Iran's nuclear program
Queen’s University professor Anthony Seaboyer is available to talk about the nuclear proliferation issues that will be discussed at the G8 summit in Huntsville, Ontario. Professor Seaboyer is an expert in Canadian and international security issues at the Queen’s University Centre for International Relations and has taught courses on Iran’s nuclear program.
“Nuclear Nonproliferation will be on top of the agenda at the G8 Summit. The G8 member states will try to demonstrate that they are speaking with one voice to Iran as far as the nuclear program is concerned,” says Professor Seaboyer. “There will also most likely extend the G8 Global Partnership Program, which was a nonproliferation initiative created at the 2002 Canadian Kananaskis G8 summit aiming at securing Weapons of Mass Destruction and related technology in former Soviet Union countries. Global Partnership is a nonproliferation success story that Canada is spending $1 billion dollars on.”
Social media and the summits
Communications about the upcoming G8 and G20 meetings are being facilitated by popular social media channels like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Queen’s film and media professor and social media expert Sidneyeve Matrix can comment on why and how organizers, police, the media, organizations, and the public are mobilizing on these web channels in very different ways.
“Using social media makes sense for summit organizers because people are used to turning to the web for up-to-the minute real time information updates, making Twitter and Facebook ideal ways for police to let the public know of breaking news fast,” says Professor Matrix. “Obviously that doesn't take full advantage of the “social” aspect of social media, which is also about interactivity and conversation. To that end, journalists and the public are already using these online platforms to debate, discuss, and react to the summits. Are the leaders and organizers engaged in social listening? This remains to be seen.”
G20 and trade protectionism
Queen's University Policy Studies Professor Robert Wolfe is available to talk about the World Trade Organization's latest report on the threat of trade protectionism, which is due out early next week.
Professor Wolfe expects the report to say that governments around the world are doing a good job of keeping trade open and not resorting to measures that are against trade rules.
"When the full force of the global financial crisis was first felt in 2008 and 2009, the press on both sides of the Atlantic worried about an outbreak of protectionism. The fear was that – as in the Great Depressions of the 1870s and the 1930s – beggar-thy-neighbour policies would inevitably spread. Fortunately, it hasn't,” says Professor Wolfe. “Every G20 summit has promised to avoid protectionism, and Toronto likely will too, as it should. Economic recovery would be hurt by a lapse into protectionism.”
G8 summit an ineffective "circus"
Charles Pentland, director of the Queen’s University Centre for International Relations, feels the G8 summits has evolved far away from their original intention and wonders if they are worth continuing. However, the political studies professor feels the jury is still out on the effectiveness of the G20 summits.
“The G7/8 summits started out as informal meetings between world leaders, with the hope being they could cut through the formality and bureaucracy to solve problems directly. What’s happened over the years is government officials, the press, and protestors and got hold of the summit so it has now become a circus. The G7/8 summits have produced some positive outcomes, but that’s usually been in despite of the process, not because of it,” says Professor Pentland. “The G20 includes more world leaders so it has the potential to have more impact but it is a bit early to make a call on its effectiveness.”
Queen’s University sociology professors David Lyon and David Murakami Wood are available to discuss security at the upcoming G8/G20 summit.
"In recent years, the G8 and G20 summits have often been used by states to experiment with new security and surveillance technologies,” says Professor Murakami-Wood. “For example, in Pittsburgh, the police used 'less lethal' sonic weapons against protestors for the first time on North American soil. Whilst there is an understandable concern for the security of delegates, events like these should not be an excuse for 'exceptional' measures that contravene Canadian Charter rights."