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07 April 2022

King's and Reaction co-hosting major conference on the Defence of Europe conference

Leading policymakers, military experts, academics and commentators are gathering to discuss the key defence and security challenges at an exclusive conference taking place on 9 May at Bush House, London.

The Defence of Europe graphic

With Ukraine under attack, there is an urgent need for a constructive debate about how European defences can be strengthened in the light of Russian military action.

King's College London and Reaction are hosting a conference on the Defence of Europe, taking place on 9 May at King's College London.

An invited audience will hear a series of keynote speeches and expert panels addressing key questions concerning the future of European defence.

To register interest email


09:30 Conference opening

09:30 Welcome remarks by Reaction Editor Iain Martin and Professor 'Funmi' Olonisakin, King’s College London.

09:35 Address from Guest of Honour Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine's Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Morning Session - moderated by Mark Urban, Newsnight, BBC.

09:45 Panel 1: Ukraine and the future of European defence

  • Helen Thompson, Professor of Political Economy, Cambridge University
  • Tim Marshall, journalist, author, and broadcaster
  • General Sir James Everard, KCB, CBE, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe NATO
  • Will Jessett CBE, Visiting Professor, King’s College London

10:45 Coffee break

11:15 Panel 2: Stronger European Security

  • Professor Beatrice Heuser, Chair of International Relations, University of Glasgow
  • Elisabeth Braw, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
  • Anna Fotyga, MEP, Secretary-General of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland
  • Fabian Zuleeg, Chief Executive and Chief Economist, European Policy Centre
  • General Sir Adrian John Bradshaw, KCB, OBE, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe

12:00 – 12:45 Keynote Address

Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence

Followed by questions from the audience facilitated by Professor John Gearson, Director, Centre for Defence Studies, King's College London

12:45 Break for lunch

Private lunch by invitation only, with John Healey MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

Afternoon session - moderated by Adam Boulton, broadcaster and Reaction columnist.

14:15 Panel 3: Economic warfare and defence investment

  • Merryn Somerset Webb, columnist and contributing Editor, The Financial Times
  • Dr Martin Navias, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, King's College London
  • Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, former Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee
  • Jacob Geer, Head of Space Surveillance and Tracking,UK Space Agency

15:15 Coffee break

15:45 Professor Niall Ferguson interviewed by Professor John Bew, Professor in History and Foreign Policy, King's College London

16:30 Draft Declaration on the Defence of Europe - presented by students from King's College London

16:40 Keynote address

Sir Lawrence David Freedman, KCMG, CBE, PC, FBA, Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King's College London

17:05 Concluding remarks from Professor Wyn Bowen, Lord Salisbury, and Professor Shitij Kapur, President and Principal of King’s College London 

17:15 Conference closes 


Reaction is a commentary and analysis site founded by editor Iain Martin -

The School of Security Studies at King’s College London is one of the largest multi-disciplinary communities of scholars in the world engaged in the teaching and research of all aspects of conflict, war, security and defence. 

Members of the conference organising committee: 

Lord Salisbury, Chairman of Reaction 

Professor Wyn Bowen, Head of the School of Security Studies, King's College London 

Professor John Gearson, Director of the Central for Defence Studies, King's College London

Iain Martin, Editor of Reaction

In this story

Wyn Bowen

Professor of Non-Proliferation and International Security

John  Gearson

Head of the School of Security Studies