The EastWest Institute’s 5th Worldwide Security Conference (WSC5), held in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the World Customs Organization, was a great success. WSC5 gathered around 750 leaders from business, civil society, governments and academia at the World Customs Organization Headquarters in Brussels from February 19 through February 21, 2008.
Mr Cemil Çiçek, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, delivered the keynote address, followed by the opening speeches of General Ehsan Ul Haq and Ambassador Akio Suda. Other speakers included Anatoly Safonov, Gilles de Kerchove, Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani, Sadig Al Mahdi, and Jeroen van der Veer.
Workshops discussed individual issues relevant to the security of people, economies, and infrastructure. Some of these would be carried on after the conference as working groups within EWI's Worldwide Security Network.
Day 3 of the conference was an innovative "horizon-thinking" exercise, where the participants in Brussels contributed to a set of global seminars on topics such as the weaponization of science, energy security, and religion and human security. This session constructed a vision of "a day in the future," identifying channels to overcome political obstacles, mistrust, and differing perceptions.
WSC is the centerpiece of an ambitious and pioneering initiative, the EWI Worldwide Security Network, that works to build a global Track Two framework to counter security threats and bridge current divides between the new East and the West. The Network provides alternative and discreet communication channels among public officials, business leaders, and civil society representatives as well as within regional and international organizations where political obstacles, mistrust, and differing perceptions often hinder such communication. EWI's network will build upon strong individual and institutional structures that already exist in order to create an effective and overarching framework.