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BIPR | Johns Hopkins SAIS Global Risk Conference - The Janika Albers Memorial Roundtable in Political Risk. Anticipating Global Challenges
Johns Hopkins SAIS Global Risk Conference - The Janika Albers Memorial Roundtable in Political Risk. Anticipating Global Challenges

November 27, 2023 - 18:30

Oksana Antonenko - Erik Jones - Preston Keat

Event Recap

Preston Keat opened the roundtable seminar by presenting a survey that he conducted with his team and found that people nowadays see the world as volatile, uncertain, and fragmented, while the words used to describe it in the beginning of the century were rational, predictable, and stable. Keat talked about a move away from hyper globalization towards strategic competition, which is characterized by the reemergence of geopolitics. Regarding the question under what circumstances stable peace between Israel and Palestine can be achieved, Keat explained that the two areas of what is possible and what is necessary do not overlap given the current political leaders in place. In relation to the Russia-Ukraine war, Keat stated that while two of the West's objectives have been achieved, namely denying Russia's war aims and preventing a broader escalation, Ukrainian territorial recovery has not been achieved yet. Lastly, Keat talked about the upcoming US elections and their significance for the US approach to climate change, relations with China, and NATO.

Oksana Antonenko presented her assessment of the five most pressing forthcoming risks. Antonenko explained that more than 2 billion people will go to elections in 2024 and urged the audience to closely watch the EU Parliament elections and the Taiwan elections. Antonenko warned that next year war will become more normalized and stated that Russia is no longer fighting a war for territorial conquest but a proxy war against the West. Antonenko then pointed out that 2024 will be decisive for what shape fragmentation will take, whether chaotic fragmentation with no centers of power or a fragmentation with regional blocks who are willing to coordinate objectives. Antonenko's fourth risk assessment was the expected major technology breakthroughs, and the fifth focused on overload. Antonenko explained that governments and businesses have become entrenched in groupthink because there are too many crises and risks that they are unable to substantially analyze and prepare scenario plans.

Dr. Erik Jones explained the results of the recent Dutch elections as the collapse of the gatekeepers that were supposed to keep Wilders out. Jones expects a similar scenario to happen in Belgium as most of the parties have discredited themselves, giving the opposition a real chance to come to power. Jones talked about the danger of nonlinear dynamics and broke this category into two types of dynamics. He warned that the world economy is being re-engineered, and this process is happening slowly, but we will quickly find ourselves living in two separate world economies. He urged the audience to pay close attention to the slow part of the process next year by analyzing industrial standards. The other type of nonlinear dynamic that Jones presented as a risk was the sudden resort to violence and addressed the potential of a violent conflict around the US elections. Lastly, Jones talked about the threat of all the risk factors that he presented happening at the same time and explained that he is most concerned about this happening in Italy, which does not have a safety net.

Johns Hopkins SAIS Global Risk Conference - The Janika Albers Memorial Roundtable in Political Risk. Anticipating Global Challenges

hosted by Professor Veronica Anghel

Oksana Antonenko
European University Institute
Erik Jones
European University Institute
Preston Keat

The Janika Albers Memorial Lecture on Political Risk is a yearly event in memory of our late SAIS Europe Alumna partially supported by the Bologna Class of 2006 Tribute Fund. The Lecture is part of the broader Johns Hopkins SAIS Global Risk Conference which has been made possible with the generous support of Mr. James K. Anderson, SAIS Europe Alumnus and Advisory Council member, and Johns Hopkins University Trustee.

On November 24, 2011, Janika Albers, SAIS Alumna (Bologna 2006/Washington DC 2007) from Germany, passed away. She was a person of tremendous energy and determination, a dedicated member of the SAIS Europe community and a much-valued member of Oxford Analytica, the advisory firm where she had worked since completing her SAIS degree. Over the years she not only spearheaded a number of important projects, but also collaborated closely with other SAIS alumni and members of the faculty. Political Risk was one of Janika's strongest interests, and her Bologna Class of 2006, together with her family, decided to undertake the project that she was working on with Professor Erik Jones at the time of her passing, by establishing and financing the Janika Albers Memorial Lecture on Political Risk. This initiative will contribute to keeping Janika's presence alive at SAIS Europe. Janika's family express their gratitude for this endeavor to honor Janika's memory.

For further information on this initiative please click here

Oksana Antonenko is Visiting Fellow at the Schuman Centre For Advanced Studies of the European University Institute and Global Fellow at the Kennan Institute. From 2018 to 2023 she was Director for Global Risk Analysis at Control Risks Group where she focused on analysing political, regularity and security risks for senior decision-makers in private and public sectors. Her work covered Europe, including Russia, Turkey and Central Asia, as well as Africa and the Middle East. Oksana was a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economic and Political Science. Her research focused on the political economy of Strongmen Regimes along with political risks associated with weak government institutions and governance failures. In 2011-2016 Oksana was a Senior Political Counsellor at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). She advised EBRD's Senior Management and the Board on political trends and governance issues in Russia, Turkey, South Caucasus and Central Europe. In 1996-2011 Oksana was a Senior Fellow and Programme Director for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. She published extensively on regional security topics including Russia's relations with the EU and NATO, arms control issues, protracted conflicts in Eurasia, energy security and regional cooperation in the Black Sea area. Oksana has degrees from Harvard University and Moscow State University.

Erik Jones is Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute. He is also Professor of European Studies and International Political Economy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) – on extended leave. Professor Jones is author of The Politics of Economic and Monetary Union (2002), Economic Adjustment and Political Transformation in Small States (2008), Weary Policeman: American Power in an Age of Austerity (2012, with Dana H. Allin), and The Year the European Crisis Ended (2014). He is editor or co-editor of books and special issues of journals on topics related to European politics and political economy including The Oxford Handbook of the European Union (2012) and The Oxford Handbook of Italian Politics (2015). Professor Jones is co-editor of Government & Opposition and a contributing editor of Survival. His commentary has appeared in the Financial Times, the New York Times, and other major newspapers and magazines across Europe and North America.

Preston Keat is a managing director and head of political and country risk at UBS. In this role he oversees the bank's political and country risk team, which analyzes a broad range of economic and policy themes, coordinates country rating and exposure limits, and contributes to stress-scenario development. He also leads the firm's internal "Economist Forum" and "Risk Think Tank." Prior to joining UBS, Preston worked for ten years at the political risk consultancy, Eurasia Group, where he was a research director, head of the Europe practice, and a member of the management committee. At the German Marshall Fund of the US in Washington DC, he worked on the Fund's programs for political and economic development in Central and Eastern Europe. He has also taught a courses in political risk (Columbia), political economy, statistics and game theory (UCLA). He holds a Ph.D. from UCLA, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. from the College of William and Mary.
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