Global Conversations, from Scotland

International affairs discussed with the Scottish Council on Global Affairs

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  • 12. The Long Road to Children’s Rights in Scotland

    On 16 January 2024, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Act 2024 entered into law, ending a multi-year push by civil society to see international children’s rights written into Scots law. On this episode of the SCGA podcast, Dr David Scott (Postdoctoral Research Associate in International Law and Governance at the Glasgow Centre for International Law and Security, University of Glasgow, and the Scottish Council on Global Affairs) is joined by Professor Bruce Adamson (Professor in Practice at the School of Law, University of Glasgow and former Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland) and Josh Kennedy (former Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament) to discuss the long road leading up to the Act’s passage, the obstacles the Act faced – including a successful challenge to a previous draft of the Act before the UK Supreme Court - and the hopes they have for the future of children’s rights in Scotland.For more on Scotland’s human rights plans, you can find a previous episode of the SCGA podcast on the Scottish Human Rights Bill at 

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  • 11. Good Global Citizens? What are Scots thinking?

    In this podcast, John Edward speaks to Prof. Tom Scotto and Dr Claire Duncanson of the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively, on their work on public attitudes in Scotland.In the first detailed study of its kind, they have looked at attitudes across nationalist and unionist persuasions to key international issues of today – wellbeing, global justice, colonial legacies, military force and development spending. In particular they have looked at attitudes to the feminist approach to foreign policy supported by the Scottish Government, among others. A full report “Good Global Citizens”, and open-source data set and code book are available at Further reading:The structure of foreign policy attitudes in transatlantic perspective: Comparing the United States, United Kingdom, France and GermanyScotland the Brave? An authentic, ambitious and accountable Feminist Foreign Policy 
  • 10. Equity in Global Health Law - after COVID, what next?

    Four years on since the pandemic broke across the world SCGA looks at the prospects for a new Pandemic Treaty. John Edward speaks to Dr Stephanie Switzer of the University of Strathclyde and Dr Mark Eccleston-Turner of King’s College London. Equity has been sorely lacking in pandemic preparedness and response, and COVID-19 is the latest example. The World Health Assembly of the WHO is due to finalise a Pandemic Treaty negotiated by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body in May/June 2024. We look at how far apart countries of the Global North and South still are, and what this intergovernmental response tells us about preparedness and the search for equity ahead of whatever pandemic may come next. An SCGA Insight paper on this project is also available, with the contribution of Abbie Rose-Hampton and Michelle Rourke.
  • 9. Whatever happened to nuclear deterrence..?

    In the last edition of 2023 Dr. Tyler White, Associate Professor of Practice and the Director of the National Security Program at the University of Nebraska talks to John Edward about deterrence and assurance. Since warfare entered the atomic and nuclear age, deterrence and assurance have highlighted the perils and sought success in keeping the world safe.Where did the 1980's fear of nuclear weapon go? Has success in deterrence been undone by new forms of peril?How do you engage the right people to study these issues?Should we all now consider ourselves our own intelligence analysts?Tyler is one of the members of the US Strategic Command's Academic Alliance. The most recent DAAA conference, organised in Edinburgh by the UK's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory was in partnership with the SCoGA.
  • 8. 75 years of the Human Rights Convention - in conflict and in practice

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in Paris 75 years ago.Professor Helen Duffy, Professor of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the Grotius Centre of Leiden University and Director of Human Rights in Practice, joins Professor Christian Tams.They discuss the Declaration's origins and progress, its universality and efficacy, and its application as the bedrock for binding human rights - not solely in situations of armed conflict.Human Rights Day 2023Drafting and Relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human RightsHadijatou Mani Koraou v The Republic of Niger, Judgement of 27 October 2008University of Glasgow, LLM in Human RightsGlasgow Human Rights Network - a hub for human rights academics and practitioners
  • 7. Never again? The Genocide Convention at 75 - Professor Christian Tams

    John Edward speaks to Professor Christian Tams, University of Glasgow International Law Chair and Director of the Glasgow Centre for International Law and Security (GCILS).Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 9 December 1948, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide codified for the first time the crime of genocide. The Convention marked the international community’s commitment to ‘never again’ after the atrocities committed during the Second World War.On its anniversary, this podcast looks at the Convention's origins, its ground-breaking definition of the crime of genocide, and progress - and resistance - since at national and international levels. The episode also looks at implications for Scotland as sub-state nation with discrete legal system.See this latest edition of an Article-by-Article Commentary which Christian Tams co-authored, also on Amazon. A free copy of the general introduction is available.
  • 6. Commercial space systems and foreign armed conflicts

    Dr Adam Bower is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in International Relations, and Director of Impact and Innovation in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. Adam is also a Fellow of the Outer Space Institute. Here he talks with John Edward of SCGA on the difficult questions concerning the responsibilities - and potential vulnerabilities - of space companies and governments in times of war. Adam and John also look at Scotland's growing role in commercial space activities.Modern societies are increasingly reliant on satellite-based services that enable critical Earth observation and data transmission services. While states continue to compete - and cooperate - in space exploration, space launch and the operation of Earth-orbiting satellites are now dominated by private space companies. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Western space companies have provided vital Earth observation and telecommunications capabilities to support Ukrainian military operations. This has provided a dramatic illustration of the growing entanglement between commercial and national space systems and the policy dilemmas that emerge when private actors take sides in a war in which their home governments are not formally fighting.