Halifax International Security Forum Releases 2016 Topical Agenda

WASHINGTON, DC – Halifax International Security Forum, North America’s leading foreign affairs and defense conference, announces the release of its topical agenda for this year’s gathering in Halifax, Nova Scotia, November 18-20.


For the agenda, click here.


The Halifax International Security Forum’s annual agenda has earned a global reputation for identifying and addressing the issues that security officials must confront today and into the future.  As far back as 2013, the plenary session “Free Radicals With Return Tickets” addressed the urgent issue of Western youth joining radical terrorist organizations in increasing numbers and the potential for attacks in our own cities.  The international community is still dealing with this threat.


This year’s agenda aims to be equally prescient.


“Brexit, populism in continental Europe, the rise of Donald Trump in the United States, and the recent referendum in Colombia turning down the peace deal demonstrate a real disconnect between elites and the public across the democratic world,” said Peter Van Praagh, President of Halifax International Security Forum.  “If local politics forces democracies to look inward, will we be capable of meeting the global security threats ahead?  We must have a conversation at Halifax that leads to a better understanding of the challenges in our own democracies so we are fully equipped to continue to look outward.”


Halifax International Security Forum will be hosted by the Hon. Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of National Defence.  It brings together individuals who are on the ground facing consequential local threats, writers who challenge and influence the world’s thinking on security, and global decision-makers who make the tough choices.


The Halifax International Security Forum is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC.  The Forum is made possible by the generous support from its partners, including the Government of Canada, and the Halifax Canada Club.




Plenary Sessions (On-the-Record)


  • Make Democracy Great Again
  • The Superpower’s Enduring Priorities: Trade, Justice and the American Way
  • Great Continent, Great Responsibility: Finding China’s Role
  • Because Syria: I’m Your Friendly Neighborhood Terrorist
  • NATO: Necessary
  • Climate Security, Energy Security and the Politics of Slow Moving Threats
  • Spies Love Us: Protecting Information in the Age of Openness
  • Return of the Nation State


Small Group Sessions (Off-the-Record)


  • Are We All Being Served?: Women and the Importance of Being Inclusive
  • Beneath the Waves: Submarine Surge
  • Can Liberal Institutions Survive Democracy?
  • Catastrophe in South Sudan
  • Colombia’s Peace: Latin Lessons for All
  • Defense, Development, Diplomacy: Difficult
  • Democracy Lost: When Allies Go Astray
  • Drugs: America’s Addiction, Mexico’s Affliction
  • The End of Secrecy: The End of Diplomacy?
  • Energy as a Weapon: An Idea Whose Time has Passed?
  • India: Last BRIC in the Wall
  • ISIS in Africa
  • London Calling, Europe Falling
  • Maidan, Crimea, and the Obstacles to Democracy in Ukraine
  • Middle East Mess: Who Should Clean It Up?  Who Can?
  • The New Battlefield: Where Is It?
  • Old Enemies, New Friends?: Realignment in the Middle East
  • Operation: Peace
  • Power Corrupts, Corruption Corrodes
  • Reconciliation or Escalation: The Korean Conundrum
  • Refugees Passing Borders, Nations Passing the Buck
  • Russia: Putin’ the Bloc Back Together
  • Sea, Cyber, Space: The Long Game in Asia
  • Securing Afghanistan, Losing Pakistan
  • Terror: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
  • Top Cop: Fulfilling the UN’s Eternal Promise
  • TPP: Toward a New Liberal Order in Asia
  • Turkey’s Failed Coup and the Consequences for the Rest of the World

For media inquiries, please contact communications@halifaxtheforum.org. Please direct other inquiries to info@halifaxtheforum.org

The HALIFAX International Security Forum & IPSOS Release Global Polling Data

Washington, DC – On the eve of the 6th annual Forum taking place from 21 – 23 November in Halifax, Canada, the Halifax International Security Forum and Ipsos, the leading global market and opinion research firm, are releasing new findings about global views of today’s crises. The views from citizens in 24 countries include perspectives on the threat of the Islamic State, Ebola, and renewed armed conflicts as well as views on Canadian and American leadership to address these crises.

Conducted annually since 2010, the poll found that Americans and Canadians alike see the world as an increasingly dangerous place. Two-thirds of Americans and 60% of Canadians agree that the world is more dangerous this year than last year and that the threat of an armed conflict has spiked dramatically. Data collected between October 5th to 19th of this year shows three-quarters of Americans and 64% of Canadians support air strikes against ISIL even though less than 41% of these citizens believe air strikes will succeed in eliminating ISIL. It’s not only armed conflict, but the Ebola outbreak led to a recent spike in concerns about a health epidemic. In Canada, concerns nearly doubled since 2010 (from 34% to 62%) while growing substantially in the US (from 46% to 74%).

“The findings suggest to us that Canadians and Americans are looking for leadership to address today’s global threats that are all the more challenging because they do not respect borders” said Peter Van Praagh, President of the Halifax International Security Forum. “Leaders and policymakers at the Halifax International Security Forum will have to consider these views as they debate solutions to these challenges once they return home.”

Citizens from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States all saw increases of 18 – 30% in concerns about the potential for armed conflict. Turkey and the United States are the most worried.

The United States and China remain the two countries where the highest numbers of people agree that “under some conditions, war is necessary to obtain justice” though these numbers rose dramatically in Europe with increases of 14 – 21% in France, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Poland. Populations also support increasing defense spending, including over 50% of Germans.

Most citizens believe it is a good thing that the US has a special responsibility to assist countries when those countries are confronted by military aggressors. Indians, South Koreans and Canadians are most in favor of that sentiment while 42% or less of Russian and Chinese citizens feel the same. Russians feel strongly that they have enough common values to cooperate with China.

These results will inform discussions at the Halifax International Security Forum between people on the frontlines facing consequential threats, writers who challenge and influence the world’s thinking on security and decision-makers who make the tough choices.  The Halifax International Security Forum is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC.

A full summation of the findings as well as the research undertaken can be found at the following site: http://www.ipsos.ca/en/