LISD Convenes Colloquium in Vienna on Rebuilding Trust

Photo Credit: Richard Trenner/LISD, 2017

The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University convened a colloquium, “Rebuilding Trust: Interaction, Dialogue, Crisis Management” in Vienna, Austria, at the Garden Palais Liechtenstein, on May 11-13, 2017. The colloquium was convened in cooperation with the 2017 Austrian Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The meeting brought together representatives of OSCE delegations, senior governmental representatives, think tank representatives, and academics, policy-makers, diplomats and representatives of civil society to discuss security and cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security space to identify possible mechanisms for rebuilding trust and dialogue in the OSCE area. Prof. Wolfgang Danspeckgruber, LISD Founding Director, chaired the colloquium. 

The event opened with a reception on the evening of May 11, hosted by LISD and attended by numerous permanent representatives of OSCE delegations. The reception included welcoming remarks by Ambassador Princess Maria-Pia Kothbauer-Liechtenstein, Permanent Representative of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the OSCE; Ambassador Clemens Koja, Chairperson of the Permanent Council of the OSCE; and Wolfgang Danspeckgruber.

The colloquium was opened by Wolfgang Danspeckgruber, Amb. Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the OSCE, and Prof. Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University, at the plenary session with OSCE Permanent Representatives. Following these keynote addresses, the opening panel on “Rebuilding Trust Through Dialogue” featured remarks by Amb. Florian Raunig, Head of the OSCE Task Force for the 2017 Austrian OSCE Chairmanship; Prof. Charles Heckscher, Professor of Labor Studies and Employment at Rutgers University; Prof. Andrew Moravcsik, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University; and Wolfgang Danspeckgruber. Participants engaged in both plenary and working sessions throughout the two days focusing on European Security Order Under Stress, Transnational Threats and Multilateral Solutions, Information Warfare, and Mapping Convergence.

In Working Session I, “European Security Order Under Stress,” participants revived and discussed the vision of a Europe whole and free, without dividing lines, and based on common principles, as well as the current crisis of confidence in the EU and its institutions, and ways to focus attention to rule of law, education, integration, and other aspects of human security. Working Session II, “Transnational Threats, Multilateral Solutions” focused on the factors contributing to the emergence of transnational threats and challenges, and the ways in which they can result in threats to security and stability across various political, military, and economic dimensions. The session also highlighted how prone a government or corporation may be to cyber-attack given a group's lack of operational or organizational security rather than the integrity of its digital firewall. Amb. Martin Sajdik, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office to the Trilateral Contact Group and Amb. Valentin Inzko, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina were among the speakers. Ivan Krastev,from the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna (IWM) chaired the session.

The conversation that began in Working Session II continued in Working Session III, “Information Warfare:  Fake News, Real Problems,” during which participants discussed the motivations within the cyberspace between private actors and public organizations like the OSCE, the importance of building trust and relationships as a complement to understanding the latest technologies, and the ways in which digital echo chambers have resulted in a world where “truth” depends entirely on what we read and to whom and to what outlets we listen. Guy Vinet, Head of Strategic Police Matters Unit, OSCE Transnational Threat Department; Dr. Wolfgang Zellner, Head of Centre for OSCE Research (CORE); Mr. Knut H. Hammarskjold, of the LISD Team; Mr. Georg Gassauer, Migration expert, “Train of Hope,” and the LISD Team.

Working Session III featured remarks by Prof. Miguel Centeno, Chair of Sociology at Princeton University; Prof. Kavé Salamatian, Professor of Computer Science at Université de Savoie, France; Mr. Ravi Srinivasan, Managing Director at RampRate. The session was chaired by Ms. Sejal Parmar, Senior Adviser, Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media, OSCE.

Working Session IV, “Mapping Convergence: Discovering Islands of Cooperation,” connected earlier conversations on trust to potential avenues for cooperation and bridge-building, especially through the idea that truth can occur only when two realities meet. The session introduced a demand for theoretically equality among persons wherein every opinion is heard as a proper framework for dialogue. Participants included Dr. Walter Kemp, Special Adviser, Austrian OSCE Chairmanship, Prof. James Gow, King’s College London, LISD; Expert network FLEET.

The colloquium closed on Saturday, May 13 with summaries by four raporturs as well as remarks by Amb. Eberhard Pohl, Chair of the OSCE Informal Working Group Structured Dialogue; Amb. Christian Strohal, Special Representative for the 2017 Austrian OSCE Chairmanship; and Wolfgang Danspeckgruber. It was suggestedthat policy makers begin to think “outside the box,” given the ways in which people can be divided intellectually and informatively into respective boxes, with the number of boxes constantly increasing. That all and everyone has to fight for the truth —contradicting false truth, and it became obvious that there are indeed areas of cooperation — especially if decisionmakers are made aware that lack of cooperation and denial of working together might be costly. Also, the interaction among the boxes should increase, he asserted, the potential to reach consensus among various dissimilar state actors could be increased.

 A Chair’s Summary of this colloquium is forthcoming from the Institute.