NPSIA Student Attends Prague Conference on “New Threats to Security”

Ali Tejpar, Juris Doctor/Master of Arts (International Affairs) candidate recently returned from Prague in the Czech Republic where he attended the IAPSS International Security Conference. He wrote the following blog about his experiences.

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This fall, I had the incredible opportunity of being invited to speak at the International Association for Political Science Students (IAPSS) International Security Conference on New Threats to Security. I presented two of my papers on international relations. The first paper discussed the privatization of the security industry in West Africa, with a particular focus on private military operations during the Sierra Leone Civil War. The second paper explored scholarly interpretations of excerpts of the Qur’an that highlight the importance of pluralism and interfaith dialogue as inherent values of Islam.

With scholars from all parts of the world in attendance, this conference brought together graduate students, doctoral candidates, professors, policymakers, and ambassadors. Some of the countries represented included Chile, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia, the Philippines, and South Korea.

Presenters and panelists had the opportunity to showcase their work, solicit feedback and ideas, and develop new understandings of how to respond to current global security issues.

The opportunity to travel and meet leading scholars working on related topics at one of the world’s largest international security conferences was an enormous privilege. As a Juris Doctor/Master of Arts dual-degree candidate at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, this conference allowed me to engage in new and cutting-edge international security issues with a unique interdisciplinary perspective. Over the course of the week-long conference, I attended various sessions, panels, and lectures on topics such as transnational organized crime, counter-terrorism, armed conflicts, energy security, global health threats and post-conflict reconstruction models.

Amidst the rich historical backdrop of Prague, attendees discussed various topics on international security in the grand Faculty of Law building at Univerzita Karlova v Praze (Charles University). New acquaintances and inspirational scholars quickly became close friends over the week as we toured around Prague’s Old Town Square, admired Charles Bridge’s Baroque statues at sunset, climbed up the hill to see St. Vitus Cathedral’s stunning stained-glass windows and enjoyed the local Czech cuisine.

With the generous support and encouragement of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs as well as the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, I was able to share my work and connect with inspirational scholars and practitioners while representing Carleton University internationally. Accordingly, I look forward to exploring further opportunities to enrich my graduate experiences while making tangible contributions to the study of international relations.

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