior Presenter with Al Jazeera English. He has worked with a number of the largest broadcasters in the world, interviewing several legendary world leaders, including Nelson Mandela, as well as has reported high-profile events.

Talal
Kanaan

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

Talal is the General Coordinator of the Al-Sharq Youth Network. He also advises UN agencies, as well as humanitarian and development organizations on the transitioning to renewable energy, with a primary focus on the MENA region. He completed a Master of Engineering from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Nottingham.

Thembisa
Fakude

ROUNDTABLE
MEMBER
ABOUT

THEMBISA FAKUDE is a Researcher at the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies. He is former Bureau Chief of the Channel’s Media Network in Southern Africa and former Chairperson of the Foreign Correspondents Association of Southern Africa.

Andres
Lomeña

ROUNDTABLE
COORDINATOR
ABOUT

ANDRÉS LOMEÑA holds degrees in Journalism and Literary Theory, as well as a PhD in Sociology. He is the author of Ficcionologia (2016), El Periodista de partículas (2017), Rescoldos Mentales (2018) and the scriptwriter of the awarded short-movie Psicopolis. He is also a regular contributor at Huffington Post.

Colleen
Boland

ROUNDTABLE
COORDINATOR
ABOUT

COLLEEN BOLAND is Research Manager at CAF and holds a PhD in Sociology of Migration from the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. She formerly worked as a Managing Editor of an international public health quarterly at Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Fernanda
Ribeiro

ROUNDTABLE
COORDINATOR
ABOUT

FERNANDA RIBEIRO is a Chevening Fellow and international civil servant at the UN in Genève. She holds an MA in International Peace and Security, King’s College London and an MA in International Public Law and Administration, École Nationale d’Administration.

Gaspard
Estrada

ROUNDTABLE
COORDINATOR
ABOUT

GASPARD ESTRADA is Director of the Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean at Sciences Po, France. His research focuses on political communication, electoral campaigns and French foreign policy in Latin America.

Mi
You

ROUNDTABLE
COORDINATOR
ABOUT

MI YOU is a curator and academic staff member at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Germany, where she lectures on media theory with a social-political perspective. She holds a PhD in Art and Media Studies, and is Fellow at Zentrum Paul Klee, Switzerland.

Patricio
Cabello

ROUNDTABLE
COORDINATOR
ABOUT

PATRICIO CABELLO is Researcher at the Center for Advanced Research in Education at the University of Chile. He holds his PhD and MAs in Anthropology and Social Research Methods. He has consulted for UNESCO and UNICEF.

Tristán
Torrejón

PROGRAM
MANAGER

Mercedes
Bellavista

Logistics
Manager

Irene
López

Protocol
Manager

Adela
Mac Swiney

Press
Officer

Sofia
Gohlke

Protocol
Assistant

Ana
Urrutia

Program
Assistant

Moritz
becker

Production
Assistant

Lucía
Priego

Production
Assistant

PROGRAM | 

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PUBLIC OPENING

FRIDAY 18:00
Casa de America – Public

speakers DINNER

FRIDAY 20:00
Casa de America – Private

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1st session

SATURDAY 10:00
Octagon – Private

coffee break

SATURDAY 11:30
Hotel – Private

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2nd SESSION

SATURDAY 12:00
Octagon – Private

LUNCH TIME

SATURDAY 13:30
Hotel – Private

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3rd SESSION

SATURDAY 15:00
Octagon – Private

coffee break

MONDAY 16:30
Hotel – Private

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4th SESSION

SATURDAY 17:00
Octagon – Private

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Common action Tribunal

SUNDAY 12:00
Hotel – Media