An interview with Jennifer Welsh, who was recently appointed Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, on the future of norm.
Professor in International Relations at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Somerville College
Jennifer M. Welsh is Professor in International Relations at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Somerville College. She is a former Jean Monnet Fellow of the European University Institute in Florence, and was a Cadieux Research Fellow in the Policy Planning Staff of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. Jennifer has taught international relations at the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the Central European University (Prague). She is the author, co-author, and editor of several books and articles on international relations. Her current research projects include the evolution of the notion of the ‘responsibility to protect’ in international society, the ethics of post-conflict reconstruction, the authority of the UN Security Council, and a critique of conditional notions of sovereignty. Jennifer was the Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Massey College (University of Toronto) in 2005, and is a recent recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship and a Trudeau Fellowship. In 2006, she joined the Board of Trustees of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, and in 2008 became a member of the Editorial Board of the BISA Series in International Relations at Cambridge University Press. Jennifer has served as a consultant to the Government of Canada on international policy, and acts as a frequent commentator in Canadian media on foreign policy and international relations. She has a BA from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Masters and Doctorate from the University of Oxford (where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar).
Most Recent Posts
It’s Russia against the West when it comes to what to do about Syria. And that division could overshadow the entire G8 summit says Jennifer Welsh.
Jennifer Welsh on the frightening truth emerging from the killing in London: there isn’t always a network behind an act of terror.
Jennifer Welsh on the Obama administration’s response to critiques of the U.S. drone program.
Jennifer Welsh on why the number of lives lost won’t determine the “red line” for intervening in Syria.
Jennifer Welsh on the great and costly legacy of Thatcher’s forceful, visionary leadership.
Jennifer Welsh on how Iraq has transformed our thinking about human rights law.
Jennifer Welsh on why this week’s presidential election in Kenya matters for both Kenyans and western governments.
North Korea’s most recent nuclear test is a serious provocation. There’s a decent chance Kim Jong-un’s belligerency has cost him Xi Jinping’s support.
Jennifer Welsh probes the U.S.’s practice of “targeted killing”, and argues increased scrutiny may not lead to greater transparency.
Canada will have two years as chair of the Arctic Council to make its mark on Arctic governance, says Jennifer Welsh.
The French see good reasons for intervening in Mali, but their decision is a risky one says Jennifer Welsh.
Jennifer Welsh on how targeting processes for drone strikes challenges how we traditionally distinguish non-combatants in war.
Jennifer Welsh on why the conflict in Syria is so resistant to resolution.
Jennifer Welsh on why the European Union deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.
Merging Canadian and British embassies is not without risk says Jennifer Welsh.
Jennifer Welsh on the decision to close the Canadian embassy in Iran.
Assange vs. Her Majesty’s Government: Jennifer Welsh explains the Catch 22 situation of the UK government.
Is the UN Security Council still relevant if it fails to act on Syria?
Russia isn’t playing ball on peace in Syria. They have their reasons.
Jennifer Welsh wonders what Queen Elizabeth would think of a United Kingdom minus Scotland.
Jennifer Welsh on why military drones and liberal democracy don’t mix.
War is undergoing profound transformation. The Canadian military needs to change with it.
From Kenya to Syria, the former UN Secretary General has found a new vocation in mediation.
The UN passed a resolution on Libya, but not on Syria. Jennifer Welsh explains what has changed in a year.
Do we need a foreign policy review? Two prominent Canadians say no. Jennifer Welsh says yes.
What does a 15% percent cut to the American military mean to world security? Jennifer Welsh examines.
Solving Syria: Welsh examines the tensions between regional and international organizations.
Cameron is no Churchill. Welsh wonders if “British exceptionalism” is still in the national interest.
Jennifer Welsh considers NATO’s decision against a cyber attack on Libya.
Why do markets prefer China, Saudi Arabia and Singapore to Italy and the US? Welsh challenges their thinking.
“The Greek tragedy points to Europe’s hubris,” says Welsh.
Acting against terrorists has not always been okay. This and other ways 9/11 changed our ethics.
Jennifer Welsh explains the highly political and precarious process of state recognition.
The Chunnel isn’t going to disappear. This and other reasons why Jennifer Welsh refuses to Europe bash.
André has provocatively questioned whether Canada’s involvement in the NATO-led air campaign in Libya really represents a new departure in our country’s foreign policy. Like him, I find it hard to believe that a Liberal government would really have responded differently to the circumstances that faced the international community in March 2011. To begin, the […]
It’s become a common refrain in most commentary on the Libyan conflict: now that the rebels, (undoubtedly assisted by NATO’s firepower) are close to winning the war, attention must turn to ‘winning the peace’. Roland Paris will no doubt have much to say on this theme, having penned an influential book that studies a series […]
While summer temperatures in Europe are lower than normal, the streets of its cities – particularly in Britain – are raging hot. The riots that have beset London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool are an uncomfortable reminder of the discontent that lies below the surface in a country renowned for its “civility.” John’s recent posting on […]
Phew. Republicans and Democrats managed, at the 11th hour, to compromise on a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, and thereby avoid a default. Catastrophe has been averted. But has it? The fine print reveals that the deal only postpones further, more fever-pitched debate. The next round of the boxing match will occur in […]
Roland is correct to question just what constitutes the “threat out there” that Stephen Harper seems so preoccupied with. The stark view of the world that the prime minister offers – between the good guys and the bad guys – is not only based on flimsy evidence (at least, in terms of what he told […]
The scandal engulfing News of the World in the U.K. does, as André suggests, raise a host of questions about the role and freedom of the press in a democracy. Murdoch’s access to seats of power, and politicians’ tireless efforts to gain his favour, was well known. But the depth of corruption and foul play […]
Roland and André have raised some important points about the limitations of the principle of R2P, and how these limitations manifest in the case of Libya. While I’m not necessarily trying to position myself as an ‘advocate’ of R2P per se, I think there are two issues worth raising in defense of the principle (and […]
I have a piece in an upcoming issue of Ethics and International Affairs, which explores the implications of how NATO is approaching civilian protection in Libya. The international response to civilian deaths in Libya (and the imminent threat of mass atrocities) is unusual in three keys respects. First, Security Council Resolution 1973 authorized “all necessary measures” to protect civilians without […]
Hello, fellow members of the Roundtable – and thank you for kicking things off, Roland! I too am very much looking forward to having access to such a unique forum for debate about international affairs in Canada. Though I am based at the University of Oxford, I maintain deep ties to Canada and my home […]