States and Terrorism: An Ambivalent Relationship

Maison de la Paix, A2, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Professor Jussi Hanhimaki, Dr. Bernhard Blumenau
07.05.2015 - 08.05.2015
Lukas Schemper, MA

The Graduate Institute’s International History Department is convening a conference entitled “States and terrorism: An Ambivalent Relationship” from 7-8 May. This conference will address state terrorism and state sponsored terrorism and look at examples, causes, and consequences. States and terrorists have an ambivalent relationship. States want to beat terrorists or use them as a tool whereas terrorists attack states but also need them as a source of support. This conference will tackle this ambiguous rapport by addressing a wide range of cases in Europe, and the Americas throughout the whole 20th century.

As part of the conference, Professor Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou (Adjunct Professor at the International History Department and Deputy Directory of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy) will give a keynote address.

The address entitled ““From Al Qaeda to the Islamic State: The Evolution of Contemporary Transnational Terrorism” will take place on Thursday, 7 May at 17:00 in A2.


Thursday, 7 May 2015

9:30 Welcome and Introductions

Jussi Hanhimäki/Bernhard Blumenau

10:00 – 11:30 Panel I - The Cold War & Terrorism: Myths and Misinterpretations

Chair: Jussi Hanhimäki, Graduate Institute

Thomas Riegler, Vienna - “Gladio – Myth and Reality”

Tobias Hof, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US - “State Involvement in Right-Wing Terrorism in Italy and West Germany: Myth or Reality?”

Adrian Hänni, University of Zurich, CH - “Reactions to state-sponsored terrorism in the United States, 1980-1992”

11:30 – 12:00 Coffee break

12:00 – 13:00 Panel II - The US and State (Sponsored) Terror
Chair: Tobias Hof, Chapel Hill

Barbara Zanchetta, Graduate Institute, CH, - “The United States and 'Operation Condor': Cold War imperatives or state sponsored terrorism?”

Silke Zoller, Temple University, US, - “States and Non-State Actors in Counterterrorism”

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch break

14:30 – 16:30 Panel III - Europe and Terrorism

Chair: Barbara Zanchetta, Graduate Institute

Felix Jimenez, Boston College, US - “The Politics of South American state terrorism in 1970s West Germany”

Bernhard Blumenau, Graduate Institute, CH - “The East German State Security and Western right-wing terrorists.”

Andrea Chiampan, Graduate Institute, CH - “Encountering Violence: State and Terror in Italy's anni di piombo”

Przemysław Gasztold-Seń, Institute of National Remembrance, Warsaw, PL, - “The Arms Trade, Espionage and Embargoed Goods: Polish Military Intelligence and International Terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s”

16:30 – 17:00 Coffee break

17:00 Keynote address

Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Graduate Institute/ GCSP
“From Al Qaeda to the Islamic State: The Evolution of Contemporary Transnational Terrorism”

Conference dinner - Location tbd

Friday, 8 May 2015

9:00 – 10:30 Panel IV – Transnational Terrorism and ‘National Liberation?

Chair: Bernhard Blumenau, Graduate Institute

Felicitas Fischer von Weikersthal, University of Heidelberg, D, - “Terrorists and Statesmen. Terrorism and the Polish Fight for Independence”

Isabella Ginor/ Gideon Remez, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, - “The KGB’s Abduction Program and the PFLP: New Evidence”

Daniel Rickenbacher, ETH Zurich, CH, - “The Islamic State’s Ambivalence: From Hybrid Warfare to Transnationalism”

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee break

11:00 – 12:00 Roundtable discussion: State (Sponsored) Terrorism: Former Trends and New Tendencies

Moderation: Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou. Graduate Institute, GCSP

Yonah Alexander, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, Washington, DC USA

Jussi Hanhimäki, Graduate Institute

François-Bernard Huyghue, Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques Paris, France

12:00 – 13:30 Lunch


Lukas Schemper, MA, Assistant

International History Department
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2
CP 136 - CH-1211 Genève 21
+41 22 908 44 45

States and Terrorism: An Ambivalent Relationship, 07.05.2015 – 08.05.2015 Geneva, in: H-Soz-Kult, 03.05.2015, <>.
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