Tuesday, 4 June 2013, 6:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

Summit Diplomacy: Some Lessons from History for 21st Century Leaders

Professor David Reynolds FBA

‘It is not easy to see how matters could be worsened by a parley at the summit.’

Winston Churchill coined the term ‘summit’ in 1950, during some of the darkest days of the Cold War. In the second half of the twentieth century summit meetings became a central element of international diplomacy – among them dramatic encounters such as Kennedy and Khrushchev at Vienna in 1961 and Reagan and Gorbachev in Reykjavik in 1986. Today summits are in the headlines all the time – for meetings of the EU, G8 and G20 – and the word is often used in other walks of life, especially in business. But there is relatively little reflection about what summit meetings are supposed to achieve or about their costs as well as benefits.

We need to take a long view of summitry, exploring why, for most of history, leaders deliberately avoided face-to-face meetings. We should look more closely at some of the classic Cold War meetings, asking why some worked and others did not. And we also need to understand how summitry has changed since the Cold War. ‘Lessons’ from the past are always tentative but this lecture suggests what twenty-first century statesmen might learn from history, if they have the time and inclination.

The third in a series of History and Policy lectures. The lectures in this series are as follows:
     What have Henry VIII and Elizabeth I got to do with 21st century development policy?
     Choosing a past for the future: Why today's environment policy is also history

professor-david-reynolds-fba

Professor of International History at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Christ’s College. Winner of the Wolfson Prize for History and a Fellow of the British Academy, he is the author of ten books, including In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War (2004) and America, Empire of Liberty: A New History (2009), which accompanied his award-winning series on BBC Radio 4.  He has also made eight historical documentaries for BBC television – several of them about premiers and presidents including Churchill, Attlee, Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan. He is a member of the History & Policy editorial advisory group.

 

Read More
Read Less

Transcript

4 June 2013

Summit Diplomacy: Some Lessons from History for 21st Century Leaders
Professor David Reynolds FBA

View PDF
Print
Related Future Lectures
Related Past Lectures
WATCHED
Part of a series

Tough Choices: Heritage or Housing?

Simon Thurley CBE
Wednesday, 7 December 2016 - 6:00PM
WATCHED

Did Sir Walter Scott Invent Scotland?

Dr Juliet Shields
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

King George V

Professor Vernon Bogdanor FBA CBE
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Perfection or Pastiche? New Buildings in Old Places

Simon Thurley CBE
Wednesday, 1 February 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED

"Numberless Diverse Acts of Courage and Belief": The Struggle Against Slavery in History and in the Present

Dr Aidan McQuade
Thursday, 23 February 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED

Living Without Electricity

Professor Roger Kemp
Tuesday, 28 February 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED

The Curious Case of the Decapitated Frog

Professor Alexander Klein
Thursday, 1 December 2016 - 6:00PM
WATCHED

Thomas More's Magnificent Utopia

Dr Richard Serjeantson
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

King Edward VII

Professor Vernon Bogdanor FBA CBE
Tuesday, 8 November 2016 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Saving the Twentieth Century

Simon Thurley CBE
Wednesday, 2 November 2016 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Port of London and its Future

Dr Katherine Riggs
Monday, 31 October 2016 - 1:00PM
WATCHED

Van Eyck's The Virgin with the Canon: Visual Disability and Societal Attitudes as Depicted in the Northern Renaissance

Louis Clearkin FRCS
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Long Shadow: The Great War and International Memory, 1914-2014

Professor David Reynolds FBA
Monday, 8 December 2014 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Conspiracy and the Two Theories of History

Professor Sir Richard Evans FBA
Thursday, 16 June 2016 - 6:30PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Faith in the state or hidden discontent?

Professor Sir Richard Evans FBA
Thursday, 16 June 2016 - 6:25PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Conspirators and the Police

Professor Sir Richard Evans FBA
Thursday, 16 June 2016 - 6:20PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Stalin’s conspiracies and dramatised propaganda

Professor Sir Richard Evans FBA
Thursday, 16 June 2016 - 6:15PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

What makes a conspiracy?

Professor Sir Richard Evans FBA
Thursday, 16 June 2016 - 6:10PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Are conspiracy theories spread by the Internet?

Professor Sir Richard Evans FBA
Thursday, 16 June 2016 - 6:05PM