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Centre for International Security Studies

Analysing security issues facing Australia, the Asia Pacific and the world
In a rapidly changing security environment we expect the unexpected and apply our expertise to regional conflicts, global events and shocks to the international order.

About us

The Centre for International Security Studies was established in 2006, along with the Michael Hintze Chair of International Security, to produce innovative research and education programs on the enduring and emerging security challenges facing Australia, the Asia-Pacific and the world.

The centre takes a multidisciplinary approach to the study of international security and draws on a wide range of skills and expertise from academics, researchers and practitioners across the University and from around the world.

Our research informs debates and promotes engagement with the policy community, NGOs and the public. We work with organisations spanning policy and operations, uniquely positioning us to analyse and interpret the strategic implications of world events for governments, businesses and individuals.


Our people

Centre members include academics from the University of Sydney and other prestigious global institutions. 

Our events

The Centre for International Security Studies hosts a large public events program.

Whether it's a lecture on the geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific, a panel discussion on the security implications of quantum technologies, or a film screening about the global arms trade, CISS events are always exciting and informative.

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Past events

The COVID Crisis: Lessons Learned, What Next?

The 2020 CISS Global Forum explored the unprecedented challenges and changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Bringing together our research program leaders and international experts, the Global Forum discussed the security implications of the the COVID crisis and explore how it impacts biosecurity, ecosecurity, gender, geopolitics, infosecurity and regional security.

Who’s Afraid of the First Great Debate? The International Studies Conference and Realism-Idealism Revisited

Tuesday 4 February, 3.30-5.00pm

Join A/Prof Peter Kristensen as he presents 'Who's Afraid of the First Great Debate?', a working paper co-authored with Ole Wæver.

Over the past two decades revisionist historiographers have questioned the disciplinary myth of a 'First Debate' between realists and idealists in interwar IR.

This paper builds on revisionist historiographical arguments that interwar international thought was not dominated by idealism nor did it suddenly start with a 'big bang' debate, but it challenges the now-widespread argument that there was no realist-idealist debate whatsoever.

Tracking Digital Espionage

Tuesday 12 February, 6.00 - 7.30pm

How much do governments know about our online history? Join Ron Deibert, digital detective and founder of Citizen Lab, as he reveals the hidden surveillance systems used to spy on civil society. Listen to the podcast.

The Geopolitics of the Quantum Race

Thursday 21 February, 6.00 - 7.30pm

Following a packed house in 2018, CISS and Project Q are proud to present the fifth annual Q Forum on the geopolitics of the quantum race. Is it really happening? Join our panel of international experts as they discuss the possibilities – and the perils – that await us in a quantum future.

The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age

Monday 25 February, 6.00 - 7.30pm

The rise of cyberweapons has transformed geopolitics like nothing since the invention of the atomic bomb. Cheap to acquire, easy to deny, and usable for a variety of malicious purposes, cyber is now the weapon of choice for democracies, dictators, and terrorists. Join David E. Sanger, New York Times national security correspondent, for this exclusive Australian appearance discussing his latest book The Perfect Weapon. This event is presented as part of the CISS Global Forum.

The Dilemma between Security and Economy: Japan’s Strategy toward the New Cold War

Tuesday 12 March, 2.00 - 3.00pm

The U.S. is Japan’s most important security ally, while China is Japan’s biggest trading partner. Facing a trade and technology war between two giants, Japan’s dilemma between national security and economic prosperity is becoming more and more serious. What strategy does Japan have to deal with the prospect of a new Cold War? Join our special guest, Professor Yasuhiro Matsuda from the University of Tokyo, as he explores these questions.

Exodus, Reckoning, Sacrifice: Three Meanings of Brexit

Thursday 14 March, 6.00 - 7.30pm

As the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU looms, there are still many questions about whether the deed will actually happen. This talk will investigate how archetypal myths can help us renew democratic conversations, whether British exceptionalism is actually exceptional, the meaning of a promise, and the price of hubris.

In Conflict with Peace Research? Mapping the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Security

Wednesday 10 April, 1.00 - 2.15pm

What do we study, when we study peace, conflict, and security: the causes of  war and violent conflict; efforts to generate peace by preventing/responding to violent conflict; or otherwise? John Gledhill examines whether there is any engagement and exchange between studies of peace, on one hand, and studies of conflict, on the other.

The Justice of Visual Art: Creative State-Building in Time of Political Transition

Wednesday 1 May, 1.00 - 2.15pm

There are aesthetic and creative ways to pursue transitional justice - ways which have the capacity to address identity divisions and exclusions in nations emerging from conflict. Eliza Garnsey explores three novel and important areas of transitional justice: the theoretical framing of justice and art; the visual jurisprudence of justice measures developed in and emerging out of transition; and, the cultural diplomacy practices of states emerging from conflict.

What does Australia want in Africa?

Wednesday 4 September, 1.00 - 2.15pm

Contemporary Australian foreign policy is neglectful of Africa. While many traditional donors and ‘new’ and emerging actors in Africa have invigorated and expanded their connections with the continent since the turn of the millennium, Australia has largely failed to do the same. Dr Nikola Pijovic explains why.

Gender Matters in Peace and War

Thursday 12 September, 6.00 - 7.30pm

This public event will analyse the changes that occur when gender is pushed to the forefront of debates about war, violence and security, including the ways in which periods of peace and war are understood.

The Future is Asian: The 2019 Michael Hintze Lecture

Tuesday 5 November, 6.00 - 7.30pm

Join Dr Parag Khanna as he presents the 2019 Michael Hintze Lecture. The world has gotten used to hearing “America First”—but is it ready for “Asia First”? What happens when Asia no longer just produces for the West but the West produces for Asia? Get ready to see the world, and the future, from the Asian point-of-view.


Professor James der Derian

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