Universiteit Leiden

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A World Ablaze: Making Sense of Wars Today

Monday 11 December 2023
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague

About the lecture

Since the end of the Cold War, the study of conflicts has witnessed enormous growth. At the same time, we seem to experience more, and more disturbing conflicts. Some journalists, scholars, and scientists have portrayed these conflicts as part of one global war, even a 'Third World War'. Moreover, heads of states and important public figures have come out stating this. For example, Pope Francis has said: “we are living a Third World War fought in fragments”. 

In this seminar, we would like to explore whether there is any academic validity in this portrayal. Does this apocalyptic view reflect a global reality? Do current conflicts possess common traits and similarities, in political or social and economic terms (local actors)? Are there patterns among geopolitical rivalries and global alliances?  

In trying to make sense of the current global situation, we will draw on the expertise of researchers and engage with students at Leiden University. Four case studies (Israel/Gaza, Ukraine/Russia, Sudan, and the Sahel) will be briefly introduced by an expert scholar to kick off a wider discussion.


17:30-17:40 - Introduction by our Chair Prof.dr. Isabelle Duyvesteyn

17:40-18:15 - Case study introductions by:

  • Prof.dr. André Gerrits (Russia/Ukraine)
  • Prof.dr. Maurits Berger (Israel/Gaza)
  • Dr. David Ehrhardt (Sahel)
  • Dr. Stefano Bellucci (Sudan/Horn of Africa)

18:15-19:00 - Public Discussion


Seats are limited, so make sure to register on time! You can register via this registration form.

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