“The Problem with Strategy”, a Conversation with Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman


  • DATE / TIME:
    2014•09•16    18:30 - 19:30

    On 16 September 2014, the United Nations University will host “The Problem with Strategy”, a conversation with Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies and recent Vice-Principal of King’s College London, and a leading authority on international politics and strategic planning. This event will start from 6:30 PM on 16 September at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo.

    Governments are regularly tasked with formulating definitive strategies on everything from healthcare and defence to foreign relations and economics. But the process of devising strategy can suffer from planners’ fixed focus on a target endpoint, instead of recognizing that the process is a dynamic series of stages requiring flexible action.

    Professor Freedman will join UNU Rector David M. Malone to examine the demands on governments to have national strategies that provide a clear sense of direction. The discussion will consider the bureaucratic and diplomatic challenges involved in forging such strategies and the risks involved in making clear statements of intent.

    The conversation will draw from Professor Freedman’s acclaimed recent book, Strategy: A History, and examine how politicized environments can encourage the notion that strategy should be a plan leading to a clear aim, rather than a process of dealing with pressing problems, which requires adaptability and improvisation.

    The UNU Conversation Series aims to foster audience participation: you are encouraged to engage with the speakers during the conversation and at the reception that will follow, where all audience members are invited to enjoy the food and drinks that will be served while exchanging ideas and making new contacts.

    Please note that this event will be in English only; Japanese interpretation will not be provided. Advance registration (by 15 September) is required. Please click on the REGISTER button above to access the online registration page.

    About the Speaker

    Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King’s College London since 1982. Until recently he was also Vice-Principal of the College. He was educated at Whitley Bay Grammar School and the Universities of Manchester, York and Oxford. Before joining King’s College he held research appointments at Nuffield College Oxford, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

    Professor Freedman has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the cold war, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995, awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1996 and made a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 2003. He was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997 and is currently serving on the official British Inquiry into the Iraq War. His most recent book is Strategy: A History (Oxford University Press, 2013).




    2F Reception Hall
    United Nations University
    53-70, Jingumae 5-chome
    Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925