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This event will explore the fault lines where populism, sometimes of a nationalist hue, has torn into the political and cultural fabrics of democratic societies. We will probe the resulting tensions, their effects, which have been exacerbated by the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic, and their impact on public policy both at home and abroad.

Please join our two short panels in reflecting on the depleting legitimacy in modern societies where many of the electorate feel inadequately represented by their leaders and the laws imposed upon them. We’ll also discuss how this presents an immediate threat to national security and social order in domestic affairs, as well as a serious challenge to the liberal rules-based international order in place for more than half a century.


Chair: Dr Andrea Ellner, Lecturer in Defence Studies, Defence Studies Department

  1. Challenges to the Rule of Law

Current challenges to the rule of law in international governance, the use of force, international criminal law and the tension between civil liberties and security of public health in a pandemic.


  • Francisco Lobo, PhD Researcher, Department of War Studies
  • Dr Maria Varaki, Lecturer in International Law, Department of War Studies
  • Constance Wilhelm, PhD Researcher, Department of War Studies


  1. The United States Underground and its Uncomfortable Truths

Reflections on a roundtable convened by the team on 29 April 2021


  • Rana Ibrahem, PhD Researcher, Department of War Studies
  • Dr David Bicknell, recent alumnus, PhD Department of War Studies


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At this event

Andrea Ellner

Lecturer in Defence Studies

Francisco Lobo

PhD Student

Maria Varaki

Lecturer in International Law

Rana Ibrahem

PhD Student

David Bicknell

Visiting Research Fellow

Event details