Conference: At the Roots of the European Security System: Thirty Years Since the Helsinki Final Act
Call for Papers

Zurich, 8-10 September 2005

An international conference organized by the Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) as a partner in the Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact (PHP) in cooperation with the National Security Archive at the George Washington University and
Cold War International History Project (CWIHP)of the Woodrow Wilson International Center of Scholars, both in Washington, DC, and the Machiavelli Center of Cold War Studies (CIMA) in Florence.

The 30th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act in 2005 is certain to bring about a whole harvest of conferences and commemorative events. These are likely to focus mainly on the CSCE's accomplishment in making human rights an indispensable requirement of a legitimate and well-functioning international system. While not trying to detract from the importance of this signal accomplishment, the present conference, by focusing on the "roots of European security" aims at the larger picture, of which the human rights issue is an integral, but only one, part. At issue is the significance of the CSCE for the redefinition and expansion of the meaning of security, resulting in increased importance of its nonmilitary ingredients at the expense of the military ones that is characteristic of today's remarkably stable and peaceful European security system—a model to other parts of the world.

The conference aims at striking balance between what is important and what is new. It calls for analyzing and interpreting the roots of European security as they are to be found in the CSCE from both new archival evidence and testimony by witnesses of the time. In view of the 30-year rule generally applicable for access to Western archives, the former requirement makes it expedient to limit the conference to the period up to 1975—the year of the Final Act and actual starting point of the "Helsinki process." Such a limitation makes conceptual sense as well if focus is to be on the roots, since the process that evolved after the Final Act was differed in important ways from the preparatory negotiations that had shaped it.

At the same time, the limitation should not be construed to exclude archival material available for the post-1975 period in Eastern European, North American, and some other archives, much less the testimony of participants involved in the CSCE process at different times. In looking at the roots, a longer view, informed by the knowledge of eventually came out of them, should be taken without, to be sure, losing from sight the perspective of the time. Considering that many details of the pre-1975 negotiations have long been known (thanks to such books as Luigi Ferraris' Report on Negotiation), and that more knowledge of them has been added at such conferences as in those in Helsinki in 1998 and, especially, in Florence in 2003, a fresh look needs to be taken on the way of selecting the topics of the conference.

The authors of prospective papers are urged to use their imagination in selecting from a wide range of topics related to the CSCE that elucidate previously unnoticed or underestimated aspects of those roots of European security that we find in the pre-1975 years leading up to the Final Act. There are no limits to the range of topics and the relevant primary sources, but the burden of proving that the topics are important, the sources new, and the interpretation original is, of course, on the authors. Sessions will be arranged by topic rather than by country. In order to avoid too narrow or legalistic approaches to the matter, these topics should be broad enough, covering different aspects and facets of a chosen conceptual realm or single crucial issue or chronological period.

The format of the conference will use a system of multiple revisions of the papers, which makes the enforcement of certain rules in both the run-up and the follow-up to the conference most important. The deadline for paper proposals is 10 September 2004. Proposals should include a title, a one-page outline, and a one-page CV of the author. Following the acceptance of the submissions by the steering committee (see below), the first drafts of the texts with footnotes will be due by 10 April 2005, five months prior to the conference. The committee will return them to the authors with comments, aimed at filling gaps, avoiding duplications, and pointing out any possible problems. Revised drafts will then be required by 10 August 2005, to allow for their distribution to all the participants before they meet. At the conference itself, each author will then summarize his or her paper in an oral presentation of up to 15-minute duration, strictly enforced by the chairmen of each session, thus allowing enough of the remaining time to be spent on substantive discussion stimulated by the papers. The final invitation to the conference is dependent on the timely submission of the draft and revised paper as outlined above.

A publication of the conference papers is envisaged. Participants will receive a financial contribution to cover their transport and accommodation costs for their stay in Zurich.

Please submit proposals by e-mail to:
Christian Nuenlist, Center for Security Studies,

Christian Nuenlist
Center for Security Studies
ETH Zentrum/SEI
CH-8092 Zürich
Phone: ++41 1 632 65 40