24 May 2012 - 26 May 2012

Can international intervention work?

Chair: The Rt Hon Lord Malloch-Brown KCMG

The conference’s wealth of experience and expertise in the subject, despite not enough southern voices, produced a particularly rich and worthwhile debate on an issue of perennial topicality.  We did not agree on everything, but the conclusion that the international community will go on intervening and therefore must learn from past mistakes was compelling.

International law was not clear-cut when it came to justifying intervention, and politics drove decision-making. But the legal aspects could never be ignored, including the question of authorisation, not least because the military in many countries needed legal clarity. Distinctions could be drawn between legitimacy and strict legality, but this was dangerous ground in the view of the lawyers. Meanwhile Responsibility to Protect (R2P) changed the politics and the assumptions but not the law.

The military could usually do what was asked of them in the short term but were rarely given the clarity of political objectives and timescales for exit they wanted. They were therefore tempted to fill the gaps with their own doctrines and to move into activities which were not naturally theirs. This should be avoided. UN peacekeeping operations in more permissive contexts could be more successful, but the forces needed restructuring and reorienting to be more effective.

Civilian follow-up to military operations had often been poorly planned and executed. The same mistakes were too often repeated. But it was genuinely hard for outsiders to succeed at nation-building. Ambitions should therefore be limited to what was essential, and local conditions and capacities always used as the starting points. Knowledge of local history, ethnography and language should be valued much more. Elections as a way of re-establishing a political authority were probably essential but their limitations, especially at the beginning, should be fully understood.

Despite these problems we did not think the international community should abandon the possibility of intervening in the right circumstances. Indeed we expected to see further interventions in the future. It was not clear whether Libyan-style ‘intervention-lite’ would become the pattern. The costs and casualties were much less, at least for the interveners, and there was certainly little enthusiasm for further massive interventions on the Iraq or Afghanistan model. But it was arguably irresponsible to avoid all involvement in the aftermath of interventions. In any case, decision-making in future cases needed to be much more considered. That meant involving those who had relevant experience and who had no reason to please those in power. It also meant learning and implementing the lessons from past failures much more seriously, particularly on the civilian side.

It was striking how little enthusiasm there was for military intervention in Syria in present circumstances, or indeed in Iran. But we recognised that the pendulum could swing back again, and that the context was also changing, with geographic frontiers less central in an age of ‘digital sovereignty’, and other possible interveners, ways of intervening (eg cyber), and reasons for intervention coming onto the scene.

When is intervention justified? 
We first had to decide what kind of interventions we were talking about.  There were many other ways beyond the military in which the international community could intervene. Participants thought we should not ignore these. But in practice we spent most of our time on interventions involving the military and the use or threat of the use of force.  Even within this there was a wide spectrum of possibilities, with coercive intervention at one end and action with the consent of the state/government concerned at the other.  Interventions could be very short, eg hostage extraction, or very long, eg an extended nation-building exercise.  They could involve large occupation forces or (increasingly) remote operations only, including drones.  Motives could vary from humanitarian to narrow national interest. Too much generalisation was therefore of limited value.

Any kinetic intervention required justification, which had to involve international law, starting from self-defence under the UN Charter.  However views diverged, in some cases quite sharply, on how far international law could be relied on to guide action.  Some argued that the decisions were inevitably all about politics – including sometimes domestic politics - and what strong states wanted to do. The legal points were in practice secondary, a kind of a posteriori rationalisation.  It was suggested, for example, that the US cared little for international legality, though one had to ask why in that case the Pentagon had thousands of lawyers and American units now went into action in Afghanistan with their own legal adviser.  Others made clear their view that interventions which could not be clearly justified under international law were unacceptable.  In any case the military forces concerned increasingly needed legal certainty, not least because of the existence of the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

All accepted that, in the absence of agreement from the affected state, Security Council authorisation was the ideal. Endorsement from the relevant regional organisation and/or from forces on the ground in the country concerned was also increasingly important, as Libya had demonstrated.  But in situations where this was unobtainable, what principles should guide action?  Was there a class of actions which were legitimate but not strictly legal?  Many thought so, pointing to Kosovo as a legitimate operation, because of its humanitarian motivation and wide international support, despite the absence of specific Security Council authorisation.  Could there also be actions which were legal but not legitimate?  There was, for example, an argument that Iraq was legal on the basis of previous Security Council Resolutions (SCRs), but not legitimate, because of its lack of sustainable motivation and of international support.

Lawyers amongst us warned against the ‘siren song’ notion of a real distinction between legitimate and legal.  There could be situations where international law had not caught up with developments, but if the gap between legitimacy and legality could not be bridged quickly, the supposed legitimacy of an operation could not stand. Others emphasised that international law was not like national law, and that there was in reality a spectrum with clearly lawful at one end and clearly unlawful at the other, and many possibilities in between.  A ‘less clearly lawful’ operation was not necessarily illegal.

How far did the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept change the legal position?  The general view was that while it represented an important political shift, and had significant normative implications, it was not itself a legal doctrine which changed international law.  However, its invocation could increase legitimacy, and in any case changed assumptions.  Sovereignty could no longer be used as a ‘barricade’ behind which governments could act as they pleased.  How far did R2P create an obligation to act?  Views differed on this point, with some arguing that it did lead to a moral imperative, and others suggesting that ‘humanitarian intervention’ was a sloppy term which did not answer the question of what kind of action should be undertaken, or by whom.  Moreover the answer did not need to be military. Even in the case of Libya, although SCR 1973 had referred to R2P, it was less clear that it had formed a major part of the debate, or been key to decision-making in the main western capitals. 

In general, while some countries continued to defend traditional views of sovereignty, and views in much of the global ‘South’ were highly sceptical about intervention, there was little doubt that the frontiers of sovereignty had been rolled back because of international concern about human rights and respect for universal values.  Most countries had ratified international instruments to this effect, so there was a treaty base to this too. 

There was agreement that, whatever views were taken on these questions, potential interventions would always need to be looked at on a case by case basis.  Rigid criteria or predetermined responses could have catastrophic results.  International law was an art not a science. Nevertheless, when thinking about R2P, there would always be a requirement to address the question of whether there was a threat to international peace and security (broadly defined), and to pose the issues of authorisation and legality. After that other basic questions always needed to be asked:

  • Was there evidence of an imminent and serious threat of harm to civilians?

  • Had all peaceful methods been exhausted?

  • Would the consequences of intervening be better than those of not doing so?

  • Was it wise to intervene?

The issue of consistency was also a constant issue – why intervene here and not there?  Lack of consistency inevitably undermined the credibility and legitimacy of intervention.  Southern participants underlined this, pointing to perceptions outside the West that, unless conducted by the UN, intervention was always about specific interests, not altruism, and characterised by chronic double standards.  There was also a need to incorporate the notion of responsibility while protecting, to ensure that protection of civilians was not just a cover for regime change.

The role of the military
The shadow of the massive armed interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan loomed large over the conference.  Their enormous cost and at best uncertain outcomes could not be ignored.  But there was agreement that they should not be seen as the templates. It would be very difficult to generate public support for such actions in the future.

It was not usually the military who called for armed intervention, since they knew the risks of using such blunt instruments.  Politicians drove such decisions. The military can-do attitude meant that they then tried to do what the politicians wanted. What the military always craved, though too rarely obtained, was clarity about the political objective and the exit strategy.  The reality was that the military planning was usually thorough, but the civilian planning much less so, and joint planning mostly absent. Military resources and capabilities were often successfully applied in the initial stages of an intervention, but civilian resources to follow up quickly were lacking.  Soldiers’ courage on the ground was not matched by political courage in facing up to hard choices. This too easily led the military into filling gaps in inappropriate ways, not least the substitution of a military doctrine for the missing political doctrine, and taking on activities for which they were not suited.  Deconfliction of military and civilian activities was vital, not least for example to allow humanitarians to operate safely and successfully.

On the non-coercive side, we discussed the urgent need to address structural weaknesses in UN peacekeeping operations: improving the suitability of the contingents for the mandates given to them; increasing specific training; reducing too frequent rotation (not only a problem for UN peacekeepers); and addressing the lack of appropriate civilian expertise.  Greater involvement from major powers would be helpful in all these areas – and might become easier now that the Iraq and Afghanistan operations would soon be a thing of the past.

We also looked at the use of contractors in major military operations – there were almost as many US contractors as troops in Afghanistan, for example.  They might be cheaper and easier to deploy, and might also conveniently conceal the true size of the intervening forces from legislators and public opinion.  But they created major problems of effectiveness and accountability.

How far was the international community moving from heavy, boots-on-the-ground operations of the Iraq and Afghan types to ‘intervention-lite’, using air power and remote-controlled weapons such as drones?  There were obvious advantages for those intervening in terms of costs and casualties (though not necessarily for those underneath), and it was easier to avoid responsibility for what happened afterwards.  The temptations in this direction would therefore be strong.  But would this be because the international community was wiser or because it had been traumatised by Iraq and Afghanistan? And was it not irresponsible to walk away from the consequences of what had been done? We felt it was too soon to say that remote operations would definitely be the wave of the future.

We dwelt a good deal on the practical consequences of intervening and how far interventions achieved their aims – this was an empirical question, not a matter of right or wrong.  The crucial question was whether the consequences of intervention were better than those of not doing so. This was particularly hard to be sure about in advance, given the probability of unintended consequences. Not all of these were necessarily bad, but many were. The fall-out from the fall of the Gaddafi regime for the stability of other North African States such as Mali and Niger was only the latest example.  However, consequences which were unintended were not necessarily impossible to anticipate, if sufficient analysis and forethought went into decision-making. We were also not good at thinking about the humanitarian and human rights consequences of an intervention, which went beyond the simple question of whether we would kill more or less civilians than we saved.

Saying that the consequences from action should be better than those from inaction was in fact setting the bar high.  However successful initial military operations might be, the next stages often proved much more difficult.  Foreigners had shown themselves to be very bad at transforming other countries. No doubt Iraq and Afghanistan should again not be seen as the models.  There had been more successful examples, such as East Timor, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, as well as Bosnia and Macedonia.  But nation-building was always a huge challenge, and the international community had struggled in many contexts to make a success of it.  So where were we going wrong?

Part of it was trying to do too much.  Big reconstruction conferences in the early stages tended to raise expectations and build in mission creep from the beginning.  Concentrating on a few priorities was better than attempting to fix everything.  We also lacked relevant expertise.  There was too often an absence of real knowledge and understanding of the country we were trying to help, including a grasp of its history and ethnography, and the ability to speak its language.  More fundamentally the common assumption of those who had intervened that they were faced with a tabula rasa and had to build from scratch was simply wrong.  There were always local systems and traditions on which to build, rather than trying to bring in ideas and solutions wholesale from the outside, or relying on highly-paid one-size-fits-all consultants.  Partnership should be the name of the game, together with humility and patience.  Ownership and responsibility could not be built otherwise. Facilitating, not doing, should be the watchword.

Producing sustainable results was a lengthy business at best, which produced a fundamental dilemma. Time was needed but generally the longer the outside forces were there, the more unpopular they became. Interveners also tended to neglect the importance of economic issues, particularly the need to provide jobs for the young and find other ways of involving them too.  Livelihoods were crucial.

In terms of creating new political arrangements, was there an alternative to elections to engage and involve local people, and provide legitimacy?  No-one suggested one, but there was much emphasis on the need to build the civil society underpinnings necessary for successful electoral processes, including the rule of law and reform of the security sector, and to avoid simply rewarding those who had the guns and money.  Elections were not an end in themselves.  Moreover the second and third were arguably more important than the first.

So can intervention succeed?
A few participants were against any kind of coercive intervention on the grounds that the results were almost always bad.  A few at the other end of the spectrum thought that the track record of intervention was much better than generally supposed.  Most thought that coercive intervention needed to remain in the international community’s toolbox but should be used very sparingly, since it was certainly difficult to make it work.  ‘Do no harm’ should be a guiding principle. Permissive interventions had a much greater chance of succeeding.

We all agreed that, whatever its difficulties and the extent of opposition in some parts of the world, the international community would be likely to resort to intervention again in the future.  There seemed to be a kind of pendulum effect at work, with intervention going in and out of fashion, depending on perceptions of particular examples.  Others thought the right metaphor was a slalom rather than a pendulum.

The question was therefore whether the lessons had really been learned from past interventions.  Most participants thought not.  The evidence was that we constantly repeated past mistakes, and continued to intervene in haste and repent at leisure.  Those with experience from previous adventures had usually moved on and were not brought into the initial decision-making next time round.  Nor were outsiders, who might be more objective since they had no reason to please those in power.  Moreover generals and diplomats could not just blame the politicians if they themselves did not tell the truth. It was precisely when the political adrenaline was pumping under media pressure that wise and well-informed advice was needed.

We agreed that the military were much better at learning lessons than civilians.  They had agreed processes and procedures to do so.  Doctrines were revised accordingly and the lessons incorporated into staff college training.  There was nothing comparable on the civilian side. If it looked at these things at all, it did so unsystematically.  This had to be put right – ideally through joint civil-military analysis and training, including humanitarian and development actors as well as diplomats.

What form would future interventions take?  There was clearly little governmental and public appetite for further Iraq/Afghanistan operation.  Moreover it was not clear that the capabilities would be there in the future, at least outside the US.  More Libya-style operations and use of drones were therefore likely, but the reluctance to intervene in the case of Syria showed that less intrusive techniques were not enough in themselves to overcome doubts, or opposition from powers like Russia and China who thought they had been conned over Libya.  The issues of authorization of action and consistency could not be dodged just because the weaponry was more advanced.

Moreover the context was changing.  While debates in New York might be exclusively between states and predicated on traditional national boundaries, in reality frontiers were becoming less relevant when information could flow so freely through the internet, mobile phones and the new social media.  The idea of ordinary citizens’ mobile phones being used to provide precise coordinates for targeting, as had happened in Libya, would have seemed inconceivable only a year before. One issue we touched on, but did not explore in depth, was cyber intervention.  This was already happening, for example in the case of Iran.  When did this become the equivalent of kinetic military intervention?  Was it better because at least it did not kill people, or worse because its efforts were so pervasive and difficult to control?

There were no silver bullets available but, on the assumption that military intervention would continue in one way or another, lessons which needed to be learned and implemented to raise the chances of success in the future included the following:

  • continued work on the international legal aspects, not least to reduce gaps between notions of legitimacy and legality. The legal issues should also be debated transparently, not behind closed doors;

  • greater dialogue between those countries which were ready to contemplate intervention if the circumstances were right, and those who instinctively opposed it, to try to identify common ground;

  • further serious study of how to ensure that policy objectives for intervention were properly defined and restricted, even if they had to be modified in the light of experience, and how to avoid mission creep;

  • new attempts to fill the civilian capacity gap – long identified and much discussed, but still there;

  • action to improve UN peacekeeping functions, including through provision of greater civilian expertise, and greater involvement of the main global military powers;

  • establishment of cross-government lesson-learning capacity and habits, and measures to ensure that the results are not just noted but used to inform future decision-making. In depth case studies were needed of decisions taken and not taken, to understand the reasons;

  • more civilian staff colleges or joint staff colleges where the issues could be studied in depth by future decision-makers;

  • insistence on full use of local leadership, capacity, skills and traditions to inform nation-building efforts; and for international presences, greater emphasis on the value of historical knowledge, current expertise and language abilities;
  • capacity-building for regional organisations, who were at the moment important politically but lacked practical capability of all kinds.


While we agreed that intervention could still be justified and effective in some circumstances, there was little visible enthusiasm for it. Perhaps that was due to the hard experience of many round the table – one participant likened us to members of an Interveners Anonymous gathering, trying to reform. Meanwhile it was striking that there were few calls to be heard at this conference for military intervention in Syria, or indeed Iran. We were aware that the clamour, not least from the media, that something must be done was getting louder all the time in both cases. But we were not all convinced that this clamour should be heeded, or that the answer in a case like this was necessarily military.

At the same time we were also conscious that the pendulum might swing again. Emerging powers might at some stage surprise us by deciding that intervention was for them too. The causes for intervention might start to expand, for example into ecological reasons, if a country was destroying the environment of its neighbours. The use of drones might expand beyond the current practitioners. Regional organisations might increasingly take the lead in intervention, marginalising the UN.

The issues would evolve accordingly. But we hoped that our successors would not be looking back on this conference in ten years and wondering why its conclusions had not been heeded, as the conclusions of similar conferences in 1993 and 2004 had apparently not been.

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference.  No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.


Chair: The Rt Hon Lord Malloch-Brown KCMG (UK)
Chairman, Europe, Middle East and Africa, FTI Consulting, London.  Formerly: Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2009); Minister for Africa, Asia and the United Nations, London (2007-09); Vice Chairman, Soros Fund Management and The Open Society Network, New York (2007); UN Deputy Secretary-General (2006); Chef de Cabinet to UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan (2005); Administrator, UN Development Programme (1999-2005).

Dr Marcela Donadio

Executive Secretary, RESDAL (Latin American Security and Defense Network); Professor of International Security, various national universities (1992-).

Dr Michael Fullilove

Director, Global Issues Programme, Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney (2003-); Nonresident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC (2009-).  Formerly: Visiting Fellow in Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution; Consultant on the establishment of the Lowy Institute; Lawyer; Adviser to the Prime Minister of Australia.

Mr Gerald Knaus

President and Founding Chairman, European Stability Initiative, Istanbul; Co-Author, 'Can Intervention Work?' (2011); Founding Member, European Council on Foreign Relations.  Formerly: Visiting Fellow, John F Kennedy School of Government (2010-11); Director, Lessons Learned and Analysis Unit, European Union Pillar, UN Mission in Kosovo (2001-04).

Mr Robert Fonberg
Deputy Minister, National Defence, Canada (2007-). Formerly: Deputy Minister of International Trade; Senior Associate Secretary to Treasury Board; Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Plans and Consultations, then Operations), Privy Council Office.

The Hon Bob Rae MP
Member of Parliament for Toronto-Centre and Interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.  Formerly: Partner, Goodmans LLP, Toronto (1996-2007); Premier of Ontario (1990-95); Leader, New Democratic Party of Ontario (1982-96); Chairman, Forum of Federations and the Institute for Research in Public Policy; Member, Security and Intelligence Review Committee for Canada.  A Member of the Board of  Directors, The Canadian Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Conrad Sauvé
Canadian Red Cross Society (1999-): Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer (formerly National Director, Fund Development and Marketing; Acting Chief Priorities Officer; General Manager, Quebec Zone); Board Member, St Mary's Hospital Centre, Montreal.  Formerly: Director of Expansion and Community Development, YMCA of Greater Montreal; President and Member of the Board of Directors, Regional Health and Social Services Authority of Montréal-Centre.

Mr Alexandre Adler

Historian; Journalist; Editorialist in Foreign Policy, Le Figaro; Scientific Director for Geopolitics, University of Paris-Dauphine.   Formerly: Editorialist, Le Monde; Editorial Director and Editor-in-Chief, Courrier International (1992-2002); Libération (1982-92).

Mr Renaud Girard
Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Le Figaro (1984-); Lecturer in international strategy, Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), Paris.

Dr Thomas Bagger

Director of Policy Planning, German Federal Foreign Office, Berlin. 

Mrs Elke Hoff MdB
Member of the German Parliament (Bundestag) (2005-); Member, Armed Services Committee, Bundestag; Spokesperson for security policy, Liberal Democratic Party parliamentary group; Board Member, Liberal Democratic Party.

Ambassador Michael von Ungern-Sternberg
Director General, United Nations and Global Issues, German Federal Foreign Office, Berlin.  Formerly: postings to New York (2002-07), Brussels (1992-95), St Petersburg (1989-92), Rabat (1986-89).

Sir Christopher Greenwood CMG QC

Judge, International Court of Justice, The Hague (2009-); Bencher, Middle Temple (2003-); Honorary Fellow, Magdalene College, Cambridge (2009-).  Formerly: Barrister; Professor of International Law, London School of Economics (1996-2009); Fellow, Magdalene College, Cambridge (1978-96).  A Governor of The Ditchley Foundation.

Ms Katie Sams

Chief of Staff, Office of the Director-General, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva (2010-).  Formerly: Head of Civil Society Relations Unit, ICRC (2009-10); Head of Education and Behaviour Unit, ICRC (2005-09).

Mr Albin Kurti

Member of Parliament and Party Leader (Vetëvendosje), National Assembly of Kosova; Chair, Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee.  Formerly: Activist, Kosova Action Network; Secretary, Office of the General Political Representative of the Kosova Liberation Army; Member of the Presidency, Students Independent Union of the University of Prishtina.

Dr Victoria Panova

Associate Professor, Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Russia, Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Professor Sir Michael Aaronson

Professorial Research Fellow, Department of Politics (2011-), and Co-Director, Centre for International Intervention, University of Surrey; Senior Adviser to NATO.  Formerly: Founder Member and Chairman (2001-08), Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Geneva; Governor (2001-07) and Vice Chair (2005-07), Westminster Foundation for Democracy; Director General Save the Children UK (1995-2005).

Sir Daniel Bethlehem KCMG QC
Barrister, 20 Essex Street; Founding Director, Legal Policy International Limited; Consulting Senior Fellow, International Institute for Strategic Studies.  Formerly: Legal Adviser, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London (2006-11); Director, Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge (2003-06); Member, Executive Council, American Society of International Law.

Ms Lindy Cameron OBE
Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa Dept, Department for International Development.

Major General Tim Cross CBE
CEO, CrossTC Ltd.  Formerly: British Army (1971-2007); Adviser to the UK House of Commons Defence Select Committee (2007-2012); General Officer Commanding Theatre Troops (2004-07); Deputy, Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Affairs Washington/Kuwait/Baghdad (re-titled the Coalition Provisional Authority) (2003); Brigade Commander Kosovo (1999).

Mr Alexander Evans OBE
Senior Fellow, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University (2011-).

Mr Nik Gowing
Main Presenter, BBC World News (1996-).  Formerly: Diplomatic Editor (1989-96), Diplomatic Correspondent, Channel 4 News; ITN Bureau Chief, Warsaw (1980-83) and Rome (1979); Chatham House Council (1998-2004); Advisory Council Member: Royal United Services Institute, Wilton Park, Overseas Development Institute.  A Governor of The Ditchley Foundation.

General Sir Mike Jackson GCB CBE DSO DL
Chair, Defence Advisory Board, PA Consulting Group (2006-).  Formerly: Chief of the General Staff (2003-06); Commander in Chief Land Command (2000-03); Commander, Kosovo Force to Macedonia and Pristina (1999);  Commander, NATO ACE Rapid Reaction Corps (1997-99); Commander, IFOR's Multinational Division South West, Bosnia (1996).

Mr David Mepham
UK Director, Human Rights Watch (2011-).  Formerly: Head of Policy and Advocacy, Save the Children UK (2007-11); Associate Director and Head, International Programme, Institute for Public Policy Research.

Mr Julian Miller CB
Deputy National Security Advisor, Foreign and Defence Policy, Cabinet Office.  Formerly: Director, Strategy and Resources, Ministry of Defence; Chief of Assessments Staff, Cabinet Office.

Dr Vijay Rangarajan
HM Diplomatic Service; Director for Multilateral Policy, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).  Formerly: Director, Constitution Group, Cabinet Office; Head of European Defence, FCO; Deputy Head of Mission, Mexico.

Mr Dan Smith
Secretary-General, International Alert (2003- ).  Formerly: UN Peacebuilding Fund's Advisory Group, New York: Member (2007-09), Chair (2009-11); Chair of the Board, Institute of War and Peace Reporting, London (1992-2006); International Peace Research Institute, Oslo: Senior Adviser (2001-03), Director (1993-2001); Transnational Institute, Amsterdam:Director (1991-93), Associate Director (1988-91).

Mr Rory Stewart OBE
Member of Parliament (Conservative) for Penrith and The Border (2010-); Member, Foreign Affairs Select Committee (2010-). Formerly: Founder and CEO, Turquoise Mountain, Kabul (2006-08); Coalition Deputy Governor, Maysan and Dhi Qar Provinces, Iraq (2003); HM Diplomatic Service; British Army.  A Member of Programme Committee, The Ditchley Foundation.

Ms Lucy Morgan Edwards

Author, ‘The Afghan Solution; the inside story of Abdul Haq, the CIA and how Western Hubris lost Afghanistan’ (2011).  Formerly: Political Advisor to the European Union Special Representative, Kabul (2004-05);  Country Expert to the EU Election Observation Mission (2005); Correspondent, the Economist; Programme Officer, National Solidarity Programme, Kandahar and Herat.

Ms Ameerah Haq

Under-Secretary-General for the United Nations Department of Field Support, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste and Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (2009-).  Formerly: Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan and United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan (2007-09); Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan (2004-07).

Dr Francis Deng

Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, United Nations.  Formerly: Ambassador of Sudan to Canada; to the Nordic countries; to the United States; Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Wilhem Fellow, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Research Professor of International Politics, Law and Society, Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution.

Mr Jordan Ryan

Assistant Secretary-General and Director, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, United Nations Development Programme.  Formerly: Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Recovery and Governance) and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Liberia (2006-09); UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam (2001-05); Deputy Director, then Director, Office of the UNDP Administrator, New York (1996-2001).

Ms Kitty Arie

Director of Advocacy, Save the Children UK (2011-).  Formerly: Save the Children UK: Senior Adviser, Child Survival; Head of Conflict and Humanitarian Policy; Public Policy Analyst, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Ms Widney Brown
Senior Director, International Law and Policy, International Secretariat of Amnesty International, London.  Formerly: Deputy Programme Director, Human Rights Watch (2003-06); Advocacy  Director, Women's Rights Programme, Human Rights Watch (1997-2003); Lecturer, Yale University of Public Health.

Ambassador James Dobbins
Director, Center for International Security and Defense Policy, RAND Corporation.  Formerly: Bush Administration First Special Envoy for Afghanistan; Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans; Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director, National Security Council Staff (1996-99); US Ambassador to the European Community (1991-93); Assistant Secretary of State for Europe; Clinton Administration Special Envoy for Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Ambassador and LTG(Retd) Karl Eikenberry
Payne Distinguished Lecturer, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University.  Formerly: US Ambassador to Afghanistan (2009-11); US Army (1974-2009); Deputy Chairman, NATO Military Committee, Brussels; Commander, Combined Forces Command, Afghanistan; Director for Strategic Planning and Policy, US Pacific Command; US Security Coordinator and Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation, Kabul.

Mrs Wendy Luers
Founder and President, The Foundation for a Civil Society (1990-); Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Project on Justice in Times of Transition, Tufts University; Vice Chair, Latin American Program, Woodrow Wilson Center; Member, Council on Foreign Relations.  Formerly: Board Member, Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University; President Emerita, Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies; Human Rights Watch (1987-89); Amnesty International (1975-79).  A Member of the Advisory Council, The American Ditchley Foundation.

Ambassador William H Luers
Director, The Iran Project, The Foundation for a Civil Society; Adjunct Professor, Columbia University (2009-).  Formerly: Chairman and President, United Nations Association of the United States of America (1999-2009): President, Metropolitan  Museum of Art, New York (1986-99); Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1984-86); to Venezuela (1978-84); Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs (1977-78); Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs (1975-77).

Mr Andrew Michels
Senior Civilian Advisor, Joint Chiefs of Staff Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell, National Military Command Center, Pentagon.

Professor Joseph Nye
Distinguished Service Professor, John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2004-); Author, 'The Future of Power' (2011).  Formerly: Dean, John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (1995-2004); Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (1994-95); Chairman, National Intelligence Council (1993-94); Deputy Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology.  A Member of the Board of Directors, The American Ditchley Foundation.

Mr William Pace
Executive Director, World Federalist Movement, Institute for Global Policy; Convenor, Coalition for the International Criminal Court (1995-); Co-Founder and Steering Committee Member, International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect.  Formerly: Secretary-General, Hague Appeal for Peace; Director, Center for the Development of International Law; Director of Section Relations, Concerts for Human Rights Foundation, Amnesty International.

Dr Paul Stares
General John W Vessey Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention and Director, Center for Preventive Action, Council on Foreign Relations.  Formerly: Vice President and Director, Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention, United States Institute of Peace; Associate Director and Senior Research Scholar, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University (2000-02).

Ms Clare Lockhart

Co-Founder and Director, Institute for State Effectiveness, Washington DC (2006-); Director, Market Building Initiative, Aspen Institute (2008-); Author, 'Fixing Failed States' (OUP 2008); Barrister.  Formerly: On Secondment, Afghan Government; UN Adviser to the Bonn Agreement, Afghanistan (2001-05); Program Manager, Institutions and Strategy, World Bank.