Real & Imagined Security Threats in an Uncertain World

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Room 701, Oxbridge Place, 9820 106 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5K 2J6

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In this lunch hour talk, Canadian International Council national President Mark Sedra will explore the politics of fear and the actors that drive it.

We are inundated by images of global threats in the mass media, whether it is terrorism, transnational organized crime, mass migration, pandemic disease, cyberwar or climate change. In spite of this “culture of fear” that seems to dominate the Western media and political landscape most evidence shows that we live in the safest period in human history. From 1945 to 2014, the death rate from conflict declined from 22 per 100,000 to 1.4, and the incidence of extreme poverty — often a driver of conflict — has declined by almost 75 percent since 1990. These statistics raise significant questions about how we assess international threats and tailor responses to them. For instance, there is a tendency to prioritize and inflate direct or proximate threats, specifically those perceived to be particularly “spectacular” in character, such as terrorism or the impacts of different forms of transnational organized crime. By contrast, more distant and creeping threats, such as climate change and pandemic disease, tend to receive less attention.

Dr. Sedra's and the CIC research project upon which it is based are intended to inform a broader discussion on how Canada should better assess and communicate threats to the public and tailor effective responses to them.

Please feel free to bring your own lunch.

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Room 701, Oxbridge Place, 9820 106 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5K 2J6

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