Is Asia the new African plunderer?

Direct investment in Africa by Asian economies has been increasing sharply in recent years, and unconditional loans and technical cooperation are also on offer, in particular from China. But will this trend further development and poverty reduction in African countries, or simply replace Western exploitation of Africa’s resources by a new regime of plunder? Charles Abugre will discuss this complex question in the light of his extensive experience as advisor to institutions in the UK, Africa and South-East Asia. A Ghanaian trained economist, he has written widely on Africa, and is currently Head of Global Advocacy and Policy at Christian Aid.

Assassination: The not so secret weapon

Political assassinations have a profound effect, changing the course of history – though often not in ways the plotters imagine. Richard Belfield, an award-winning television producer, has investigated international intrigue and assassination. His book on assassination, ‘Terminate with Extreme Prejudice’ was published in 2005. He will discuss the technology of modern assassination and focus on two recent cases, both of which define the way we are. The killing of Anwar Sadat in 1981 was the pivotal event in Al Qaeda’s formation. President Kennedy ordered the murder of President Diem of Vietnam, condemning the USA to a ten year war. Assassination used to be secret, but now the USA, Israel and Russia practise it openly.

Venezuela under Chavez: dictatorship or model for radical democracy?

The Chavez administration has evolved from an initially moderate position advocating Blair’s model of ‘Third Way Socialism’, to the more radical agenda of ‘Twenty First Century Socialism’. Dr. Julia Buxton will discusses the drivers of this radicalisation, and critically explore the agenda, policies and ideology behind it. She will address the ‘dictatorship’ criticisms, and outline how the Chavez government believes that it is crafting a radical model of participatory democracy, and the initiatives intended to give this vision institutional form. Julia is a widely published expert on South American politics, and is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for International Cooperation and Security at Bradford University.

Understanding Hamas

zaki_chehabWhat is the real nature of Hamas? How ‘Islamic’ are they? What personalities lie beneath the black and green uniforms? Why did Israelencourage its development? Palestinian-born Zaki Chehab, a leading journalist, draws on his unique insider sources to offer completely new insights into this radical movement. Mr. Chehab has reported on the Middle East for local and Western media (The Guardian, Channel 4 News, BBC, The Newstatesman) for 25 years. He is London Bureau Chief for Al-Hayat and Political Editor of the Arabic TV Channel LBC, and the author of ‘Iraq Ablaze’ (2006) and ‘Inside Hamas’ (2007). Zaki addressed a Chatham House event on Hamas 2nd May 2007.

This talk has been re-scheduled from the original date, 26th November, when Zaki Chehab had to attend the Annapolis Conference at short notice.