Ryan Gawn

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Stratagem International

Describe the impact on foreign policy you have made in your current/past jobs.
Advancing the United Kingdom Government thinking on civilian-military relations, particularly on Afghanistan whilst working with Save the Children UK. Developing an increasing focus on impact, effectiveness, and the value (or lack of) that external actors can bring to conflict affected states. Also, encouraging lesson-learning between countries and cities affected by conflict.

What personal contribution to foreign policy are you most proud of?
Assisting directly in brokering the 2008 Helsinki Agreement, signed by senior Iraqi political representatives from Shi’a, Sunni, Kurd and independent interests. Similar to Northern Ireland’s Mitchell Principles, the Agreement provides a broad framework for national reconciliation in Iraq.

What is your vision of foreign policy in the 21st Century?
Increasingly multilateral, based on hard evidence and long term thinking, and informed by a better understanding of the impacts of foreign policy decisions on affected parties, particularly in conflict affected and fragile states.

What is the greatest foreign policy issue facing our generation?
Increasing globalisation and information flows, leading to a more evident gap between the haves and unrealised aspirations of the have-nots. This, mixed with the demographic time-bombs in Pakistan and Nigeria and high youth unemployment, and we have quite a combustible and volatile combination.

What challenges need to be overcome to create better foreign policy?
Political incentives towards resilience strategies and long-term thinking need to be created. The reactive mindset which has prevailed in recent years has meant that shocks have driven the international foreign policy agenda.

What personal, managerial, and leadership skills and traits must the next generation of foreign policy leaders possess?
An entrepreneurial mindset, willingness to challenge conventional thinking and to take risks, highly networked, and significant experience outside the ivory tower and on the ground.

How can foreign affairs be made more accessible to Americans, particularly younger generations?
Expansion of the Peace Corps programme, student exchanges and international affairs classes at high school level.

Which living or dead foreign policy practitioner do you look up to the most?
Brian Urquhart, the former UN Undersecretary-General.