September 18, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of former United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld who tragically passed away in a plane crash, on his way to cease-fire negotiations in the Katanga province of the Congo. The conflict in the Congo, which he worked so hard to end, re-emerged in the past decade and a half, with tragic consequences for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). Dag Hammarskjöld advocated a community-based vision of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security. Central to his conception of an effective United Nations was his fundamental belief that states should respect the UN’s institutional neutrality, and so enable it to become an instrument and expression of the international community in pursuit of the Charter’s objectives. For Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN’s primary responsibility was to do everything within its means to protect successive generations from the ravages of war.
- To improve understanding of the critical relationship between justice, peace and democracy;
- To investigate Dag Hammarskjöld’s ideas about the UN and their continuing relevance in efforts to reform the UN today;
- To learn lessons from specific conflict situations through case studies, about how to make efforts towards national and international peace and justice more effective and sustainable;
- To reflect on ways the international community can improve its future practice in line with the principles of Dag Hammarskjöld and the UN.
Guiding themes for speakers
- How did Dag Hammarskjöld influence the UN and the role of the Secretary General? In this regard participants may explore: (i) the philosophical and socio-historical assumptions behind his views on international relations, international service, leadership and the role of the United Nations and (ii) distinct features that suggest a legacy of his approach to leadership.
- To what extent do Dag Hammarskjöld’s views remain relevant for international law, diplomacy of reconciliation, preventive diplomacy, international service, the UN, technical assistance, seen as points of departure for the global leadership role of the UN?
- How have perceptions about these roles changed since the death of Dag Hammarskjöld? Which aspects have fallen out of favour and which new dimensions have been developed?
- What is our current understanding of concepts such as peace diplomacy, international agency, impartiality and neutrality, the responsibility to protect, global justice and governance?
- Which lessons can be learned from concrete conflict situations in which international agencies are or were involved?
- What conclusions and lessons can be drawn for the future relationship between justice and peace initiatives and institutions?
Scope of the conference
The conference will consist of two parts. The first day (9 November afternoon) will include public debate, open to the corps diplomatique, the judiciary, academia, students and young professionals. The Prosecutor of the ICC, Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is confirmed as one of the keynote speakers. The second part of the conference (10 November) will be an interdisciplinary meeting, focusing on a number of selected issues. The latter is open to academia and policy makers willing to present and discuss their papers. Suitable papers will be considered for publication in a conference volume with a leading international publisher.
Call for papers / expressions of interest
We kindly invite expressions of interest, with a title and abstract of a paper (300 words maximum) dealing with one or more of the above questions, to be presented at the meeting of day two. Deadline for abstracts: September 1st 2011 to be sent to .
The conference will be hosted by The Hague Academic Coalition. More information about the HAC and its members can be found at www.haguecoalition.org. The HAC envisages close cooperation with the Swedish Embassy in The Hague, the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, the Dutch Government, the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, and The Hague Institute for Global Justice. The conference is being prepared by Professor Carsten Stahn and Joe Powderly of the Grotius Centre of Campus The Hague/Leiden University, Monica Bouman (on a personal basis) and Ed Maan of The Hague Academic Coalition. Telephone: (00 31-0)70-4260 506 / 494