Halifax International Security Forum Establishes Guide Posts for the Year Ahead

For Immediate Release

Halifax, NS – Halifax International Security Forum concluded its proceedings today with representatives from over 80 democracies providing important guidance on the global security challenges of 2020 and beyond.

“Again this year, the Halifax International Security Forum has shown why it is a must-attend event for democratic leaders, subject experts and decision makers from across the globe,” said Forum President Peter Van Praagh. “Our agenda is the world’s future agenda. We work hard to project today’s issues into the new year to give leaders the information and the insights they need to make good decisions; to make good policy.”

“This weekend we addressed a range of global issues, notably China and the need for a comprehensive strategy to address it, the ongoing challenges in Ukraine, US leadership in the world, and how countries need to adapt to technological and political changes,” added Van Praagh.

Among the many highlights of Halifax 2019:

  • The presentation of the John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service to the people of Hong Kong. Mrs. Cindy McCain reminded delegates that tyranny and injustice are not inevitable and that democratic values like freedom and dignity are worth fighting for.
  • Senior U.S. leaders used the Forum to reassure allies that America would continue to play an active role in supporting democracy.
    • “We should continue to call out China’s behavior as abhorrent to the idea of the freedoms that we’ve all fought for over the history of my country.” Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
    • (Regarding China’s economic power and influence in the world) “There are people who would give up their freedoms for a different standard of living. In my opinion, if they do that, they’ll end up with neither.” Senator Jim Risch, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
    • “There are two poles in American thought—isolationism and engagement. I believe the next president of the U.S., Democrat or Republican, is going to want to significantly re-engage in multilateral institutions.” Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
    • “When Huawei becomes the backbone of the Internet for any liberal democracy, it’s not just that you’re going to lose your nation’s security to the Chinese. All of your citizens are going to have their most private personal data exploited. Medical records, banking information, social media – everything about a person is going to be sucked up through the Cloud and using Artificial Intelligence. That’s a terrifying situation.” Robert C. O’Brien, United States National Security Advisor
  • A highly anticipated appearance by former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko did not disappoint. During his Halifax Chat, Mr. Poroshenko told delegates that the only thing stopping Russia is Ukraine and asked for the continued support of democratic nations. He said, “It is vital to keep NATO’s door open to Ukraine. We are now the eastern front of NATO.”
  • Finally, Halifax International Security Forum pledged that Sunday morning’s plenary session on the contributions of women in security would be the last panel that addresses women’s contributions to peace and security as separate and distinct from the larger global effort. “Women in security should not be the exception, they should be the norm,” said Mr. Van Praagh.

“Halifax International Security Forum has always stood for the values of strong and courageous leadership in defence of freedom and democracy,” concluded Forum President Peter Van Praagh. “We will be advancing those values over the next 12 months by developing a strategic action plan on China. It will be presented for discussion at Halifax in November of 2020, so stay tuned.”

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For more information, please contact:

Robin MacLachlan, Communications Manager, Halifax International Security Forum – (613) 294-6128 or communications@halifaxtheforum.org