Past Program

Feb 03, 2014

Europe's future: 1814, 1914 - or something completely different?


Edward Mortimer, former Chief Program Officer of Salzburg Global Seminar, will deliver the inaugural Palliser Lecture in memory of Sir Michael Palliser GCMG at the House of Lords in London.

The late Sir Michael Palliser (1922-2012) was a distinguished British diplomat who was vice-chair of the Salzburg Global board of directors, and on the faculty of many Salzburg Global sessions. Having served in World War Two he was a lifelong believer in European unity, was part of the team that negotiated Britain’s membership of what was to become the European Union, and then helped to ensure that Britain played a constructive role in European institutions.

Appropriately, therefore, the lecture will look at Europe's future, but will do so in the light of two centenaries that fall this year – that of the start of the Congress of Vienna in 1814, which re-shaped Europe after the Napoleonic wars, and that of 1914, when the outbreak of World War One shattered Europe's long peace, leading to 30 years of horrific bloodshed and the loss of Europe's pre-eminent position in world affairs. Today, both in Europe and perhaps even more in the global world order, 2014 resembles 1914 – the time of the "sleepwalkers" - rather than 1814, the time of the "architects". Is it possible to reach consensus on much-needed reforms in the international system without first subjecting it to yet another cataclysmic shock?

This Lecture will launch a special program, in collaboration with the International Peace Institute, to analyze and explore lessons from these key historical landmarks for leaders today and tomorrow. A series of high-level debates in North America, Europe, India and the Middle East will culminate in the session ‘1814, 1914: Lessons from History for a World at Risk’ to be held in August.    

Lecture Transcript

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