Cambridge Security Programme (CSP)

December 2007. The Cambridge Security Programme is operationally closed. This site is maintained as a historical archive. Information on this site is no longer current.

The Cambridge Security Programme has completed several different types of projects since its introduction to Cambridge University in May 2002 and its formal launch in London in October 2002 at the offices of Goldman Sachs. In defining ‘Human Security’ in the post-9/11 environment as the study of the components and linkages of global conflict and danger, CSP is now starting to generate regular activity and new cross-bred knowledge.


  • CSP commissioned four preliminary pilot research projects over 2002/2003. Each resulted in a draft working paper.
  • The US/Saudi connection – ‘Hamas Funding’ – was a research project conducted by Ronan Bergman, Faculty of History at Cambridge, which collected and compared evidence of Hamas funding through the United States. It indicated that American support for Hamas may have been enabled by the FBI and other US organisations interested primarily in destroying Arafat (and Fatah). Go to Publications
  • Research into the export of fundamentalist Islam to the Balkans, ‘Wahhabism in Bosnia’ by H. Alibăsic (under the direction of the Cambridge Faculty of Divinity), which revealed Saudi investment in the war-torn Muslim areas of post-war Bosnia. Each project resulted in a working paper. Go to Publications
  • Bernadette Vanova, Faculty of Law at Cambridge, researched ‘Non-legal, informal networks in Japan’ and their effect on the Japanese financial sector. Based on empirical investigation conducted in Japan, Vanova analysed aspects of network organisation based on trust, and the balance between formal and informal organisations under the law. This material was subsequently adopted for further use by the Ministry of Defence. Go to Publications
  • A project, co-sponsored by the Commonwealth Secretariat, was undertaken by Mr. Nick Sinclair-Brown at the Lauterpacht Centre of International Law at Cambridge, on Risk Reduction Strategies. This pilot research identified key elements of how public sector works in the United Kingdom are organised under the strategy of ‘Private Finance Initiatives’ (PFIs), and how these could form the basis for financing international infrastructure development (RRS) in developing countries. This resulted in a paper presented in Brunei in September 2003. Go to Publications

Closed Events

  • In July 2003, CSP co-hosted, an innovative collaboration with various Departments of the UK Government, including the Ministry of Defence, a Security Seminar to respond to recent world events that had defied entrenched assumptions regarding the predictability and manageability of instability and conflict. Bringing together academics and members of government, military, police and corporate sectors, the 2-day seminar was intended to stimulate explorations into new ways of understanding threats and formulating appropriate responses. Built around research presentations and interactive work groups, the Cambridge Security Seminar was designed to build synergies among the 150 expert participants to enable them to define and develop practical action-oriented policy approaches to today’s new and complex security issues. Delegates focussed on four key inter-related themes: networking, root causes, instruments of mass effect and policy options. The focus was on identifying emerging problems and challenging conventional wisdom, with the intention of improving the way thinking and decision-making affected policy-making.
  • Within a few months following the Cambridge Security Seminar, the Ministry of Defence decided to subject key issues discussed at the Seminar to more rigorous analysis in order to test their relevance for policy. This was undertaken at a subsequent Policy-Military Game in October 2003, fulfilling the intention of the Seminar’s organisers to establish a process that would have lasting impact on policy formulation in a variety of ways. The results of this Game in turn fed directly into the review of the Government’s current defence requirements.
  • A workshop in 2003 commissioned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to undertake a peer review of current government research on illegal terrorist networks, led by CSP.
  • A roundtable took place in November 2002, sponsored by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Washington, D.C. and led by CSP, to consider the challenges of catastrophic terrorism. The objective was to begin a dialogue, initially on the issue of rogue states and terrorism, but to recognise that their presence brings on insecurities and instabilities that go far beyond these overt hostilities. Immediately at risk are financial markets, the Internet, supply chains, civil liberties—all requiring government to institute confidence-building measures. The roundtable drew attendees from US and UK academic, corporate, media and government communities, and resulted in a publication, Catastrophic Terrorism.
  • A roundtable was held in June, 2004 at Corpus Christi College, on approaches to State Failure, with top experts from Cambridge, other UK institutions and CERI France, led by CSP. Focused primarily on states in Africa, the discussion addressed the parameters of failure, the policies of international institutions tasked to define and rescue failed states, the regional ramifications, and alternative methods of governance. State Failure

Open Events

  • An open Workshop at the Centre of International Studies in Cambridge in 2003 presented the results of the first three pilot projects, led by CSP.
  • A talk and discussion led by CSP took place at Corpus Christi College on 27 January, 2004 with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr. Dragan Mikerevic. Discussants included H.E. Mrs Elvira Begovic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina in London, and Professor James Mayall of CSP. Among the topics addressed in open discussion were: Criteria for success in Bosnia, its likelihood and the stumbling blocks being encountered; and Lessons learned: a view of past actions, and of what should and should not have been done.
  • In June 2004, Dr. Roland Marchal of the Centre d’Études et Recherches Internationales, Paris, presented a seminar on Somalia and the French approach to failed states, led by Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, academic coordinator of CSP, at the Centre of International Studies.
  • In January 2004, CSP supported the Cambridge-based conference, ‘New Transatlantic Relationships: Facing Challenges of the 21st Century’, an event jointly hosted by the Cambridge Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence and the Donner Atlantic Studies Programme. CSP-sponsored guest speaker, Dr. Constanze Stelzenmüller, international editor for Die Ziet and a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars in Washington, DC. She flew in from Berlin, to present a hard-hitting European view of the transatlantic relationship.

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Medley of overlapping images: locals and soldiers, a green box, and a photo of James Mayall lecturing.