Time flies quickly : what has EuroISME reached after 10 years, where shall EuroISME go in the next 10 years?
On June 16 and 17, 2011, the members and friends of the International Society for Military Ethics (ISME) met for the first time in Europe, after all previous meetings since 2005 had taken place in the USA. With the Ecole Militaire in the middle of Paris, one of the most prestigious conference venues ever had been elected for the event.
In view of the progressive integration of troops from former Warsaw Pact states into multinational European armed forces structures and of regular deployments within the framework of EU peace missions, the European experts faced the urgent demand for an independent EuroISME association in order to better adapt their work to the specific European approach for analysis and further development of the military ethical fundamentals.
After clarifying the legal and financial framework, the founding decision was taken during this Paris conference.
Since then - thanks to intensive work of the Board of Directors and thanks to the idealistic commitment of all members - EuroISME has been widely recognized as an outstanding European forum for the discussion and exchange of ideas on the professional responsibility of soldiers and on military ethical thinking
The annual conferences, which are held in cooperation with renowned institutions and at attractive conference venues, are attended by high-ranking experts from all over the world. They are "beacon events" which are usefully supplemented by numerous initiatives and other thematically focused meetings.
Unfortunately we could not hold the 10th Annual Meeting 2020 in Berlin as originally planned and celebrate there the anniversary duely with EuroISMEs usual formal dinner! The COVID pandemic first forced us to postpone and then to conduct the conference 100% virtual ...
However, the pandemic was (and is) also a clear warning about rapidly changing conditions and new challenges in the implementation of security and peace - not only for our continent! The pertinent issue of values and virtues, of principles and norms of behavior for the creation of a common culture of responsibility and ethical thinking is particularly acute today!
The European armed forces, but also "security forces" in a wider sense, are confronted with new types of operations and methods of deployment. The drifting apart of traditional forms and structures of society leads to diverse conflicts in Europe and on its periphery, which cannot be overcome with the original (Clausewitzian) concept of "war as the continuation of politics by other means". The “Just Peace” is becoming more and more difficult to establish, the “Just War” is no longer an adequate ethical compass on the way to there.
This question should not wait to be tackled till the next annual conference in Budapest in 2022: within EuroISME there has been and is - from the very beginning - competition between the various approaches for a common European leadership culture in the armed forces ! These tensions must be endured and worked up! For this, too, EuroISME was founded 10 years ago as an independent association ... and will work even more energetically for its goals over the next 10 years!
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